Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Canadian occupational therapy (OT) university programs must teach change agent competencies. These include promoting social justice and empowering clients, which United States occupational therapists also do. Change agent competency requirements are challenging to teach and involve multidisciplinary knowledge and non-traditional skills. As few occupational therapists feel competent to act as change agents, university programs must engage in a scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) approach and identify areas of improvement. The aim of this study, informed by SoTL, was to document, as described by participants, the pedagogical activities related to teaching the change agent role in an OT program in Canada and explore possible curricular improvements. Two online 90-minute focus group meetings were held: one with ten teaching team members, the other with six current and past students. Participants were questioned regarding current formal and informal curricular activities, barriers that influenced competency development, and activities that could help improve it. Data were analyzed thematically. Actual informative teaching activities, such as ethics and multicultural courses, were deemed helpful but insufficient, with only one transformative course in the curriculum. Barriers such as a rigid, biomedical-based program structure also affected competency acquisition. Solutions to improve acquisition included mentorship and recognition of relevant extracurricular projects by the programs. SoTL offers a reflective lens to learn from collective experiences. This study showed the importance of involving students and faculty in program development and delivery improvements in order to better support educators and program administrators in their mission to meet the needs of vulnerable populations.


Étienne Lavoie-Trudeau, MSW is a fourth-year undergraduate occupational therapy student at the Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.

Tim Dubé, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine, and researcher at the Center for Health Sciences Pedagogy (CPSS), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.

Michaël Beaudoin, MBA, MOT is an occupational therapist and research assistant at the Research Centre on Aging, University Integrated Health and Social Services Centre of the Eastern Townships – Sherbrooke University Hospital (CIUSSS de l’Estrie–CHUS), Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.

Annie Carrier, PhD, MSc, LLM, BA(psy), OT is an associate professor affiliated with the School of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, and a researcher at the Research Centre on Aging, CIUSSS de l’Estrie–CHUS, Sherbrooke, Québec, 3001 12th Avenue North, Sherbrooke, Québec J1H 5N4, Canada. Tel.: 819-821-8000 #72917, Email: Annie.Carrier@usherbrooke.ca

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.