Academics

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program at Wingate University prepares students to enter the workforce as occupational therapists. The profession of occupational therapy is highly skilled and technical, requiring a rigorous academic preparation. Therefore, students must possess certain capabilities to be able to fully participate in the educational process required for preparation as an occupational therapist.

Essential Skills

The standards listed below must be met with or without reasonable accommodations in alignment with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Wingate University does not discriminate against students with disabilities, but it is the student’s responsibility to request needed accommodations through the Office of Disability Support Services within the Academic Resource Center. Prior to accepting a position as a student in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program, all potential students must confirm their ability to meet each of the standards listed below. If at any time before or during the course of the program the student believes he/she cannot meet any of these standards with or without reasonable accommodations, he/she may be dismissed from the program.

Sensory/Observation Skills:

Students must have sufficient use of sensory abilities including vision, hearing, tactile sensation, smell, and proprioception to safely and thoroughly observe and interpret client interactions accurately. Furthermore, these skills are necessary for full participation in lectures, labs, and experiential learning opportunities.

Communication Skills:

Students must possess the ability to read/comprehend, write, and fluently speak the English language. They must be able to communicate effectively and confidently with a variety of audiences including clients of all ages and cultures, caregivers, other health professionals, payers, policy makers, faculty, and the general public. These skills are also necessary for completion of the occupational therapy curriculum which involves substantial amounts of reading and writing.

Physical/Motor Skills:

Students must be able to demonstrate sufficient mobility and strength to complete safe client evaluations and interventions in a variety of settings and on a variety surfaces. Motor capabilities include sitting and standing for long periods of time, walking, crouching, kneeling, bending, twisting, maintaining static/dynamic balance, lifting up to 50 pounds, pushing/pulling up to 100 pounds, demonstrating fine motor dexterity, demonstrating gross and fine motor coordination, and possessing quick physical reaction times.

Intellectual Skills:

Students must possess cognitive skills sufficient for critical thinking, reflecting, reasoning, problem solving, organizing, analyzing, calculating, following complex instructions/directions (both written and verbal), recalling information, focusing for long spans of time, making quick decisions, and integrating material from a variety of sources.

Social Skills:

Students must be able to establish therapeutic relationships with clients of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, and cultures. Furthermore, students need to possess emotional intelligence sufficient to show empathy and compassion for others, be able to give and receive critical feedback, resolve conflicts with maturity and professionalism, and handle stressful situations.

Professional Behavior Skills:

Students must demonstrate professional behaviors at all times including punctuality, dependability, collaboration/cooperation, maintaining professional personal appearance and hygiene, showing initiative, flexibility, and respect for others.

Technology Skills:

Students must possess basic computer skills including searching the internet, use of email, using Microsoft Office, and saving/retrieving files.

Requirements

Interview

Applicants will be selected to participate in an on-campus interview based on a combination of factors including but not limited to cumulative GPA, GRE scores, prerequisite GPA, letters of recommendation, observation experiences, service activities, and leadership endeavors. In addition to the interview with program faculty members, students will also complete a writing sample while on campus. Interviews are by invitation only and will be conducted on one of our Information Session dates.

Graduation Requirements

All Level II Fieldwork and the Doctoral Experiential Component must be completed within 24 months of the conclusion of the didactic portion of the curriculum, and the entire curriculum must be completed within 72 months of beginning the OTD program. To be eligible for graduation, students must successfully complete the 125 credit hour fixed-sequence curriculum, attain a cumulative GPA of 2.7/4.0 or higher, earn a “Pass” for all courses that are graded on a “Pass/Fail” basis, successfully complete a Doctoral Capstone Project, and be in good administrative/financial standing.

Criminal Background Check

Matriculating students will be required to pass a criminal background check at the time of admission to the program in order to be eligible to complete clinical fieldwork and to sit for the National Board for Certification for Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) examination. Eligibility requirements for the national examination can be found at www.nbcot.orgor by contacting NBCOT, One Bank Street Suite 300, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. Phone: 301-990-7979.

Preferred Status

Students who are graduates of (or who plan to graduate from) Wingate University will be guaranteed an interview provided that they have met all of the admissions criteria. Wingate students are not guaranteed acceptance into the program, but they are granted a preferred status which may be beneficial in a competitive admissions environment.

