Development of a Collaborative Entry-Level Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Distance Program at the University of Alaska Anchorage
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Given the shortages in Alaska, the UAA decided to explore the feasibility of starting an educational program in OT. Dr. Cheryl Easley, Dean of UAA’s College of Health and Social Welfare formed a work group consisting of the Dean, Jan Harris, UAA Vice Provost, Dr. Alfred Bracciano, Creighton University, and Jean Keckhut, President of the Alaska OT Association which reviewed the contextual background, healthcare and work force needs of the state and considered organizational and educational programs and delivery capabilities, identifying potential options. CU was selected as a partner, due to our long-standing history of online education in pharmacy and array of clinical doctorate degrees in pharmacy, physical therapy and occupational therapy. Other assets of CU included the ability to allocate sufficient faculty, staff and resources, the technical expertise and experience of the school’s Office of eLearning and Academic Technologies (OLAT), and an institutional “fit” of missions. A hybrid program of distance and on-campus education was designed. The OTD program for Alaska students is a full replication of the curriculum offered concurrently to the on-campus cohort. Didactic courses are accessible in an online format with experiential components and laboratory sessions are held on the UAA campus and taught by adjunct faculty hired in Alaska.