Location: Indiana, United States

I became a Professor Emeritus after serving 29 years as a recreational therapy faculty member at Indiana University. I'm a long-time Hoosier, having grown up in Hanover, Indiana. My RT practitioner work was in psych/mental health. After completing my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, my first faculty position was at the University of North Texas. RT has been a wonderful profession for me as I have had the opportunity to serve as an author and national leader.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Concern for University RT Programs

Is anyone else concerned about the state of university RT programs? It seems to me that there are a great many concerns that face us in higher education today.

First, there are several states with only one university with an RT/TR professional prep program. I think this is true for Minnesota and Georgia. I recently read that Florida International's program could be closed. If FIU's program is closed, how many university programs would remain in Florida? The point is that RTs must begin to examine what is going on in their states in terms of higher education and take steps to support university programs. We cannot afford to lose any more quality RT/TR professional preparation programs.

Second, RT/TR curricula need to be strengthened considerably. There is hope that this summer's curriculum conference will produce some positive changes. Let's hope so because large changes are needed to bring RT/TR curricula up to the point where they should be.

Third, and perhaps of the greatest concern, is what is going on with university Ph.D. programs in RT/TR. How many are there today? Over the years we have lost Ph.D. programs at major R1 institutions such as Illinois, Maryland, Florida, Minnesota, and Oregon. This leaves only 4 or 5 Ph.D. programs in our entire country! In the Big Ten, only Indiana and Penn State offer Ph.D. programs. I would go so far as to state that we have a crisis because not enough Ph.D.s are being prepared today. Without adequate numbers of well prepared RT/TR faculty who will do the teaching, research, and scholarship for RT?

I hope both educators and practitioners are alarmed at our current situation in higher education today. And I would call on ATRA Chapters and ATRA to take the lead to address the dire situation. What do you think? Are you also concerned?


Blogger Danny Pettry said...

Marshall University (Huntington, West Virginia) closed their Therapeutic Recreation degree program around 2004.

I think West Virginia University (Morgantown, W.Va.) had a TR degree program at one time.

Three colleges in West Virginia have TR degree programs today:

1. West Virginia State University (Institute, W.Va.)

2. Shepard University (Shepard, W.Va.); and

3. Alderson-Broaddus College (Phillipi, W.Va.)

I do find it surprising that the two largest schools in the state, WVU and Marshall no longer have TR programs.

Many hospitals in West Virginia want to hire a recreational therapist with the CTRS credential. Unfortunately, there aren’t many people in the area who have the credential.

We have eight full-time recreational therapists and one part-time recreational therapist at our facility. I’m the only one who has certification to practice out of the nine.

11:02 PM  

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