Our Department

Vision, Mission and Philosophy

CSU-OT is a magnet that attracts and grows future leaders of occupational therapy in the state, nation and world through exemplary integrated programs of education, research and community outreach and service that meet real world occupational needs.


The Occupational Therapy Department exists to optimize human performance and participation in every day occupations and contexts across the lifespan.

Philosophy of Occupational Therapy

OT Philosophy

Occupational therapy optimizes the ability of people to perform the activities that they need and want to do each day and thereby participate fully in society. The study of human performance and participation in everyday occupations across the lifespan thus comprises the core subject of our two entry-level professional programs—the Master of Occupational Therapy (M.OT) and the Master of Science (M.S.)—as well as our new Ph.D. in Occupation and Rehabilitation Science. Shared attention to human performance and occupational participation also links our faculty’s respective programs of research and community outreach and service.

Our focus on human performance encompasses attention to discrete performance capacities and their relationships to task-oriented functional behavior. Our focus on everyday occupations addresses daily activities that people do on a recurring basis while engaged in diverse life pursuits and social roles. From birth through old age, everyday occupations can both support and disrupt routine, meaning and purpose in daily life; they can also both favorably and unfavorably influence health and well-being. Everyday contexts are daily living settings like schools, homes, workplaces or neighborhoods. Ultimately, the need to participate in everyday occupations is so integral to what it means to be human that we believe that people are, in essence, occupational beings.

Interdisciplinary perspectives and collaborations are essential to building new knowledge of human performance and occupational participation and to applying that knowledge to help people who face daily living challenges. In our educational, research, outreach and service endeavors, we are thus committed to growing interdisciplinary collaborations and to integrating scholarship from related health disciplines, the social and biological sciences, and the humanities.

We are particularly interested in integrating the perspectives of occupational science and rehabilitation science, each of which makes substantive contributions to understanding human performance and occupational participation. With its focus on the study of occupation, occupational science helps to explain how participation in everyday occupations and contexts influences meaning and purpose in life, as well as health and well-being. With its focus on performance mainly at the task level, rehabilitation science helps to explain relationships among bodily structures and functions, environmental factors and how individuals with impairments can perform specific tasks. Integration of knowledge from these two sciences, as well as other relevant disciplines, creates new perspectives that can guide practitioners and scientists alike who are dedicated to understanding the complex transactions that occur among performance components and capacities, contextual factors, and participation in everyday occupations.