Mission and Curriculum Design

Program Mission, Curriculum Design & Outcomes

Mission: Inspire practice scholars that serve, question, and lead.

Program Philosophy of Teaching and Learning: Three pedagogical approaches serve as the foundation for the department's philosophy and curriculum design: engaged learning, transformative learning and professional identify formation. A variety of interactive teaching methods are utilized including active learning approaches, self-reflection, interprofessional activities, community engaged learning, and experiential learning. Alongside structured faculty mentorship, students are expected to be intrinsically motivated acting as agents of their own learning and professional identity development through full engagement in the curriculum. These core pedagogical approaches of the Department of Occupational Therapy guide key instructional practices throughout our curriculum. These include:

  1. an intentional use of engaged, active learning educational pedagogies that embeds learning in context and seeks to establish opportunities for transformative learning experiences that promote critical thinking and reflection.
  2. concentration on professional identity formation as a practice scholar with the values, ethics, and professional behaviors associated with being an occupational therapist.
  3. a graded developmental approach to acquiring the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be a practice scholar who reflects on and engages in the scholarly application of occupational
therapy and has a skill set to deliver person-centered, evidence-based occupational therapy.
  4. a central focus on occupation, on humans as occupational beings, and on the complex processes by which people find meaning and health through the interactive person-environment process of ʻdoingʼ or engagement in occupations.
  5. a comprehensive understanding of both personal factors and context or environmental influences on occupational performance and function in the areas of occupation

The Department of Occupational Therapy designed a schematic using a "bridge" to illustrate the curriculum design, pedagogical approaches and curricular threads of our programs. See Figure 1. Our practice-scholar initiative and outcomes are demonstrating an energizing, leading force that bridges practice, education and research agendas. Given that Duquesne University is in a region with over 2,000 bridges more than 8 feet long, it is a symbol that fits our environmental context. The symbolic representation of a bridge is an effect way to signify how the components of our curriculum work together to create entry-level professionals in occupational therapy. Further, the symbolism of the bridge also represents an important goal of our curriculum: "to bridge the gap between education, practice and research."

The curriculum is designed to ensure that students develop their professional philosophy and requisite practice knowledge, skills and attitudes to enter practice in the profession of occupational therapy. Students in the MSOT program are prepared as generalists, while students in the OTD program develop in-depth knowledge and skills, which may allow the pursuit of advanced roles or future specialization in practice.

This curriculum is sequenced to challenge our students to integrate knowledge and skills from the pre-professional phase into the professional then advanced profession phases. The sequence for the curriculum is organized into six major curricular threads that reflect the "pillars" of our curriculum design. Each of these curricular threads are expanded here.

  1. Practice Foundations
  2. Person-Occupation-Environment Interaction and Performance Across the Life-Span
  3. Health Care Delivery Systems and Equitable Population-Focused Services
  4. Practice-Scholarship
  5. Community Engaged Learning, Fieldwork Education and Doctoral Capstone Experience
  6. Servant Leadership, Advocacy and Occupational Justice

Figure 1: Practice Scholar Curriculum Design Schematic

Practice Scholar Curriculum Design Schematic