​​​​​​​​​​​​​Mission and Goals

​​Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)

MOT Mission​

The mission of the Master of Occupational Therapy Program is to prepare occupational therapists who value clinical and professional reasoning, implement contemporary evidence-based, community-focused, and occupation-based approaches to practice grounded in the tenets of humans as occupational beings. Graduates are ethical, reflective, autonomous practitioners who are leaders in a variety of meaningful professional roles for service with diverse populations.

MOT​ Philosophy Statement

The Master of Occupational Therapy Program curriculum is organized around the concepts of humans as occupational beings, the daily performance of occupations, and an understanding of the contextual complexities that are necessary for meaningful occupational performance. Meyer (1922) suggests the essence of human functioning includes being active and that active engagement serves to ground humans in reality. Wilcock and Hocking (2015) add to this philosophy, stating the core of human engagement in occupation accompanies the needs of being, becoming, and belonging of individuals. Kielhofner (2009), defined human occupation as the “doing of work, play, or activities of daily living within a temporal, physical, and sociocultural context that characterizes much of human life" (p. 44). These occupations are the foundation for productive living. Dunn, Brown, and McGuigan (1994) extend this concept by suggesting that occupational performance may be understood by examining the phenomenology of the interactions between the person, the task, and the environmental experiences of the individual who is engaged in occupations. The curriculum embodies Ludwig's (2004) emphasis of contextual relevance and how environmental experiences influence performance, purpose, and meaning of individuals who engage in occupations. Engagement in occupation as a therapeutic change agent and as the ultimate goal of therapy is grounded in the historical and theoretical foundations of the profession and is consistent with the current American Occupational Therapy Association philosophical basis of the profession (AOTA, 2017). 

An individual may combine occupations in a variety of ways to support and satisfy the occupational demands based on unique life roles and activities of daily living that may include: activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, health management, rest and sleep, education, work, play, leisure, and social participation (AOTA, 2020). Occupational therapists are concerned with the ability of individuals of all ages to perform occupations allowing them to live satisfying and productive lives. In addition, occupational therapists ensure client-centered practice by involving individuals in the process of determining which performance areas receive attention in the therapeutic process. Occupational therapists believe occupational performance is enhanced through a holistic approach that includes attending to and respecting all dimensions of the individual. The occupational therapy process also includes cooperation and collaboration among clients, caregivers, family members, and other professionals. The practice of occupational therapy requires a continually developing base of clinical and professional reasoning, as well as, technical competencies for effective interaction, evaluation, and implementation of intervention strategies. 

There are many diverse direct and indirect service delivery contexts in which occupational therapists practice. These settings and areas of practice may include: school systems, primary care, tele-health, long-term care facilities, acute care settings, physical rehabilitation settings, mental health & substance use programs, home care opportunities, early intervention programs, industrial rehabilitation programs, case management, community-based programs, consultation, education, research, disease prevention and health promotion. It is essential for occupational therapists to understand, internalize, and apply the ethical principles and values of the profession. Occupational therapists must also realize that society and health care are dynamic institutions impacted by individual, local, national, and global growth and change. Likewise, the practice of occupational therapy includes innovative, creative thinking necessary for the advancement of the individual and the profession to meet the ever-changing demands of the profession, health care, and society. 

With concepts of occupation and these fundamentals of occupational therapy practice, the Master of Occupational Therapy program complies with the Standardfor an Accredited Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist (Standards) by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA). The theories in the Master of Occupational Therapy Program Curriculum Design also support the views of the faculty regarding how learning experiences are constructed in professional graduate education to facilitate student discernment of fundamentals, integration of knowledge, and eventual transformation to the role of practitioner. Additionally, the occupational therapy faculty views the process of a professional graduate education in occupational therapy as a collaborative effort between students and faculty. Faculty members model professional behaviors and are responsible for planning, structuring, and facilitating learning opportunities in a low-risk, supportive environment. The complexity of these learning experiences increases as students develop knowledge and technical competency, become more familiar with the role of the occupational therapist, and develop volitional skills that motivate them to use clinical and professional reasoning as the basis for independent, professional decisions and on-going professional development. Students assume responsibility for their own learning, participate actively in the learning process, and contribute to an environment of shared scholarship. 

