The Five Threads

Our vision and mission, and the five threads of our curricular design.
Vision and Mission


The Ithaca College Department of Occupational Therapy will lead the profession in developing engaged occupational therapists who meet the needs of a diverse society by facilitating access to health, well-being, and occupational participation for all.


The mission of the Department of Occupational Therapy is to prepare ethical occupational therapists who are lifelong learners, leaders, and advocates in the field of occupational therapy.  We meet this mission by:    

  • Promoting the centrality of occupational participation to support health, quality of life, occupational justice, and resilience of individuals, communities, and populations.
  • Emphasizing theory and evidence-driven practice and professional reasoning through experiential learning.
  • Creating diverse and integrative learning experiences to develop breadth and depth of student perspectives.
  • Fostering collaborative engagement in interprofessional scholarship and service that extends beyond campus to include local and global communities.
  • Exploring traditional and emerging areas of knowledge and practice.


Occupation is the distinct value of occupational therapy and is at the core of our curriculum, woven throughout all courses at every level of study. Occupational science brings together a dynamic blend of research and theory from a wide range of disciplines to affirm that engagement in meaningful occupations is an inherent need and human right. Interacting with the world around us through occupation is essential for health and well-being thus supporting the overarching goal of occupational therapy, to optimize participation in occupation.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of our program, you will be able to:

  • Communicate to stakeholders the value of occupation as integral to the health and well-being of  persons, groups, and populations.
  • Apply research and theory from occupational science into the design of occupational therapy intervention at person, group, and population levels.

Human and Environmental Systems

Interactions between individuals, occupations, and environments are central to occupational participation. The relationship between humans and their environments is interdependent, ongoing, and reciprocal wherein human occupations influence the health of environments and environments influence human health and well-being. Various structures of power (e.g., racism, sexism, ableism) overlap and interact to shape occupational opportunities in distinct ways for individuals and communities. This complex interconnectedness of humans and environments is essential to working toward an occupational therapy practice that meets the needs and priorities of an increasingly diverse population.

This thread includes cross-discipline study of factors impacting occupational participation, including approaches from social, biological, and natural sciences, as well as experiential knowledge of communities impacted by systems of oppression. Our curriculum incorporates coursework and experiences related to local and global issues influencing health and healthcare systems, exploring contexts and environments relevant to clients, occupational justice, and sustainability.

Student Learning Outcome

As a graduate of our program, you will be able to analyze the complex and dynamic interactions between diverse human and environmental systems in order to guide the occupational therapy process.

Theory-based Practice

Occupational therapists work in partnership with persons, groups, and populations to enhance occupational participation. Relevant theories, models, frames of reference, and other guidelines must be critically examined, selected, and competently applied to guide the occupational therapy process. This process includes professional reasoning for evaluation, intervention, and outcomes occurring in a multitude of contexts and within varied service delivery models. The professional reasoning needed to problem-solve and reflect on one’s practice while planning and delivering high quality, occupation-based, and client-centered care is integral to the practice of occupational therapy.  This thread incorporates coursework, learning experiences, and research related to professional reasoning using theories/models/frames of reference from occupational therapy and relevant disciplines and the development of skills needed to create and demonstrate outcomes of emerging practice areas.  

Student Learning Outcome

As a graduate of our program, you will be able to apply sound professional reasoning, theory, and clinical skills when implementing the occupational therapy process in traditional and emerging practice areas.


Evidence can be gathered from many sources, including disseminated research, examination of one's clinical practice, opinions of experts, and consideration of the preferences, beliefs, and values of the client. Integration of all forms of evidence allows for professional reasoning and selection of theory-based evaluation, intervention methods, advocacy, and program development to facilitate ethical, occupation-based practice and leadership. We believe engagement in the creation of evidence facilitates a deeper understanding of current literature, identifying gaps in what is known, and translating knowledge to practice.

Student Learning Outcome

As a graduate of our program, you will be able to:

  • Synthesize and apply evidence to inform the occupational therapy process.
  • Student Learning Outcome: Participate in the creation of evidence to inform knowledge and practice.

Participation and Engagement

As occupational therapists, we believe in the power of doing and that the purpose of higher education is to develop responsible and ethical professionals and citizens. Therefore, we encourage our students to engage in curricular and extracurricular experiential learning opportunities in diverse contexts. Active participation on campus and in the community fosters development of interpersonal skills and professional behaviors needed for practice. Further, civic and community engagement assists in building an appreciation for complex societal issues influencing practice and prepares students to be effective leaders and advocates. We encourage and provide opportunities for students to engage in innovative and emerging practice areas.

This thread includes occupation-based and experiential activities, hands-on clinic opportunities, fieldwork, and service-learning experiences in the curriculum. It also includes experiences and coursework focused on building capacity for leadership, advocacy, and global citizenship.

Student Learning Outcome

As a graduate of our program you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate ethical and professional behaviors necessary for occupational therapy practice.
  • Create a philosophy of leadership and advocacy to advance the profession in traditional and emerging practice areas.


OT Department Office
321 Smiddy Hall
Ithaca College • 953 Danby Road • Ithaca, NY 14850