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Improving Recreational Therapy Curriculum: The Quality Enhancement Plan Model Peg Connolly, Ph.D., LRT/CTRS Associate Professor and Director of Recreational.

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Presentation on theme: "Improving Recreational Therapy Curriculum: The Quality Enhancement Plan Model Peg Connolly, Ph.D., LRT/CTRS Associate Professor and Director of Recreational."— Presentation transcript:

1 Improving Recreational Therapy Curriculum: The Quality Enhancement Plan Model Peg Connolly, Ph.D., LRT/CTRS Associate Professor and Director of Recreational Therapy Western Carolina University NCRTA Annual Conference, October 13, 2008 Greensboro, NC

2 Describe the structural and substance elements of a quality curriculum in RT.Describe the structural and substance elements of a quality curriculum in RT. Describe the importance of advising to link academic and co-curricular experiences into a seamless path to integrated and synthesized learning.Describe the importance of advising to link academic and co-curricular experiences into a seamless path to integrated and synthesized learning. Describe the opportunities and challenges to incorporate engagement and integration in an RT curriculum.Describe the opportunities and challenges to incorporate engagement and integration in an RT curriculum. Objectives

3 The structure and elements of a quality RT curriculum?The structure and elements of a quality RT curriculum? NCTRC RequirementsNCTRC Requirements ATRA Curriculum GuidelinesATRA Curriculum Guidelines NRPA Council on AccreditationNRPA Council on Accreditation What are…

4 NCTRC Academic Requirements 1. 1.Baccalaureate Degree or Higher with a “major in TR” or “major in recreation with an option in TR” semester hours of TR and general recreation coursework with a minimum of 4 courses in TR is required …; 3. 3.Supportive courses … a total of 18 semester hours of support coursework with a minimum of: (i) 3 semester hours in anatomy and physiology; (ii) 3 semester hours in abnormal psychology; and (iii) 3 semester hours in human growth and development across the lifespan. The remaining semester hours coursework must be in the content ‘human services’ …; 4. 4.A minimum 480-hour, twelve (12) consecutive week field placement experience in TR services that uses the therapeutic recreation process as defined by the current NCTRC Job Analysis under the supervision of an on-site field placement supervisor who is both NCTRC CTRS certified and meets the standards for field placement supervision...

5 ATRA Guidelines Guidelines for Competency Assessment and Curriculum Planning for Recreational Therapy Practice Provide “direction to educators, practitioners, and agencies about the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities required to practice safely and effectively.” (p. 3) “…are related to professional practice competencies…curricula in RT must be based upon a foundation of liberal arts designed to expose the students to a depth and breadth of education sufficient to ensure a pracitioner is capable of critical thinking, effective verbal and written communication, and is an individual who demonstrates a strong core of central values regarding life, culture and the global community…” (p. 4-5)

6 ATRA Guidelines RT Suggested Course ContentRT Suggested Course Content 1. 1.Foundations of Professional Practice 2. 2.Individualized Pt/Client Assessment 3. 3.Planning Treatment/Programs 4. 4.Implementing Treatment/Programs 5. 5.Modality/Intervention Skills 6. 6.Modality/Intervention Skills 7. 7.Modality/Intervention Skills 8. 8.Evaluating Treatment/Programs 9. 9.Managing Recreational Therapy Practice

7 ATRA Guidelines: Support Content Anatomy/Physiology Kinesiology/Biomecha nics Motor Skill Learning Human Growth & Development Psychology Cognitive/Ed Psych Abnormal Psych Counseling Group Dynamics & Leadership First Aid & Safety Disabling Conditions Pharmacology Health Care Organization and Delivery Legal Aspects of Health Care Recreation & Leisure Services

8 NRPA Council on Accreditation Defines set content standards for TR Does not dictate specific numbers of hours, numbers of courses, nor specific titles NRPA Council on Accreditation identifies that of 90 programs accredited for the broad field of parks recreation and leisure services, 36 are accredited for the Therapeutic Recreation Option. Source: Retrieved on 10/12/08 from

9 Consisted of 2,651 applicants who applied for certification between Direct review of applicant transcripts to determine course work in TR/RT content and support Identified 151 established degree programs in Recreation and courses in TR. NCTRC Study of Curricula-2005

