Mission & Philosophy


Emory & Henry’s motto is “Increase in Excellence” and has an intention to be a learning community with a commitment to freedom and civic virtue. The mission of the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Program (OTD) is to graduate competent entry-level occupational therapists that are occupation-centered and possess leadership, advocacy, critical thinking and professional reasoning skills that will enable them to serve and meet the occupational therapy needs of communities. Graduates will have necessary skills to work in a variety of settings—including rural healthcare settings—to meet the needs of those who are underserved in areas of health disparities.


The vision of the Occupational Therapy Program is to be innovative and a national leader in occupational therapy graduate education and to transform the lives of others in order to promote a positive change in the region, nation and world communities.


Beliefs Regarding Humans and Nature of Occupational Therapy

Humans are occupational beings that have the right to engage in meaningful occupations during their entire life span. It is the philosophy of occupational therapy that participation in meaningful occupations plays a vital role in one’s health. Occupations occur in many contexts such as social, physical, cultural, virtual, personal, etc. It is the nature of occupational therapy to promote health and well-being and support individuals participating in meaningful occupations in all contexts. “All individuals have an innate need and right to engage in meaningful occupations throughout their lives.” (AOTA 2017)

Beliefs Regarding the Nature of Learning

AOTA  2014 — “Students are viewed as occupational beings, in dynamic transaction with the learning context and the teaching-learning process. The learning context includes the curriculum and pedagogy and conveys a perspective and belief system that includes a view of humans as occupational beings, occupation as a health determinant, and participation as a fundamental right. Education promotes clinical reasoning and the integration of professional values, theories, evidence, ethics and skills. This will prepare practitioners to collaborate with clients to achieve health, well-being, and participation in life through engagement in occupation.”

The Occupational Therapy Program at Emory & Henry believes that the learning environment needs to be occupation centered and learning takes place through activities provided on campus but also off campus in the Appalachian region and/or around the nation. A variety of meaningful teaching methods will be provided that are interactive including active learning approaches, self-reflection, interprofessional activities, high impact practice areas, and experiential learning. Faculty will mentor students and students are expected to be intrinsically motivated acting as agents of their own learning through full engagement in all educational opportunities.  

Clinical Reasoning:

Process used by practitioners to plan, direct, perform and reflect on patient care.

Schell, 2003

Professional Reasoning:

Includes non-medical environments such as schools and community settings, and reasoning done by fieldwork educators/supervisors/ managers as they conceptualize occupational therapy practice.

Schell & Schell, 2008