Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


As new educational programs emerge and student enrollment increases, the demand for new academicians, fieldwork educators, and capstone mentors is growing rapidly within the occupational therapy (OT) profession. Academic programs must prepare practitioners to teach and supervise their students who will become OTs and occupational therapy assistants (OTA). In conjunction with the state OT association, one university doctoral OT program created and implemented a free education-focused professional development series for community partners who were interested in developing their teaching knowledge and skills. The series covered unique aspects of OT and OTA education: fieldwork, the doctoral capstone experience and project, and how to become an academic educator. In total, 131 participants attended the three-part professional development series: 10% attended all three sessions, 12% attended two sessions, and 78% attended just one session. A post course evaluation found the majority of participants agreed they will apply the information learned into their practice, they valued the free professional development opportunities, and they were interested in attending future professional development opportunities. Participants had a high level of agreement that they achieved the specific learning objectives of the course. Not only did the community partners find the sessions to be beneficial, but the university OT program noted benefits to hosting it, with 83% of the participants reporting wanting to take a capstone student and 73% reporting a desire to become an academic educator. The purpose of this educational innovation article is to disseminate the content, objectives, and outcomes of the professional development series, in addition to sharing implications for OT and OTA educational programs.


Oaklee Rogers, Ph.D., OTR/L is the department chair and associate clinical professor for Northern Arizona University’s Occupational Therapy Program. Dr. Rogers has experience developing and implementing professional development courses for community stakeholders at local, state, and national levels. She has also obtained grant funding and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Sara Stephenson, OTD, OTR/L, BCPR, CBIS, CSRS serves as assistant clinical faculty and capstone coordinator for Northern Arizona University’s Occupational Therapy Program. Dr. Stephenson brought her experience in student/mentor program development and mentoring capstone students in clinical settings to the academic setting where she works closely with mentors and students during capstone.

Gina Buban, OTD, OTR/L is an assistant clinical professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator of the Northern Arizona University Occupational Therapy Program. She has over ten years of clinical practice in the pediatric setting. By overseeing all fieldwork rotations, she works closely with students and clinical sites to prepare students to hone in on their purpose of becoming and being occupational therapists.

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.