Student-Centric Educational Environment
When setting out to design our program, we posed a simple question: What type of educational structure will maximize OT doctoral program students' opportunity for success?
OUR ANSWER: An integrated approach to classroom work, advanced technology and in-depth, hands-on experiential learning.
Occupational therapy, by its very nature, is hands-on and interactive so our learning environment reflects those key realities.
West Coast University occupational therapy students take part in exciting innovations–such as our technologically-advanced patient Simulation Centers – involving students in simulated healthcare scenarios that mirror real life. And because the real world of healthcare depends on interprofessional cooperation, West Coast University gives occupational therapy students the chance to collaborate with other healthcare professionals in training.
Learning is Doing
We believe our students pursuing OT degrees learn best through active participation. Ongoing experiential education is achieved through hands-on implementation of classroom theory, and through fieldwork, obtaining real-world skills in a variety of practice settings. Active participation advances the students’ practice and communication skills, enabling them to take on increased responsibility over the course of their fieldwork with greater confidence.
The philosophy of the Department of Occupational Therapy at WCU reflects the mission statement and values of West Coast University, the values of the occupational therapy profession, and the mission and values of the faculty of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program. Some of the themes that these entities share are: student-centricity; commitment to the communities served; innovation and creativity; and the efficient use of resources. The occupational therapy curriculum incorporates beliefs about health and well-being, occupation, and teaching and learning. Education is focused on helping the student to emerge as a “scholar of practice” with advance skill above those of a generalist as a direct care provider, consultant, educator, manager, researcher, and advocate for the professions and the consumer (ACOTE Preamble, p.1)
West Coast University's Occupational Therapy Program is based on the belief that all humans are occupational beings in nature, and in the healing power of occupation whereby humans can influence their own health status. Occupational engagement and thus occupation-based interventions are therefore the central theme of the curriculum.
Our mission is to provide doctoral-level education to develop caring and competent Occupational Therapy practitioners through the integration of theory, research and practice. These scholars of practice will be lifelong learners and can develop into advocates and leaders for the Occupational Therapy profession in diverse local and global communities. Through a student-centric and interprofessional curriculum, the students should be prepared to be reflective practitioners by applying principles of evidence-based practice, research, and critical thinking to facilitate the well-being of consumers through engagement in valued occupations and as it relates to health promotion, prevention, and wellness.
The curricular threads are:
- Occupations as a means and end
- The healing power of occupation
- Evidence-based practice
- Interprofessional collaboration
- Therapeutic use of self
- Diverse and globally connected
- Wellness and prevention
- Critical thinking and clinical reasoning
- Adaptation as a means towards performance and engagement
- Leadership and advocacy