10 Academic Programs: Geographic Distribution RegionsStatesFrequencyPercent Northeast CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT, NJ, NY, PA % East No. Central IN, IL, MI, OH, WI % West No. Central IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD % So. Atlantic DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV % West So. Central AL, AR, KY, LA, MS, OK, TN, TX % West AZ, AK, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, WY, WA % Canada 32.0% n=151 academic programs

11 NCTRC Study: Departments & Degrees Departments Health and Human Performance HPER Physical Education and Recreation Recreation and Leisure Studies Recreation and Park Administration Recreation Administration Recreation Management Degree Titles 23% (35) contain “TR” or “RT” 77% had majors in general recreation and/or options or emphasis in TR

12 NCTRC Study: TR Content Courses 3 most frequently completed courses:3 most frequently completed courses: Background KnowledgeBackground Knowledge Planning the InterventionPlanning the Intervention Implementing the InterventionImplementing the Intervention 3 least frequently completed courses:3 least frequently completed courses: Documentation and EvaluationDocumentation and Evaluation AssessmentAssessment Organizing and Managing ServicesOrganizing and Managing Services

13 TR Content by Number of Courses Course titles when programs only had 3 TR CoursesCourse titles when programs only had 3 TR Courses Background Knowledge (83%)Background Knowledge (83%) Planning the Intervention (75%)Planning the Intervention (75%) Implementing the Intervention (41%)Implementing the Intervention (41%) Course titles when programs had 4-5 TR CoursesCourse titles when programs had 4-5 TR Courses Background Knowledge (87%)Background Knowledge (87%) Planning the Intervention (82%)Planning the Intervention (82%) Implementing the Intervention (57%)Implementing the Intervention (57%) Advancing the Profession (45%)Advancing the Profession (45%)

14 TR Content by Number of Courses Typical course titles for programs with 6+ TR CoursesTypical course titles for programs with 6+ TR Courses Diagnostic Groups (91%)Diagnostic Groups (91%) Background Knowledge (83%)Background Knowledge (83%) Implementing the Intervention (83%)Implementing the Intervention (83%) Planning the Intervention (78%)Planning the Intervention (78%) Organizing/Managing (61%)Organizing/Managing (61%) Advancing the Profession (51%)Advancing the Profession (51%) Assessment (47%)Assessment (47%) All applicants least likely to complete a course in Documentation/EvaluationAll applicants least likely to complete a course in Documentation/Evaluation

15 ATRA Support Content NCTRC Study: ATRA Support Content Anatomy/Physiology (100%) Kinesiology/Biomechanics (17.2%) Motor Skill Learning (5.2%) Human Growth & Devel. (100%) Psychology (87.9%) Cognitive/Ed Psych (10.3%) Abnormal Psych (100%) Counseling (10.3%) First Aid & Safety (35.1%) Disabling Conditions (2.3%) Pharmacology (4.6%) Health Care Org. & Delivery (4.0%) Legal Aspects of Health Care (2.9%) Not included: Group Dynamics & Leadership; Recreation & Leisure Services

16 Other Support Courses NCTRC Study: Other Support Courses General Soc 59.8% Health/Wellness 43.1% Medical Terminology33.3% Psychology: Other 31.0% Fitness/Exercise 27.6% Stats/Research 26.4% Cultural Diversity 20.1% Nutrition 19.5% Sociology 19.0% Psych Personality 16.1% Soc Psych 15.5% Spec Ed 14.4% Marriage/Family 14.4% Gerontology/Aging13.8% Human Sexuality 13.2% Substance Abuse 12.1% Sign Language 11.5% Adapted P. E. 10.9%

17 NCTRC Study: Internship Settings Hospital49.3% Residential15.9% Skilled Nursing Facility14.3% Community11.3% Adult Day Care3.7% Partial or Outpatient2.8% School0.5% Corrections0.4% Other1.8% Internship Hours: Mean = ; Median=560; Mode = 600

18 Internship Population and Level of Care Psych/Mental Health 32.2% Phys Rehab 29.3% Geriatric21.4% Dev Disabilities 13.1% Other4.1% Long Term 41.7%Acute37.5% Sub-acute13.4% Home1.8% Other5.7%