Faculty members ensure an effective learning environment by providing necessary resource materials and using these resources to facilitate the learning outcomes. Students use resources in an appropriate and respectful manner to facilitate successful completion of their learning experiences. Student assignments, as well as the evaluation of a student's level of learning, are consistent with individual course and program outcomes and include a variety of evaluation methods that accommodate various learning styles. 

The Griffith Memorial Arch has been chosen as a graphic representation of the Master of Occupational Therapy Program curriculum design. All of the concepts and the theories that guide the program are reflected in the various parts of the arch. Refer to the curriculum graphic model. The curriculum design is essentially a plan for selecting and sequencing the program content. This curriculum design also reflects the program's philosophy regarding occupational therapy as a profession and the ACOTE Standards of a professional education for an occupational therapist. In addition, this curriculum design describes a process and does not intend to limit the scope of theories and models of occupational therapy practice addressed and included in the program. 

The courses in this curriculum serve to build the knowledge and skills of a student in a developmental manner as he/she progresses through the program. Higher level courses are based upon content delivered previously in prerequisites and foundational coursework. Strategic recursion is built into the curriculum to revisit ideas and provide integrated experiences explored earlier in the curriculum. As the student moves from the academic setting to fieldwork, skills and techniques become more familiar and integrated as the student continues to develop toward his or her future role as an occupational therapist. As the student nears the completion of the program, he or she obtains entry-level competence and functions at a level that incorporates motivation and an understanding of the role of the occupational therapist. 

The sequence of a student's professional education focuses on contextual learning experiences and is based on the skills, roles, motivations, and values of the profession through a carefully considered curriculum outline, emphasized in the Foundations thread of coursework. In addition, students learn to use clinical and professional reasoning to guide their decisions and practice occupational therapy in a client-centered manner using occupation-based methods, skills presented in the Essentials for OT Practice thread. Students professional roles and responsibilities, and the importance of culture is emphasized in the Professional & Contextual Issues thread. The Clinical Practice thread provides students with integrated experiences allowing for application of the OTPF and theoretical constructs to clinical practice across the lifespan. Courses in the Research and Evidence-Based Practice thread address learning with foundational research content and is expanded upon with the evidence-based practice courses requiring students to synthesize evidence through practical application while integrating research for written scholarly reports. Students synthesize the concepts identified in the program objectives to become self-directed, life-long learners; agents for change; and leaders in the profession through Level II fieldwork identified in the experiential and fieldwork components of the program.

MOT Curriculum Design​

The curriculum design for the Master Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Findlay is based upon concepts of the Model of Human Occupation (Kielhofner 2009), which suggests learning may occur interactively, at multiple subsystem levels, and relies on feedback from the environment to modify human behavior.  Kielhofner uses the term 'environment' to describe multiple dimensions of context impacting the motivation, organization, and performance of occupation.  The program also draws heavily on ecological models to expand Kielhofner's concept of environment and further describe the contextual complexity affecting an individual's life, with the consideration of how environmental determinants influence the performance of occupation (McColl, 2015).  Ecological models support the concept of context as being important to human performance (Brown, 2019).  Not only do these concepts provide a framework for approaching practice but they also provide a background for faculty to use in assisting students with better appreciation of the factors enabling and constraining occupational performance.


The ability to recognize the contextual implications and recognize an individual's occupational performance needs is the essence of clinical reasoning for occupational therapists.  Clinical reasoning is “the process used by practitioners to plan, direct, perform and reflect on client care" (Schell, 2003, p. 131).  Preceding the notion of clinical reasoning, Schön (1983) first described how effective professional practice requires a blend of technical knowing combined with reflection during the actual process of practice identified as critical thinking.  Incorporating Schön's work, Mattingly and Fleming (1994) defined the concept of levels of clinical reasoning which recognizes the importance of individual strengths, judgment, and levels of competence as an occupational therapy practitioner.  With these concepts being complex and multifaceted, Schell (2019) further delineated and postulated the term professional reasoning being defined as the reasoning which enables practitioners to acknowledge client issues from different perspectives to conceptualize and individualize occupational therapy practice.  By emphasizing the process of both clinical and professional reasoning, students are supported while being encouraged to examine the development of their own reasoning skills and learn about, from and with others throughout the curriculum. Thus, students are encouraged to be self-directed, life-long learners; agents for change; and leaders in the profession and the community in a manner consistent with the mission of the Occupational Therapy Program, the University of Findlay, and The American Occupational Therapy Association. 



