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History, Mission, Vision and Philosophy

Vision statement

To transform occupational therapy and influence other health professions through leadership, education, and discovery.

Mission statement

To develop learners who will impact the health and occupations of people and their communities through innovative and collaborative practice, education, research, and leadership.


Our Beliefs about Occupational Therapy:

  • Adjustments to context and activities support participation in occupations in everyday life.
  • Best practice promotes participation in authentic contexts.
  • Best practice entails producing and using evidence.

Our Beliefs about Human Beings:

  • People have the right and capacity to direct their own lives.
  • People's characteristics are strengths which support participation in everyday life.
  • Participation in everyday life involves interaction between the person, task, and context.
  • Quality of life depends on engagement in occupation.

Our Beliefs about Human Learning:

  • Interprofessional collaboration enriches education and practice.
  • Learning is enhanced through supported discovery and reflection.
  • Learning is gained through life, education, and work experiences.

A Brief History of Occupational Therapy Education at KU

The Department of Occupational Therapy Education joined the School of Health Professions (then named the School of Allied Health) in 1985, relocating its bachelor's degree curriculum from the Lawrence campus.

In 1999 the department was approved to revise its curriculum to offer an entry-level Master of Occupational Therapy degree. Students enter the program as seniors and receive a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Studies before beginning graduate-level study. The first class entered the master's program in summer 2000.

A doctoral program was added in 2001: the doctorate in therapeutic science (Ph.D.). This interdisciplinary program is designed for those wishing to pursue scholarly, research, and academic options for their careers.

In 2007 the department began offering a new academic program, the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree, which offers a post-professional opportunity for those who wish to develop specialized skills for leadership in practice.

In fall 2020, the department welcomed the first class of students into its new entry-level clinical doctorate in occupational therapy. It replaced the master's degree program.

Last modified: Nov 18, 2020