Newman University Occupational Therapy Assistant program receives 10-year reaccreditation

The Newman University Occupational Therapy Assistant program has been awarded a coveted 10-year reaccreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

ACOTE, which is administered by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is recognized as the accrediting agency for occupational therapy education by both the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. To determine accreditation, ACOTE makes an on-site evaluation of OTA programs and requires reports, self-studies and other paperwork by the program being evaluated

The standard award of reaccreditation is for seven years. Programs that receive a seven-year accreditation term and are cited for no more than two areas of noncompliance may be granted a 10-year term by ACOTE if the agency determines that the program has fully resolved all cited areas within one year of the on-site evaluation.

The 10-year award reflects the program's compliance with all reaccreditation criteria and is a sign that a program has demonstrated exceptional educational quality.

The 10-year accreditation of the Newman OTA program followed a review in January 2013. At that time, the Newman program met all standards and requirements for reaccreditation except two: Program Evaluation and Strategic Planning.

To resolve those two areas, Newman drew up a "Plan of Correction" approved by ACOTE. The plan involved submitting a new Program Evaluation Report, along with a written protocol for annually collecting, analyzing, and reporting program evaluation data.

To resolve the second area, Newman submitted a new Strategic Plan, which was more future-oriented than the one the OTA program previously had in place.

"We are gratified that the American Occupational Therapy Association felt Newman's OTA Program meets their highest standard for educational excellence," said Clint Stucky, assistant professor of occupational therapy and director of occupational therapy at Newman. "It made a very nice Christmas present for us."

This is the first time the Newman OTA Program has received a 10-year accreditation, Stucky said.

"I think this may also be saying something about the high quality of the university in which the program resides," Stucky said. "Not every OTA Program is so lucky. Many entities at Newman — including the Library, Academic Affairs and our IT Department — contributed to our Self-Study, and to the success of the site visit, as did many graduates, employers of our graduates, and clinicians who supervise our students at fieldwork locations. Our Administrative Assistant Beth Goldsby, and our Academic Fieldwork Coordinator Nancy Dahlinger, were also indispensable to this effort."

With the 10-year reaccreditation, the Newman OTA program will not have another on-site evaluation until the 2022-2023 academic year.

Newman University is one of the few universities in the area to offer an OTA program. The two-year, associate's degree program is designed to prepare graduates to assist occupational therapists in the delivery of treatments to help people with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities learn skills and techniques to perform everyday functions, such as bathing and dressing.

Graduates of the Newman OTA program are eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of the exam, individuals become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).

For more information on the Newman University OTA program, contact Stucky at 316-942-4291, etc. 2349, or visit www.newmanu.edu/studynu/undergraduate/occupational-therapy-assistant.

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