American Occupational Therapy Association. (2020). Occupational therapy practice framework:

Doman and process (4th ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74 (Suppl. 2),

7412410010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.74S2001

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2017). Philosophical base of occupational

therapy.  American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(Suppl. 2), 7112410045.


Brown, C.A. (2019).  Ecological models in occupational therapy.  In Schell, B. A. & Gillen, G.

(Eds.), Willard and Spackman's occupational therapy (13th ed., pp. 622-632). Wolters


Dunn, W., Brown, C., & McGuigan, A. (1994). The ecology of human performance: A

framework for considering the effect of context. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 48, 595-607.

Kielhofner, G.  (2009). A Model of Human Occupation:  Theory and application (4th ed.). Williams & Wilkins.

Ludwig, F. M. (2004) Occupational-based and occupation-centered perspectives.  In Walker, K.F. & Ludwig, F. M. (Eds.), Perspectives on theory for the practice of occupational therapy (3rd ed., pp. 373-442).  PRO-ED, Inc.

Mattingly, C. & Fleming, M. H. (1994).  Clinical reasoning:  Forms of inquiry in a therapeutic practice.  F.A. Davis Company.

McColl, M.A. (2015).  The occupational therapy filing cabinet.  In McColl, M.A., Law, M., Stewart, D.  Theoretical basis of occupational therapy (3rd ed., pp. 17-26).  SLACK Incorporated.

Meyer, A. (1922).  The philosophy of occupation therapyArchives of Occupational Therapy, 1, 1-10

Schell, B. A. (2003). Clinical reasoning: The basis of practice. In Crepeau, E. B., Cohn, E. S., & Schell, B.A. (Eds.), Willard and Spackman's occupational therapy (10th ed., pp. 131-140). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Schell, B. A. (2019).  Professional reasoning in practice. In Schell, B. A. & Gillen, G. (Eds.), Willard and Spackman's occupational therapy (13th ed., pp. 482-497). Wolters Kluwer.

Schön, D. A. (1983).  The reflective practitioner.  Basic Books, Inc.

Wilcox, A. A., & Hocking, C. (2015). An occupational perspective of health (3rd ed.).  SLACK Incorporated.


Instructional Design: Professional Curriculum

Six general categories of courses organize the curriculum into sets of courses delivered as explicit “threads" taught longitudinally in a specific sequence to allow for increased levels of depth and intensity.  We expect that students in every course actively engage in a collaborative learning environment that provides integrated experiences.  Developing the ability to engage in scholarly inquiry and developing the skills necessary for evidence-based practice occurs along the journey as well.



This first series of courses focuses on the exploration of the foundations of the profession of occupational therapy and foundational knowledge necessary for clinical practice.  Students learn the primary curricular and professional concepts regarding how to be occupation-based, client-centered and culturally responsive practitioners.  The history, philosophy, domain and process, theories and practice of occupational therapy are also introduced in these foundational courses.  In addition, students develop an advanced understanding of anatomy, human movement, neuroscience and common health/disease conditions encountered by occupational therapists in clinical practice.


Essentials for OT Practice

Essential elements of occupational therapy, necessary in most practice settings, are the emphasis of this series of courses.  Students learn how to plan and lead therapeutic groups; teach others, advocate for and promote occupational therapy in professional settings; use theories and evidence in a variety of practice contexts; become more familiar with typical community settings and the importance of promoting health and wellness; and demonstrate the ability to apply management techniques and leadership skills required for contemporary occupational therapy practice.


Research and Evidence-Based Practice

For occupational therapy to survive in the rapidly changing health care system of today, the occupational therapist must practice being client-centered and provide interventions based on the evidence coupled with sound clinical and professional reasoning. Emphasis is placed on engagement in hands-on experiences which guide the students through searching the literature and developing skills to critically appraise a specific body of evidence. In addition, students have the opportunity to further advance their skills to synthesize the evidence through practical application while integrating research to guide occupational therapy practice. ​

Professional and Contextual Issues

The professional and contextual issues series of courses is an important and distinct element of the OT program at the University of Findlay.  Students learn how they may have an impact on both individual clients and the organizations in which they work.  In addition, students become more familiar with professional roles and responsibilities, the importance of cultural responsiveness, and specific considerations when addressing the needs of all populations.


