Immediate action is required to address the crisis in occupational therapy fieldwork education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accreditation is a function that ensures quality in higher education.  Many accreditation functions in higher education are regional, and schools must engage those accreditation processes in order for students attending to be eligible for many forms of financial aid.

Many professional educational programs are also accredited by discipline specific organizations, which are in turn themselves monitored by national accreditors.  In sum, there are multiple layers to the educational accreditation process that all serve as a quasi-public protection to ensure quality.

 The occupational therapy profession has a discipline specific accreditor, named the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).  This group has a statement on educational quality that can be found here.  This policy states that

a profession is distinguished by a variety of factors.  Among these are a set of recognized educational standards for professional preparation; a credentialing mechanism for certif…

Synchronous vs. asynchronous content delivery in context of COVID-19

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. (Thoreau).
Many educators are considering ways to deliver their courses in this unprecedented context of students being in their homes, away from the normal routines and location of the Academy.  We no longer have control of the schedule - the students are not a captive audience in front of us at the times that we normally expect.

What does this mean for our new context of online delivery?

I have heard many educators talk about synchronous delivery - 'it will offer some structure to the student learning experience,' some say.  'By delivering our content synchronously we will provide a valuable service to students who suddenly have lost their anchor points.'

I would like to encourage my educator colleagues to re-think …

On so-called 'Civility Pledges' and the abolition of free thought and free speech

I have blogged previously about the glaring problem of lack of tolerance for viewpoint diversity in occupational therapy, and unsuccessful attempts to address the concern.  See here for more details. It is not a new problem in occupational therapy, and now the problem is being demonstrated again.

An important agenda item has been added to the Spring Representative Assembly meeting of the American Occupational Therapy Association - to explore the creation of a 'Civility Pledge' as follows:

On its surface, most people will agree that it is important to be kind and respectful when interacting with others.  However, 'Civility Pledges' have been introduced before in our national government, on many college campuses - and they rarely succeed in gathering much interest or respect.

Why is that?

Most 'Civility Pledges' end up listing speech and behavior that goes far beyond apirational kindness - and wades into the murky territory of mandated 'guiding principles'…

The 2020 motion to Update Policy E.6 Entry-Level Education of Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants

Please see the following for background information:

AOTA's claim to authority over entry level degree requirements
A Motion to Update Policy E.6 Entry-Level Education of Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants
An analysis of how small changes can potentially lead to unintended consequences in a motion

A new motion has been submitted to AOTA to update Policy E.6 regarding entry level education of occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants.  The originator of this motion believes that this update is necessary because in fact the intent of the first motion was changed through wording and that these changes introduced uncertainty in how the AOTA policy can be interpreted.  Details are outlined in the motion below.

Additionally, since the RA voted on and decided the entry level education issue, supporters of the mandatory doctoral entry level have attempted to up-end that decision just six months after the decision was made.  In fact, comments have …

Online data sources for narrative analysis: An innovative use of technology in a graduate project

Presented at The Quality Report Annual Conference, Ft. Lauderdale,  FL, 1/15/20

Thanks for stopping by to look at our slides!

Conference slides!

The OTD Mandate and The Great Pumpkin

It is near Halloween, so a themed entry seems appropriate.

We have another motion in front of the AOTA Representative Assembly to mandate an entry level doctoral degree - even though a decision point was reached just six months ago on this same issue.  At that time, the decision was to support dual entry at both the master's and doctoral level.

That did not satisfy a Small Group of individuals, and so we are at the debate again.

People frequently ask me 'why' the profession is going through this again.  That is where the Halloween story comes in.

Each year, despite overwhelming evidence against his belief system, Linus would sit in the pumpkin patch and wait for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin - who he believed flies around and gives toys to sincere and believing children on Halloween eve.  Each year the Great Pumpkin would fail to appear but that does not stop Linus from believing.  Sometimes he even manages to convince his friends to sit in the pumpkin patch waiting wi…

The need for occupational therapy educational standards reform: Addressing the real problem behind the push for a doctoral mandate

As a profession, occupational therapists have been spending time talking about opposing the motion to mandate the doctorate – but we need to spend time trying to solve the problem that is bringing this issue to the table.

I believe that we have a specific problem (too many credits in masters programs) and some of our colleagues are trying to justify the escalated degree solution by conflating the real problem with a lot of side issues that may not be accurate (e.g. doctorates will give us a seat at the table, doctorates will make us more respected, doctorates will maintain parity with other professions, doctorates will make people practice at the top of their license etc - all evidence-free platitudes).

We should try to address the Credit Problem by reforming curriculum, reforming ACOTE standards, removing excess from those systems - and that will solve the REAL underlying problem.

Here are some ideas that Caroline Alterio and I generated and that she posted on the AOTA forums the …