GVSU OT Department took the first students into its innovative entry-level master's degree program in 1996. The primary goal of the OT Department has been to prepare graduates who can take leadership roles in traditional and non-traditional settings where OTs practice, and act as advocates for the profession and for the members of society who use our services. In the fall of 2005, the OT Department began its revised master's degree program. While the primary goal of the program remains the same, our revised curriculum facilitates the learning process through a re-organization of content into six semesters of full-time work. The programs are highly integrated, to ensure that graduates recognize the importance of leadership in all facets of their professional lives. The revised curriculum provides a greater integration of content, a focus on expansion of student perspectives and greater emphasis on the social responsibilities of health care professionals in a globally aware society.
The GVSU OT Department has been developed around the major theme that occupational involvement is critical to maximizing individual health and wellness. Educational activities explore issues related to evidence-based, client-centered therapy, and how OT can serve groups and communities as well as individuals. The Department philosophy comports with that of the American Occupational Therapy Association, our primary professional organization, and the source of the standards set for all occupational therapy education programs. This focus on occupation and its importance to the quality of human life has begun opening doors to new practice opportunities for OTs, outside of the traditional hospital and rehabilitation centers. These new settings include new opportunities in the community, private practice and governmental agencies.
The admission process is rigorous, requiring a 3.0 overall GPA, along with interviewing and writing skills that are better than average. Since its inception, the program has focused on selecting students who have a high degree of commitment to human service, to education, and to the field of occupational therapy. Students who present evidence of consistent involvement in activities that demonstrate commitment to meeting societal needs are most attractive to our program. The kinds of activities valued include taking organizational leadership roles, providing educational assistance to others, engaging in paid work in a health care environment, research involvement and doing volunteer work with individuals with disabilities.
To date, GVSU graduates find employment in a wide range of settings including acute care, rehabilitation, school systems, long term care, and home health, and private practice, to name a few. Both graduates and employers note significant satisfaction with GVSU's insightful and comprehensive professional preparation.