Transfer Credits

The Wingate University OTD program offers no advanced placement or any other type of transfer credit from prior enrollment in any health science, medical, work experience, or related program. A qualified applicant previously enrolled in another ACOTE-accredited OTD program may be considered for admission only after consultation with the director of the former program of study.

Prerequisite courses must be completed through high school Advanced Placement courses, high school/college dual enrollment courses, or through a regionally accredited institution of higher education (junior college, technical school, college, university) in a face-to-face or online setting. Medical Terminology may be completed through the above avenues or through an online certificate course.

Technology

All Wingate University occupational therapy students are required to have a laptop personal computer including the Microsoft Office software package, provided at the student’s expense, available for use on the first day of class.

Tuition/Fees

Tuition per semester (2019-2020; per semester Spring, Summer, Fall)                     $10,300 *Tuition and fees are subject to change.

Graduation fee (one time only, assessed in the year of graduation)                            $ 135 *Tuition and fees are subject to change.

The student is responsible for any and all costs associated with coursework, including those involving clinical education experiences. Costs to each student may include transportation, room and board, purchase of personal laptop, criminal background checks, drug screens, uniforms, health insurance, and other expenses. Additionally, students may be offered opportunities to earn advanced certifications or attend enrichment workshops (e.g., NBCOT examination preparation workshop) that may include added personal expenses outside of tuition costs.

Wingate University OTD students are eligible to receive financial assistance to help cover the cost of tuition and living expenses. Federal loans are available for those who meet certain criteria and the FELS program is available for qualifying NC residents. Please see the Wingate University website at https://www.wingate.edu/student-financial-planning/ for more information.

Students must obtain written approval from the Department of Occupational Therapy to withdraw from occupational therapy courses.

*Students are not eligible for any tuition refund after the first day of classes. This policy applies to all circumstances of course discontinuance, including by student’s own volition or due to academic disqualification.

ACOTE Accreditation

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program will be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, Maryland 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA, is 301-652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.

Currently, ACOTE considers the Wingate University Doctor of Occupational Therapy program to be an Applicant Program. There are several processes that must be completed in order for full accreditation to occur. The timeline for accreditation is as follows:

Letter of Intent Submitted to ACOTE

June 4, 2017 (determines Applicant Status)

Candidacy Application Due to ACOTE

December 17, 2018

Candidacy Decision by ACOTE

April 2019

Students May Be Enrolled into the Program

May, 2019

First Cohort Begins Classes

August, 2019

Self-Study Report Due to ACOTE

November 2, 2020

Pre-accreditation Decision by ACOTE

April, 2021

Initial Onsite Evaluation by ACOTE

August-November, 2021

Accreditation Decision by ACOTE

December 2021

First Cohort Graduates

May, 2022

 

An occupational therapy educational program must be accredited by ACOTE prior to students’ graduation for its students to be eligible to sit for the national certification examination offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Therefore, students who enter developing programs are taking a risk that the program will not obtain accreditation and they will not be eligible to sit for the NBCOT certification exam. If you are uncomfortable with the risk involved in entering a developing program, it may be better for you to pursue one that is already accredited. However, the accreditation process is designed to facilitate development, and substantial support is provided to the program during the process.

SACS Accreditation

Wingate University is regionally accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to grant Baccalaureate, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees. The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program was granted approval by SACSCOC in May, 2018.

For more information on the regional accreditation status or process, contact SACSCOC at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097. The phone number is 404-679-4500 and its web address is www.sacscoc.org.

OUTCOMES

Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist, administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the graduate will be an occupational therapist, registered (OTR). In addition, most states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

The Wingate University Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program is currently an applicant program and therefore has no outcomes to share at this point. Following graduation of the first cohort in 2022, graduation rates and National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination pass rates will be tracked. Once posted, program results from the NBCOT examination can be found online at https://www.nbcot.org/en/Educators/Home#SchoolPerformance.

