State approves doctoral OT program at Roberts Wesleyan

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New York state approved Roberts Wesleyan College’s second doctoral program, an entry level doctorate in occupational therapy, with an anticipated launch in August.  

“As we see the aging population wanting to age at home, this doctorate program in occupational therapy will have a meaningful impact on the health care industry with our aging seniors,” said Jayne Knowlton, who will lead the program. “Occupational therapists play a critical role in allowing seniors to stay home and that’s just one of many focuses for today’s occupational therapists. We will train students to provide therapeutic intervention across one’s lifespan.” 

This is an entry level doctorate program, meaning applicants can have a bachelor’s degree in a number of different disciplines, as long as program prerequisites are met.  

The program consists of 111 credit hours completed over three years of full-time study that includes didactic courses, off-site fieldwork, and an individualized capstone project and experiences guided by faculty mentors. Students in the program will have the opportunity to learn hands-on using cadavers.  

The Occupational Therapy Department will be housed in Smith Hall, sharing some facilities in the Crothers Science & Nursing Center. The program has a limited number of openings for students who wish to apply and start the program this fall. 

“What’s unique about this being an entry level doctorate program is that we will take students fresh out of their bachelor’s degree, as long as they’ve completed a few select prerequisites and have a 3.0 GPA,” Knowlton said. “I’m truly honored and motivated to lead this program and guide students to become holistic OTs, ready to partner and help them fulfill their personal goals.”  

Knowlton started her OT practice in 1988. She focused on outpatient orthopedics, then transitioned from a certified hand therapist to manager of a hospital OT department to founder and owner of Rehabilitation Specialists of Rochester in 2001. For the past 12 years, she has worked for the University of Rochester Medical Center and now is per diem.  

She completed her post-professional doctorate at Boston University in 2018. Knowlton designed AquaEve, a female urinal, for bed-bound women. She guest lectures on the development of adaptive technology, strategies for addressing functional urinary continence and social entrepreneurship. 

Roberts is looking for qualified faculty to teach in the OT doctorate program this fall. The program applied for accreditation and received candidacy status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association.  

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