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.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

An ATRA Priority Should be Higher Education

Reading the announcement from Professor Jo Ann Coco-Ripp on a poster session (titled "Share the Evidence")for the 2010 ATRA Annual Conference made me think about what else should happen at the ATRA Annual Conference.

One thing that must happen during the ATRA Conference is that time be devoted to advancing higher education. A real crisis now exists because we are down to so few graduate programs in R1 institutions(i.e., research universities). Today there exists a real shortage of universities with strong graduate preparation programs to produce Ph.D. prepared faculty and practitioners with master's degrees. Should we wish to move toward the M.S. degree as an entry-level degree (as we should!), the current lack of strong graduate programs will pose a real barrier.

The other area of immediate concern is getting universities to commit to adopting accreditation standards for RT. Well developed accreditation standards now exist but they will be meaningless unless universities adopt them. ATRA should be a place to brief faculty on accreditation standards and to have them return to their home institutions with a mandate to get their universities to adopt the standards.

Sure, ATRA has many concerns. But higher education must be moved toward the top of ATRA's concerns if the profession wishes to remain viable.


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