CURRICULUM DESIGN

The curriculum for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program at Wingate University was designed in accordance with the educational standards set forth by ACOTE, the AOTA Blueprint for Entry-Level Education (AOTA, 2010), The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process, 3rd Edition (AOTA 2014), and the Framework for Educating Health Professionals to Address the Social Determinants of Health (National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine [NASEM], 2016). As such, the program “builds critical thinking through interprofessional, cross-sectional, and experiential learning opportunities” (NASEM, 2016, p. 2). The curriculum was developed in a subject-centered manner, emphasizing occupational therapy’s core subject of human occupation. While a wide variety of topics and skills are taught within the program, all topics and skills are implicitly and explicitly linked back to the core subject so that students can fully understand the connection between the topic/skill and occupation (Hooper et al., 2014; Hooper et al., 2015). The occupation-centered focus leads to students learning to see, listen, and reason through an occupational lens that epitomizes the core and distinct nature of the occupational therapy profession (Mitcham, 2014). The curriculum also draws upon the concept of competency-based education. This approach to education emphasizes what graduates must be able to demonstrate versus what straightforward knowledge they have gained (Jung et al., 2015). Therefore, students will be provided with multiple opportunities throughout the curriculum to practice skills they have attained in realistic settings through simulation, clinical affiliations (including four Level I Fieldwork opportunities), and laboratory experiences. The didactic portion of the curriculum concludes with a course focused on the students’ ability to demonstrate clinical competencies and knowledge required for entry-level practice. Lastly, the approach to education within the OTD program aligns with the Transformative Learning Theory, which asserts that adults learn best through critical reflection and dialogue therefore enabling them to build upon existing knowledge and attain new knowledge to facilitate autonomous thinking (Mezirow, 1997). This is accomplished through a student-centered approach in which the educators design learning opportunities that consider students’ learning styles, learning needs, and learning objectives, and that provide ample opportunities for guided and independent critical reflection. Such an approach to education will build lifelong learners, critically thinking reflective practitioners, and leaders who are prepared to address society’s occupation and health needs. To be consistent with the program’s philosophy on how students learn and with concepts of competency-based education and the Transformative Learning Theory, students will be evaluated through a variety of means including reflective papers; case study demonstrations and reports; laboratory/service learning experiences; exams/quizzes administered online, paper/pencil, or verbally; group or individual projects, presentations, or other assignments.

Five specific curricular threads are woven throughout the course content. The primary thread is occupational performance. This concept describes the performance of occupations, which are “all the things people want, need, or have to do, whether of physical, mental, social, sexual, political, or spiritual nature and [are] inclusive of sleep and rest” (Wilcock & Townsend, 2014, p. 542). Humans are occupational beings who are able to influence their health and well-being through occupational performance (AOTA, 2017a; Reilly, 1962). The primary aim of occupational therapy is to facilitate the engagement in and performance of those desired and needed occupations. Therefore, throughout the curriculum, each topic addressed will be done so through the consideration of how it affects or is affected by occupational performance.

Critical thinking/professional reasoning is “an ability or skill to make reasoned decisions or solve complex problems based on critical analysis of available evidence [and requires] identification of the problem, relevant data and information for this problem, analysis of those data, and an outcome or solution to the problem” (Rowles, Morgan, Burns, & Merchant, 2013, p. 29). Occupational therapy practitioners must rely on critical thinking/professional reasoning skills to fully assess a client’s barriers to and desires for occupational performance within the client’s context and without allowing personal biases, assumptions, and social norms to interfere (Robertson, Warrender, & Barnard, 2015). This type of deep thinking enables occupational therapists to develop strong therapeutic relationships with clients through the ability to articulate the process and components of planning, implementing, and assessing interventions (Unsworth & Baker, 2016). Students will be taught skills for developing critical thinking/professional reasoning skills and will be provided with scaffolded opportunities for critical reflection throughout the curriculum.

Evidence-based practice is the reliance upon a combination of the best available evidence, clinical expertise, client values, and client context to design and implement occupational therapy interventions (Straus, Glasziou, Richardson, & Haynes, 2011). The AOTA (2017b) Vision 2025 urges occupational therapists to act as evidence-based practitioners as a means of delivering effective and efficient clinical services. To become evidence-based practitioners, occupational therapists must be able to locate, access, critically appraise, and integrate evidence into practice. This process also relies upon the existence of research evidence. Therefore, students will learn about the importance of asking clinical questions, and seeking answers through the implementation of scholarship activities including but not limited to the design and implementation of a research study. Students will be granted opportunities to demonstrate their skills as a practice scholar and contribute to the profession’s body of evidence through publications, presentations, and other evidence-based projects.

