Occupational Therapy Department Vision
Duquesne University Occupational Therapists:
Practice-Scholars Who Serve, Do, Question and Lead
We believe our vision will result in preparing students who will make significant contributions to the achievement of the AOTA Centennial Vision leading to occupational therapy becoming a powerful, widely recognized, science-driven, and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society's occupational needs.'
Duquesne University faculty realized the learning potential and relevance of using the natural environment as a resource for addressing relevant practice concerns and providing a new direction in student education and the professional development of practitioners. By answering practice questions in everyday occupational therapy contexts, meaningful contemporary health issues can be addressed and provide evidence to support the practice of occupational therapy. Since many faculty are given time to do scholarship as integral to their role and our profession certainly needs evidence to support our practice contentions, our faculty saw a valuable, multi-faceted opportunity to promote the scholarship of practice through supporting practitioners in becoming practice-scholars.
Occupational therapy programs, be they in medical, school, community settings, or other settings are very aware of their needs regarding evidence to support their practice. Many seek universities as partners for addressing scholarship of practice concerns. Programs especially value partnerships with academic programs when applied research leads to sustainable outcomes for their program after the research projects ended. Likewise, many practice settings embrace student education as an opportunity to train a new cadre of entry-level practitioners with a unique set of skills to provide leadership in addressing critical issues in health care.
Faculty-practitioner partnerships based on collaborative problem-solving, shared student preparation and interest in applied research activities that address mutually established, practice-relevant priorities have great potential to bridge the academy and practice. This approach has potential to re-frame a previous way of engagement into a win-win partnership for both parties with the benefits extended to students, faculty, our community partners and our profession. Each partner has a different purpose or mission but together embracing these opportunities exponentially increases the outcomes.
The purpose of the Practice-Scholar Occupational Therapy Department Initiative at Duquesne University is to develop new partnerships between practice and our department to support mutual interests in teaching, research and service focusing on the scholarship of occupational therapy in a variety of settings. The role, ’practice-scholar,’ was coined by our faculty to mirror the role, ‘teacher-scholar,’ used on our campus to reflect performance expectations including the expected balance of teaching and research. A practice-scholar embeds research in their everyday practice to answer central questions and/or provide evidence unique to their practice setting. Our department envisions the potential of practice-scholar activities within any setting where occupational therapy practice is occurring. In fact, a variety of ‘best practice’ sites is desired.