Mission of SUNY Erie Community College
Erie Community College meets the needs of a diverse student body and contributes to regional economic vitality by providing high-quality, flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs committed to student success.
Mission of SUNY Erie Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
SUNY Erie Occupational Therapy Assistant Program embraces diversity and is student focused with a commitment to student success by providing high-quality education that fosters professionalism, a passion for occupational therapy, and life-long learning. We serve our students, the Occupational Therapy profession, and the community by graduating highly qualified occupational therapy assistants who meet the dynamic health care, human service, wellness, habilitation and rehabilitation employment demand in Western New York. We prepare students to work in traditional and emerging areas of practice, provide client-centered occupation based interventions, and use scientific evidence to guide decision making in ongoing practice.
Student Focused - Service to students is the primary reason for SUNY Erie's existence. The student is at the center of all SUNY SUNY Erie programs and services.
Accessibility - SUNY Erie serves the needs and wants of all students, including those not having educational opportunity elsewhere. Access means inclusion by overcoming financial, location, physical, language or other impediments.
Academic Excellence - We expect academic rigor in all curricula and from all students. We believe that quality teaching with comprehensive support results in positive learning outcomes and student achievement.
Openness and Respect - A broad range of cultures, attitudes, and viewpoints creates an environment of respect, caring, and trust. Everyone, no matter their limitations, should be recognized for their intrinsic dignity and unique capabilities.
Commitment to Our Students - In a context of respect, caring, and trust, we seek to guide students in the holistic learning process to become competent and caring entry-level occupational therapy assistant practitioners who demonstrate the clinical and interpersonal skills, knowledge, cultural sensitivity, experience, maturity, and values necessary for success in the dynamic healthcare, human service, wellness, habilitation and rehabilitation demands in Western New York. We are also committed to equipping students to be lifelong learners by teaching them the skills to be self-learners, and providing them with the resources and access to quality, relevant, continuing education and higher education transfer opportunities.
Commitment to Our Profession - With integrity and accountability, we are committed to providing a high-quality, multifaceted, state-of-the-art curriculum and learning resources that reflect current, applied and emerging areas of occupational therapy practice, and exceed the standards of our profession's accrediting body. We are also committed to playing a visible and active role in our regional occupational therapy professional community.
Commitment to Our Community - Through our relationships with employers, fieldwork affiliates and the community-at-large, we are committed to serving our community by promoting occupational therapy as an important contributor to health, function and well-being, and by graduating highly qualified occupational therapy assistants who will meet the dynamic health care, human service, wellness, habilitation, and rehabilitation employment demands in Western New York.
Our Program Philosophy embraces the overarching values of occupational therapy and occupational therapy education. We emphasize volition, client driven services, the power of occupation to be a healing agent with therapeutic benefits for health and wellness, adaptation to empower the individual, and the significance of optimal independence for quality of life. We recognize that education is an ongoing process and our educational philosophy embraces academic and experiential learning to help shape the students' professional identity and prepare them to work collaboratively with clients and other professionals.
Occupational Therapy Philosophy
Volition and Client Driven Services
Humans, intrinsically motivated by personal values and aspirations, and extrinsically directed by environmental demands, inherently engage in a variety of occupations. Occupational Therapy practitioners place value on the volition of individuals we work with. Therefore, volition must be encouraged and supported through therapeutic relationship with an emphasis on patient/client choice and involvement, and respect for the values, culture and beliefs of patients/clients.
The Power of Occupation
Occupations are "Activities...of everyday life, named, organized and given value and meaning by individuals and a culture" (Law, Polatajko, Baptiste and Townsend, 1997). Occupations occur across the lifespan, resulting in societal participation. Through self-selected occupations that are relevant, meaningful and therapeutic, humans have the capacity to influence their physical and mental health, as well as their social, physical, cultural, temporal, and virtual environments. Mary Reily, an early leader in the occupational therapy profession, reflects the values of the profession in the simple, yet profound statement: "Man, through the use of his hands, as they are energized by mind and will, can influence the state of his own health." (1962).
In occupational therapy, we use occupations which have intrinsic and extrinsic value as both a therapeutic medium, and the desired result of therapy. Occupations that have immediate and long-term therapeutic benefits address the needs of the people, families, communities, and populations that we serve (AOTA, 2017).
Adaptation and Enablement
At times, throughout the lifespan, individuals may be unable to engage in their life roles and occupations. When barriers occur, occupational therapy practitioners may adapt a task, the way the task is performed, or the environment to enable engagement in occupational roles and societal participation (AOTA, 2014).
Occupational Therapy Education Philosophy
It is our department's belief that learning is a dynamic process that develops over a time and learning promotes cognitive and affective maturation.
Cognitive maturation is the "development of an internal process by which learners select ways of attending, learning, remembering, or thinking to develop creative problem solving and thinking" (Gagne 1992). We promote problem solving and critical thinking by building complex learning on the simple, and abstract learning on the concrete. Learning develops within a hierarchy from general information acquisition to concept formation to problem solving. For cognitive strategies to be learned the students must engage in developing solutions to problems, learning new attitudes and be exposed to role models.
Both pedagogy and andragogy need to be considered as we have a diverse student body and there are many concepts that are universally supported regardless the age of the learner.
Students have the potential to discover meaning and connect that meaning to their career and their lives. Students bring with them a set of acquired attitudes and behaviors that impact their motivation for learning. We believe that as students learn, attitudes and behaviors can change and grow. Behavioral development occurs as students receive and respond to new information and ideas, value certain ideas, organize new values into existing value schemas, and act consistently with values that one has internalized (Krathwohl's affective taxonomy, 1964).
We believe cognitive maturation and behavioral development of students are equally important and occurs on a continuum throughout the program. As students learn how to apply specific skills through practice, feedback, and self-reflection, their confidence builds and cognitive maturation as well as behavioral development ensues (Carnegie Melon University, 2018).
In addition, occupational therapy faculty maintain core values and principles of the profession to include: beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy/confidentiality, fairness/equality, honesty, respect/dignity, duty/care, and sound judgement (AOTA, 2015).