This course enables students to plan their capstone project, a comprehensive experience that is based on the eight pillars of the doctoral experience: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development. The capstone project is an immersive learning experience that can focus on such topics as clinical practice, research, administration, leadership, program development or evaluation, advocacy, policy development, education, or theory development, among others, and may include a service learning component. It will incorporate principles of evidence-based and occupation-based practice, by having students address a specific healthcare problem or health outcome and implement practice changes that improve health care, health care delivery, or health-related outcomes. The project is a scholarly experience guided by an expert advisor that provides evidence of critical thinking, problem identification, proposal development, implementation, and evaluation. Capstone projects may take a number of forms, but the final product provides evidence of scholarship and mastery in the field of occupational therapy which may include a service learning component, which is “a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities” (National Service Learning Clearinghouse
). Once the capstone topic is approved, students will be assigned to a capstone advisor, who will guide the student through the completion of the capstone project. Students will expound upon a topic, search the literature, and prepare a proposal. Service learning is highly encouraged, when applicable, to translate knowledge to communities and provide a more meaningful educational experience to students. Projects requiring IRB approval should follow the procedures for application. The assigned advisor will guide the student through the completion of the capstone project.
This course focuses on the development of the skills needed by occupational therapists to fulfill their role as doctoring professionals. It is the culmination of knowledge and skills obtained through the curriculum and planning of implementation of the capstone project in the field of occupational therapy. Service learning components of the course allow students to engage community-based partners during implementation of the capstone.