Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Patrick M. Jenlink

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Brinkerhoff

Third Advisor

Dr. Crystal Lange


This was a descriptive study of a curriculum development process for occupational therapy at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. A four-stage process was designed and documented. These stages included: (1) feasibility , (2) curriculum design and development, (3) review and evaluation-validation for each component, and (4 ) implementation stage.

The study was conducted to develop a curriculum development process that was academically appropriate for occupational therapy programs for institutions of higher education and which met identified needs as set forth by the feasibility study and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), Division of Education. Further, the study undertook to valid ate the model process developed and to establish a documented process that other institutions of higher education could use to develop a similar AOTA recognized occupational therapy program.

Stage 1 data included survey data from employers, college students, and high school students. Analysis of data indicated a high level of support for an occupational therapy program. Stage 2, curriculum development, utilized an analysis of three sets of data which included: (1) AOTA (1991a) Essential Elements for curriculum, (2) curriculum program documents and materials from sister institutions offering occupational therapy programs, and (3) assessment of curricular content of the site institution . Stage 3, the validation study, incorporated: (a) Joint Committee (1981) Standards for Program Evaluation in an evaluation of the curriculum program and (b) an external and internal review process. Stage 4, the implementation phase, was initiated during the study. This stage is based on findings and review of prior components in the process. Descriptive data during the in initial steps of implementation are recognized and discussed. The curriculum development process is viewed as a sequential course of events regulated by a systematic method of formative and summative review and evaluation, internally and externally.

The findings from this study indicate that the curriculum development and validation process for an occupational therapy program are academically appropriate for institutions of higher education. It is indicated that the curriculum development process undertaken in this study will facilitate accountability in the development and implementation of new educational programs in occupational therapy within institutions of higher education.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access