Credentials Display

Carole K. Ivey, PhD, OTR/L; Jodi L. Teitelman, PhD; Kelli W. Gary, PhD, MPH, OTR/L; Dianne F. Simons, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA; Jayne T. Shepherd, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA; Albert E. Copolillo, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA


Occupational therapy faculty currently face enormous challenges in meeting teaching load expectations, while also under pressure to participate in scholarly projects and to make administrative and service contributions. Community engagement projects may provide opportunities for faculty to effectively and efficiently meet the goals in each of these areas while imparting benefits to students and community partners as well. Faculty at the Department of Occupational Therapy (OT) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) embraced this idea as consistent with the university’s mission and strategic plan, and recognized its benefits in assisting faculty to meet workload demands. Four community partnerships reflecting the range and diversity of populations currently involved are highlighted: the Children’s Museum of Richmond, Rebuilding Together-Richmond, the William Nelson Bland Literacy Center, and Gateway Homes of Richmond. The developmental process and resulting benefits are described for each of these partnerships, and the paper concludes with lessons learned from these collaborative efforts. From these examples, it appears important to be proactive about developing community partnerships and realistic about the challenges of collaboration, but also to be aware of the role community engagement plays in creatively blending the potentially conflicting demands on faculty time.