19 What is a Quality RT Educational Program?

20 Quality Education Quality RT Education is not well- defined nor universally applied in our fieldQuality RT Education is not well- defined nor universally applied in our field The majority of RT education programs are not accredited by the existing NRPA Plan and there is not specific RT accreditation plan currentlyThe majority of RT education programs are not accredited by the existing NRPA Plan and there is not specific RT accreditation plan currently

21 What is a Quality Enhancement Plan?

22 What is the QEP? The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a component of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) process of reaffirmation of university accreditation. The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a component of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) process of reaffirmation of university accreditation. The institution must identify a topic or issue that is directly related to the enhancement of student learning outcomes. The institution must identify a topic or issue that is directly related to the enhancement of student learning outcomes.

23 WCU’s QEP “Synthesis: A Pathway to Intentional Learning at Western Carolina University initiates new and enhances current connections among existing programs to create a more holistic approach to educating students. WCU faculty and staff recognize that a major challenge of higher education is the need for students to synthesize their curricular and co-curricular (outside of courses) college experiences.”

24 WCU’s QEP “The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) uses synthesis – the ability to integrate knowledge from different areas into an original whole – as the driving framework for teaching and learning. This emphasis on synthesis enhances students’ educational journey and helps prepare them for life beyond college.” “The overarching learning goal of the QEP is one where students will synthesize knowledge and skills from their academic and co-curricular experiences to become intentional participants in their own learning.”

25 WCU’s QEP Goals 1. Identify their aptitudes, abilities, and interests and articulate their future goals and aspirations; 2. Modify behaviors and values in response to knowledge and skills gained from their academic and co-curricular experiences; and 3. Recognize the synthesis of their university experiences and evaluate those experiences relative to their future education and career goals.

26 QEP At Other Universities Wake Forest University - "Preparing Students to be Global Citizens" – recognizing the University's international programs, as well as the growing importance of understanding and appreciating other cultures and economies of the world Georgia State University – “Critical Thinking through Writing”, to increase baccalaureate students’ performance on two of the University’s general education learning outcomes – critical thinking and written communication Southern Mississippi – “Finding a Voice: Improving Oral and Written Competencies” University of Texas - “Signature Courses” increases accessibility of distinguished faculty to first-year students and teaches certain skills—oral communication, writing, reasoning, and the interpretation of data

27 QEP At Other NC Universities with RT NC State University - ""Learning in a Technology-Rich Environment" (LITRE)” Winston-Salem State University – QEP development underway and will focus on the enhancement of one of the 21st century skills across the curriculum. ( ) UNC-Greensboro – development of QEP underway UNC-Wilmington – QEP due in 2010 ECU – QEP Leadership Team in place and due in 2013 No information on – Mt. Olive, Mars Hill, Shaw

28 RT and the QEP What would you do if you had the chance to not merely meet minimum standards for RT education?What would you do if you had the chance to not merely meet minimum standards for RT education? What would you do if you had the chance to re-examine the RT curriculum and design quality for student learning and career development?What would you do if you had the chance to re-examine the RT curriculum and design quality for student learning and career development?

29 RT and the QEP Why did we volunteer?Why did we volunteer? In an effort to improve the recreational therapy degree program through further assessment and a review of the proposed QEP, the plan to improve education at WCU resonated with our goals for the RT academic program. It seemed like a plan that would allow us to meet the educational needs and interests of the recreational therapy majors and prepare “better” professionals for recreational therapy practice

30 RT and the QEP Where to begin… It was easy to look at the educational content of our academic program in recreational therapy. We have a set of national job tasks and knowledge areas that guide the development of our practice and our educational programs. However, in studying the QEP, it became clear that there were many more elements to consider in the transition to piloting the RT degree within the QEP.

31 Where to begin Gap analysis: examined the current curriculum in relation to the basic purpose and goals of the QEP Description of Standards of knowledge, skills and abilities of a recreational therapist (NCTRC Job Analysis and ATRA Guidelines) Four Educational Goals for the curriculum: develop foundational knowledge for professional practice. develop professional skills to practice in service delivery. develop the ability to organize professional services for clients. acquire the skills necessary to participate as a practicing professional in the advancement of the profession.