Clinical Practice

The clinical practice series of courses provides students with a foundation for applying the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (OTPF) (AOTA, 2020) to clinical practice across all practice settings and the specifics for assessment, planning and providing interventions in biopsychosocial, pediatric, adult and geriatric practice settings.  Students also learn how to apply theoretical information to guide clinical practice decisions and to develop and write effective therapeutic goals using professional language and terminology.  These intervention courses provide students with opportunities to learn and apply specific assessment techniques, interpret assessment data, plan appropriate interventions and evaluate the effectiveness of, and measuring client outcomes of occupational therapy services.


Fieldwork Education

The program includes both Level I and Level II fieldwork.  Level I fieldwork education is an important aspect in the development of professional skills and knowledge.  Level I fieldwork experiences provide students with opportunities to synthesize knowledge and develop skills and attitudes that support the role of an entry-level practitioner in occupational therapy.  Three Level I fieldwork experiences are scheduled to coincide with specific coursework. Upon completion of the Level I fieldwork experiences, each student returns to the classroom where there is an opportunity to reflect upon and extend the usefulness of these experiences.  Level I fieldwork experiences are scheduled to expose the student to various populations and conditions to facilitate the integration and application of the didactic and laboratory learning experiences. 


Level II fieldwork provides students with a more extended opportunity to develop clinical reasoning and requisite entry-level practice skills through supervised, hands-on learning experiences.  Each student must complete two twelve-week fieldwork experiences.  An important consideration in scheduling Level II fieldwork experiences is a close examination of an individual student's Level I fieldwork experiences.  The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and the Occupational Therapy faculty strive to ensure that each student's overall fieldwork experiences provide the student with the opportunity to work with clients across the life span, with a variety of conditions, and in different service delivery models and/or practice settings.


The University of Findlay's Master of Occupational Therapy curriculum is based on the importance of successful and productive living supported by the performance of daily occupations.  Our graduates emphasize the importance of engagement in and balance of meaningful occupations throughout the life span.  Additionally, graduates recognize the importance of considering the contextual implications required to support occupational performance.


Throughout the MOT program students develop and are evaluated on clinical reasoning skills through didactic learning activities and experiential learning opportunities.  The occupational therapy faculty evaluate students on the ability to critically analyze the clinical decisions they make based on experience, evaluation data, observations, client and family reports, and other contextual considerations.  Students develop critical thinking beyond the technical aspects of providing occupation-based interventions and consider the current and future needs of a client within the context of individual life circumstances.  By emphasizing the process of clinical reasoning, students have an opportunity to examine the development of their own reasoning skills and learn from others throughout the curriculum.


It is an enormous undertaking to successfully prepare students for every possible clinical situation that may be encountered in practice.  In recognition of this, the curriculum promotes holistic, client-centered, evidence and occupation-based practice; fosters the development of clinical reasoning, problem-solving, and scholarship; and emphasizes the importance of self-directed, life-long learning to promote change in the profession and encourage effective leadership within the professional community.  We believe that graduates of the Master of Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Findlay have the interest, skills, and motivation required to support their own development, and the needs of the profession, in an ever-changing health care environment and global community.

Program Outcomes​

Upon completion of the Master of Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Findlay, graduates will:​

  1. Practice occupational therapy in a holistic manner to ensure a critical awareness and consideration of contextual, cultural and diversity factors impacting occupational performance in persons, groups and populations.
  2. Demonstrate clinical competence through articulation and application of contemporary occupation-based approaches relevant to the occupational therapy process across the life span for people, groups and populations.
  3. Analyze trends in sociopolitical and economic systems impacting the ever-changing administration and provision of occupational therapy services within traditional and emerging communities.
  4. Employ theoretical principles and approaches, professional reasoning, and current research for effective evidence-based practice. 
  5. Be moral and ethical occupational therapy practitioners who are leaders committed to the values and principles of the profession by being self-directed life-long learners and agents of change.