University of Southern Indiana

USI Trustees approve new Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Educational Specialist programs

USI Trustees approve new Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Educational Specialist programs

11/4/2021 | University Communications
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At its regular meeting on Thursday, November 4, the University of Southern Indiana Board of Trustees approved two new graduate programs, including a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program that will be the third doctoral program offered by the University.

“USI is proud to start offering our second healthcare doctoral program as we seek to meet the needs and goals of ever-changing healthcare demands,” said Dr. Ann White, Dean of the USI College of Nursing and Health Professions. “As our population ages and the demand for qualified healthcare professionals continues to rise, our program will provide extensively-trained, doctorally-prepared occupational therapy practitioners to serve southwest Indiana, the state and the nation.”

The OTD program, which will be housed within the College of Nursing and Health Professions, will require a minimum of 100 graduate credit hours.  Students entering the program with a bachelor’s degree will take classes in-person on the USI campus and at the Stone Family Center for Health Science. An online track will also be available for post-professional and master’s degree-holding students requiring 31 graduate credit hours.

Between 2016 and 2020, there were more than 633,000 unique job postings for occupational therapists nationwide, including more than 4,400 in the Tri-state. The rise in demand for providers is expected to coincide with a rise in demand for doctoral preparation, specifically in the areas of clinical practice and administration. Upon approval, USI will be the only state-supported institution in southern Indiana offering a doctorate in occupational therapy.

The OTD program will next be reviewed by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Higher Learning Commission and the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. It is scheduled to begin instruction in Fall 2023.

New licensure for P-12 teachers, administrators approved

The USI Board of Trustees also approved an Educational Specialist (EdS) in Educational Leadership program, to be offered through the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education beginning in the Fall 2022 Semester following approval from the Higher Learning Commission.

Developed in response to the shortage of administrators at the local, state and national levels for P-12 schools, candidates who earn this license will be eligible for positions as a school superintendent. This program is designed for teachers and building-level administrators who already hold a master’s degree but require an Education Specialist or doctoral degree, content courses, and successful completion of the content licensure test to obtain a district-level administrative license in Indiana.

The online program will consist of 30 credit hours and can be completed in two years, and students can choose to enter USI’s Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD) program upon completion. Current EdD students may also obtain the EdS as part of their coursework to seek positions while performing dissertation research.

In other business, the Trustees approved a recommendation to partner with Trail Heads, a non-profit organization working to develop and support quality bike trails in southwest Indiana, to apply for a grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for the design, construction and maintenance of 15-20 miles of bike trails north of Broadway Avenue. The trustees also approved the conferral of degrees to candidates for Fall 2021 Commencement Exercises and heard reports on student financial assistance and campus construction projects.

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Photo Credit: USI Photography and Multimedia

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