32 What the RT Curriculum Already Had… Established curriculum that fostered the “ideal” of engagement Portfolio process that encouraged student synthesis of learning prior to completing their senior clinical internship Senior clinical internship was a capstone experience that allowed engagement and synthesis for a full semester of practice in an actual recreational therapy entry-level apprenticeship in a health care agency

33 RT “Gaps” Lack of a clear admission process and higher academic standardsLack of a clear admission process and higher academic standards ADDED: 2.5 min. GPA to enter/stay in program and admission assessment, strategic plan, and reflective essayADDED: 2.5 min. GPA to enter/stay in program and admission assessment, strategic plan, and reflective essay Advising process to guide students in career development not just course completionAdvising process to guide students in career development not just course completion Surveyed all students on adequacy of advisingSurveyed all students on adequacy of advising Electronic Briefcase to be added in 2009Electronic Briefcase to be added in 2009

34 RT “Gaps” Curriculum structure and sequencingCurriculum structure and sequencing Not enough opportunity for engagement in RT practiceNot enough opportunity for engagement in RT practice Did we have the right courses in the right sequence?Did we have the right courses in the right sequence? Developing a plan for curriculum evaluation and revisionDeveloping a plan for curriculum evaluation and revision Co-curricular opportunities for engagementCo-curricular opportunities for engagement EXTREMELY limited practice sites in Western NCEXTREMELY limited practice sites in Western NC Had to begin to develop our own opportunitiesHad to begin to develop our own opportunities Using the student Recreational Therapy Association as one vehicleUsing the student Recreational Therapy Association as one vehicle

35 WCU RT Content Courses RTH 200 Foundations of Rec TherapyRTH 200 Foundations of Rec Therapy RTH 350 Rec Therapy for Persons with Physical DisabilitiesRTH 350 Rec Therapy for Persons with Physical Disabilities RTH 351 Client Assessment in RTRTH 351 Client Assessment in RT RTH 352 RT Processes & TechniquesRTH 352 RT Processes & Techniques RTH 360 RT for Older AdultsRTH 360 RT for Older Adults RTH 395 Pre-Intern SeminarRTH 395 Pre-Intern Seminar RTH 400 RT for Rehabilitation PatientsRTH 400 RT for Rehabilitation Patients RTH 417 Administration of RT ServicesRTH 417 Administration of RT Services RTH 450 Advanced Methods of RTRTH 450 Advanced Methods of RT RTH 470 Adventure Based RTRTH 470 Adventure Based RT RTH 484 and 485 Clinical Internship inRTH 484 and 485 Clinical Internship in

36 Quality RT Curriculum Will involve continuous quality improvement techniques to refine and improve the curriculumWill involve continuous quality improvement techniques to refine and improve the curriculum Faculty are a key element in the processFaculty are a key element in the process Advising has to include career exploration, planning, and monitoring student learning goals and outcomesAdvising has to include career exploration, planning, and monitoring student learning goals and outcomes Integration of instruction and learning activities in all experiences throughout the curriculumIntegration of instruction and learning activities in all experiences throughout the curriculum

37 What’s next? Relationship between our professional accreditation standards and a quality enhancement plan Interdisciplinary specialties Pediatrics Behavioral health Adventure based therapy International and Global Opportunities Faculty and undergraduate student research

38 Conclusions In essence, I really believe it is simply a paradigm shift from an educator- centered model to a learning- centered model with emphasis on student synthesis and engagement rather than faculty teaching

39 A Shift from a Teaching Model to a Learning Model Teaching Paradigm often focuses on the quantity and quality of transmitting information Many classroom professors are searching for effective ways to change from a transmission mode of instruction to a focus on improving the learning and mastery of content by students. Learning Paradigm focuses on the efficiency and effectiveness of the learning process regarding “What do students know and understand?” “What can they do with the new information?”

40 Conclusions In summary, we all have a unique opportunity to be central with the missions of our universities Engaging the RT curriculum within the QEP of our universities will foster improvements and quality enhancements It is time we become innovators in education and focus on the learning of our students and the enhancement of practitioner knowledge skills and abilities for the practice of recreational therapy

41 Questions


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