Vision, Mission, and Philosophy

Vision Statement

The vision of the Department of Occupational Therapy is to engage students and faculty in an active learning community to meet the dynamic needs of a diverse and global society, in order to promote health, well-being and participation in life through occupational engagement.

Mission Statement 

The mission of the Occupational Therapy Program is to prepare reflective, creative, skilled and ethical occupational therapists. We meet this mission by:

  • Emphasizing experiential learning, evidence based practice and professional reasoning
  • Creating diverse and integrative learning experiences to develop breadth and depth of student perspectives
  • Fostering collaborative engagement in scholarship and service that extends beyond campus to include local and global communities
  • Promoting the centrality of occupational participation to support health and resilience for individuals, communities and populations


The philosophy of the Department of Occupational Therapy reflects the vision and mission of Ithaca College, the vision and mission of the department, and AOTA’s official documents on the philosophical foundation of occupational therapy and occupational therapy education.

We believe that humans are active and interactive beings who grow and change throughout the lifespan. Humans are complex, composed of many systems including physical, psychological, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual. In keeping with dynamic systems theory, humans are more than a compilation of these systems. Humans influence and are influenced by the various contexts and environments in which they engage in occupations. These ongoing, complex dynamic interactions enable and lead to participation in meaningful occupation.

Occupations give order and meaning to life. They include but are not limited to: basic and instrumental activities of daily living, rest and sleep, education, work, play, leisure, and social participation. Persons, groups, and populations are motivated and fulfilled by these occupations, which serve as a primary means to interact with the world around us. Engagement in occupations is essential for health and well-being. The concept of occupational justice asserts that persons, groups, and populations are entitled to engage in occupations that hold meaning and purpose, regardless of disability, gender identity and expression, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or cultural background. When participation in meaningful occupation is disrupted, occupational therapists and their clients work together to navigate these challenges in a way that promotes resilience.

Occupational therapy is an art and science that involves the interrelationship of persons, occupations, and the contexts in which they function. The occupational therapist works in partnership with persons, groups, and populations to enhance occupational engagement and performance through a variety of approaches that facilitate the pursuit of health and well-being. Active engagement is paramount to successful learning or re-learning of occupations and is achieved through a dynamic interplay between the individual and environment. The outcome of occupational therapy is participation in meaningful occupations. Through participation, we connect with others and our local and global communities.

Our profession, community, and institution have a commitment to fostering collaborative engagement. In turn, our department recognizes the connection between our profession and broader global issues. In order to be locally and globally connected, the foundation of an occupational therapy curriculum must encourage the integrative learning process and include diverse courses in theory, professional reasoning, evidence-based practice, the occupational therapy process, and liberal arts including natural and social sciences. The education extends beyond the classroom to encompass collaborative scholarship and service activities.

Our mission states that our students will become reflective, skilled, creative, and ethical practitioners. Our philosophy of education emphasizes active learning, requiring students to apply theory, knowledge, and skills in a wide variety of classroom, clinic, and community activities. We create and engage in a learning community where students and faculty learn from and with each other in a non-linear iterative process of knowledge, skill, and attitude development. Practices are applied in an evolving process that guides our curriculum design. Consistent with our mission are the threads on which we form the foundation of our curriculum. 

Curriculum Design

We hope to educate, as well as train, our students so that they have more than basic preparation in five major conceptual areas.

These five areas are the main threads of the curricular design:

1. Occupation
2. Human and environmental systems
3. Theory-based practice
4. Evidence
5. Participation and engagement

Each of these threads has led to the development of curricular goals, and is woven through the curriculum.