SRU’s Council of Trustees approved a new doctoral program in the occupational therapy department and are awaiting approval from the Board of Governors.
Jeffrey Loveland, associate professor of biology, is the program director in charge of budgeting, resources, leadership, supervision, achieving and maintaining accreditation, and developing the curriculum of the occupational therapy course and program. Loveland said that this process has been going on for several years now.
“Long before I came to SRU, the dean of the health environmental sciences college identified that they wanted to create a Physician Assistant and Occupational Therapy program,” Loveland said. “The PA program came first because they were able to start earlier. Occupational therapy started up a year and a half later. The Department of Biology has graciously allowed the PA and OT departments to be housed in their department.”
The new occupational therapy program will help students in the field and make them more marketable by preparing them for entry level jobs, clinical, research, and theory.
“This program leads to more polished professionals for field work and interviews for jobs,” Loveland said.
Loveland said the university hired an external consultant to check structure mission and resources along the way to ensure that the Occupational Therapy would fit well with Physical Therapy, Special education and other undergrad majors in the same department. Loveland said this precise decision of approval took several years.
The course itself is designed to challenge students with upper-level anatomy and biomechanics. Students will also learn how to work with mental health issues, pediatric issues, and adult issues. The program will provide case-based study courses and also field work one day a week. Spirituality in healthcare is something else that will be covered in the OT program because it is an area of study that people have a hard time understanding.
“I am very happy that this has been approved by the Council of Trustees and just hope that the Board of Governors follow along and also approve,” Loveland said. “This has been a team effort. I have received so much support from the president, dean, and so many other faculty members. Each person that I have reached out to work with has acted like it has been their program.”