The concept of servant leadership was established by Greenleaf (1991) as a way of leading that focuses on prioritizing others’ needs before one’s own. As such, servant leaders strive to facilitate personal growth and improved well-being of their followers. This intention is not unlike the desire of occupational therapists to maximize the well-being and occupational performance of their clients. Servant leadership is based upon empathy, trust, open communication, respect, emphasis on morals, and a true desire to serve others (Greenleaf, 1991). These characteristics are incorporated throughout the curriculum, especially within coursework that addresses establishing therapeutic relationships, communication, service learning opportunities, and leadership.

As occupational therapists, we believe that all human beings have the right to participate in desired meaningful occupations regardless of socioeconomic status, race, culture, physical environment, or other factors (AOTA, 2017a). This belief is also known as the concept of occupational justice. Oftentimes, components of a client’s context or environment prevent him/her from engaging in occupations of choice. Additionally, one’s culture has a strong influence on the occupations he/she deems meaningful and important. To fully advocate for and facilitate a client’s ability to engage in his/her preferred occupations, practitioners must be sensitive to cultural influences. Cultural responsiveness means more than just having an understanding of other cultures and forms of diversity. It requires that practitioners continuously explore, learn, reflect, and remain “open to the process of building mutuality with a client and to accepting that the cultural-specific knowledge one has about a group may or may not apply to the person you are treating” (Muñoz, 2007, p. 274). The concepts of occupational justice and cultural responsiveness are woven throughout the curriculum as part of the intervention process and outcomes of occupational therapy (AOTA, 2014).

*References available upon request by emailing

Curriculum Outline

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy curriculum at Wingate University is delivered beginning in the Fall and spanning 8 consecutive semesters (including summers).

Semester 1 (Fall; 14 credits)

OTD 711 Human Gross Anatomy (4 credits)

OTD 712 Pathophysiology (3 credits)

OTD 713 Applied Kinesiology (4 credits)

OTD 714 Occupational Therapy Foundations (3 credits)

Semester 2 (Spring; 18 credits)

OTD 721 Neuroscience (4 credits)

OTD 722 Occupational Therapy Process: Mental Health (4 credits)

OTD 723 Foundations of Clinical Practice in Occupational Therapy I (3 credits)

OTD 724 Foundations of Clinical Practice in Occupational Therapy II (3 credits)

OTD 725 Scholarship & Evidence-based Practice I (3 credits)

OTD 726 Fieldwork I & Professional Development I (1 credit)

Semester 3 (Summer; 17 credits)

OTD 731 Occupational Therapy Process: Pediatrics (4 credits)

OTD 732 Ethical Considerations for Occupational Therapy Practice (2 credits)

OTD 733 Technology for Occupational Performance (4 credits)

OTD 734 Preparatory Methods to Support Occupational Therapy Intervention (3 credits)

OTD 735 Scholarship & Evidence-based Practice II (3 credits)

OTD 736 Fieldwork I & Professional Development II (1 credit)

Semester 4 (Fall; 17 credits)

OTD 741 Occupational Therapy Process: Adults (4 credits)

OTD 742 Social Systems and Population Health (2 credits)

OTD 743 Fundamentals of Policy & Advocacy for Occupational Therapists (3 credits)

OTD 744 Cultural Considerations for Occupational Therapy Practice (3 credits)

OTD 745 Professional & Scholarly Writing (1 credit)

OTD 746 Scholarship & Evidence-based Practice III (3 credits)

OTD 747 Fieldwork I & Professional Development III (1 credit)

Semester 5 (Spring; 17 credits)

OTD 751 Occupational Therapy Process: Geriatrics (4 credits)

OTD 752 Scholarship of Teaching & Learning in Occupational Therapy Practice (3 credits)

OTD 753 Healthcare Management & Administration (2 credits)

OTD 754 Leadership Theory & Practice (2 credits)

OTD 755 Fieldwork I & Professional Development IV (1 credit)

OTD 756 Practice Preparation & Clinical Competence (2 credits)

OTD 757 Scholarship & Evidence-Based Practice IV (3 credits)

Semester 6 (Summer; 12 credits)

OTD 761 Fieldwork II (12 credits)

Semester 7 (Fall; 14 credits)

OTD 771 Fieldwork II (12 credits)

OTD 722 Doctoral Capstone I (2 credits)

Semester 8 (Spring; 16 credits)

OTD 781 Doctoral Experiential (14 credits)

OTD 782 Doctoral Capstone II (2 credits)