Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


Partnerships between community organizations and engaged university members creates realistic learning experiences for occupational therapy students while encouraging civic responsibility. The authors propose service learning as the core of an innovative course design framework using the Centralized Service Learning Model (CSLM). Three phases are described. Phase One provides a description of the CSLM using a generalizable model, with specific application within existing occupational therapy program coursework. Phase Two provides leadership opportunities for a subsequent cohort of students within the curriculum. Finally, Phase Three integrates faculty scholarship. To understand students’ knowledge-level awareness, a survey based on course objectives can be administered, and ongoing journaling using reflections that promote critical thought, such as guided reflection, may be utilized. Faculty members can utilize this innovative course design framework to provide meaning and engagement to students during service learning projects while simultaneously meeting service, scholarship, and teaching obligations.


Lauren Milton, OTD, OTR/L currently serves as an Instructor at the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. She is engaged in the development and implementation of several educationally-based programmatic and research initiatives at the Program, including the Innovations in Education Lab. Robyn Otty, OTD, OTR/L, BCPR currently serves as an Associate Professor and Program Director at the School of Occupational Therapy at Touro University Nevada. As an OT educator, Dr. Otty has systematically studied her teaching through various action research projects related to student creativity and critical thinking within higher education.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.