Mission, Vision, Philosophy, and Program Goals


Emory & Henry College’s motto is “Increase in Excellence” and has an intention to be a learning community with a commitment to freedom and civic virtue. The mission of the OTD Program is to graduate competent entry-level occupational therapists that are occupation-centered and possess leadership, advocacy, critical thinking and professional reasoning skills that will enable them to serve and meet the occupational therapy needs of communities. Graduates will have the necessary skills to work in a variety of settings, including rural healthcare settings, to meet the needs of those who are underserved in areas of health disparities.

(Clinical Reasoning: process used by practitioners to plan, direct, perform and reflect on patient care. Schell, 2003; Professional reasoning: includes non-medical environments such as schools and community settings, and reasoning done by fieldwork educators/supervisors/managers as they conceptualize occupational therapy practice. Schell & Schell, 2008)


The vision of the Occupational Therapy Program is to be innovative and a national leader in occupational therapy graduate education and to transform the lives of others in order to promote a positive change in the region, nation and world communities.


Beliefs Regarding Humans and Nature of Occupational Therapy

Humans are occupational beings that have the right to engage in meaningful occupations during their entire lifespan. It is the philosophy of occupational therapy that participation in meaningful occupations plays a vital role in one’s health. Occupations occur in many contexts such as social, physical, cultural, virtual, personal, etc. It is the nature of occupational therapy to promote health and well-being and to support individuals participating in meaningful occupations in all contexts. “All individuals have an innate need and right to engage in meaningful occupations throughout their lives.” (AOTA 2017)

Beliefs Regarding the Nature of Learning

AOTA 2014 – “Students are viewed as occupational beings, in dynamic transaction with the learning context and the teaching-learning process. The learning context includes the curriculum and pedagogy and conveys a perspective and belief system that includes a view of humans as occupational beings, occupation as a health determinant, and participation as a fundamental right. Education promotes clinical reasoning and the integration of professional values, theories, evidence, ethics and skills. This will prepare practitioners to collaborate with clients to achieve health, well-being, and participation in life through engagement in occupation.”

The Occupational Therapy Program at Emory & Henry believes that the learning environment needs to be occupation centered and learning takes place through activities provided on campus but also off campus in the Appalachian region and/or around the nation. A variety of meaningful teaching methods will be provided that are interactive including active learning approaches, self-reflection, interprofessional activities, high impact practice areas, and experiential learning. Faculty will mentor students and students are expected to be intrinsically motivated, acting as agents of their own learning through full engagement in all educational opportunities.


The goals of the occupational therapy education program are listed below and are organized into four distinct categories: Occupation-centered practice, professional reasoning, occupational therapy process and civic engagement.

Occupation-Centered Practice :

  1. Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of determinants of occupation
    (anatomical/neurological, psychological, social-cultural, environmental).
  2. Students will be able to assess occupation and its determinants as well as use occupation as a means to improve health and well-being of communities.
  3. Students will be able to assert the role of occupation and occupational therapy in a team and community setting.
  4. Students will exhibit occupation-based practice in entry level occupational therapy practice in a clinic, fieldwork, and other professional setting.

Professional Reasoning :

  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of history, philosophy, theory, ethics, and types of reasoning such as scientific, pragmatic, narrative, conditional, procedural, diagnostic, ethical, and interactive.
  2. Students will be able to apply all types of reasoning in providing assessments and interventions for clients across the lifespan in a safe and meaningful manner.
  3. Students will be able to design, implement and critically evaluate research activities, community programs and outcomes. Students will be able to make informed decisions based on best evidence and outcomes data.
  4. Students will perform all fieldwork demonstrating professionalism and highest ethical standards.

Occupational Therapy Process :

  1. Students will be able to explain the meaning and role of occupations and impact of health and environmental conditions on occupational performance of persons, groups, and populations.
  2. Students will be able to establish a profile, analyze occupational performance,
    plan/implement/evaluate interventions using remedial, adaptive, compensatory, consultative and educational approaches.
  3. Students will show effective interaction and communication with clients and the care team in order to promote safe and needed services ethically.
  4. Students will be able to meet entry level expectations in the occupational therapy process.

Civic Engagement :

  1. Students will identify avenues for participation in occupational therapy associations such as Virginia Occupational Therapy Association, American Occupational Therapy Association, and World Federation of Occupational Therapists.
  2. Students will conduct needs assessment that evaluates community resources through
    collaboration with other professionals and identifies areas in which occupational therapy can supplement needs.
  3. Students will show leadership and management skills in the area of design and operation of therapy/healthcare entities and/or community projects.
  4. Students will be able to design, develop, and/or implement community programming to advocate for the underserved.