The occupational therapy faculty at East Carolina University believes that the discipline of occupational therapy is unique and dynamic, grounded in core principles of occupation, and is constantly influenced by emerging knowledge and technologies. As such, the faculty believe that the education of future occupational therapists must consistently reinforce the application of critical thinking and clinical reasoning, the necessity for life-long learning and the improvement of professional knowledge.
To develop and refine critical thinking, new material will be presented in a manner that reinforces the relationship to previous educational foundations, as well as its importance to future learning. The physical, social, and temporal environments will be incorporated in the learning process to facilitate the student’s development of critical thinking and acquisition of knowledge and skills. Structured courses, clinical experiences, and independent learning situations will be provided to develop and refine clinical reasoning. Students will be encouraged to become independent learners capable of assessing their own knowledge and able to use a wide variety of resources (professional organizations, books, journals, World Wide Web, folklore, personal experiences). A compassion for differences in student’s needs and learning styles will optimize academic and personal success. Faculty will serve as role models demonstrating the use of critical thinking, clinical reasoning and attention to individual differences. Through all of these approaches, students will gain an appreciation for critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and professional development through lifelong learning.
In order to improve professional knowledge and skills, students will have access to "real life" cases in the classroom and community. Through these "real life" experiences, faculty will facilitate reflection and shared feedback between peers and faculty about the uniqueness of each experience. The faculty believe that ultimately the students will be cognizant of and integrate the unique needs, lifestyles, and culture of each client while practicing occupational therapy.
The faculty believe that education constructed around these core principles will produce life long learners who are knowledgeable, skilled, and compassionate individuals. These individuals will be capable of entering the work force as competent occupational therapists, committed to the enhancement of client’s lives and the advancement of the profession.