POTSDAM -- Clarkson University is preparing a new master’s-degree program in occupational therapy and has hired a director to get it up and running.
Rondalyn V. Whitney has been appointed director and founding chair of the proposed occupational therapy program and associate professor of occupational therapy at Clarkson.
The university says it is submitting the necessary applications to the New York State Education Department and the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.
The graduate program will be designed to take advantage of Clarkson's existing relationships with regional health care and educational facilities, and other innovative settings, the press release from the university says.
Whitney has been assistant professor and interim director of the occupational therapy doctoral program at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Pa.
Occupational therapists help people of all ages participate in the things they want and need to do through therapies for everyday activities (occupations).
Clarkson's proposed program awarding a master of science degree in occupational therapy will complement the university's doctoral program in physical therapy and master’s degree program for physician assistants and will be housed in the same facility, Clarkson Hall, on Clarkson's downtown campus.
“This proposed offering makes sense because we have the facilities to provide training in this ever-growing field and Rondalyn Whitney has the extensive academic, clinical and hands-on business experience to make it work,” said Clarkson President Tony Collins.
“The University has excellent working relationships with our regional health care providers and educators, and the graduates of this new program will join the other medical professionals with Clarkson degrees filling a growing need in the North Country and beyond,” Collins said.
Dr. Whitney has extensive academic, clinical and hands-on business experience, serving in several research and administrative positions. From 1999-2005, she was founding principal and clinical director of The Lighthouse Project Occupational Therapy Clinic, where she was a pioneer in developing thematically based social skills interventions through a high-interest camp model.
She has taught academic and clinical courses in several settings.
Her research focuses on maternal stress and quality of life issues for families with children with disabilities and the use of telehealth to reduce geographic and socioeconomic barriers to health care.
Whitney is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association Roster of Fellows, one of the highest honors of her profession.
This summer, Whitney received a grant from the Samson Foundation, which funded a trip to Japan to present her research to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. One of her research students, who also presented there, was the first student from the University of Sciences to ever present at the world conference.
Whitney has been active in community service and has made many professional presentations at conferences and invited seminars. She is also the co-editor of the first and only occupational therapy textbook on writing, The Writer’s Toolkit.
She received her bachelor of arts degree in behavioral psychology from Marshall University in West Virginia, her master of occupational therapy degree from Samuel Merritt College in Oakland, Calif., and her Ph.D. in international health sciences from Trident University International.
Whitney is a licensed occupational therapist in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and holds certifications in several areas of advanced practice.
The Clarkson press release points people to a report in U.S. News on occupational therapy as a “best job,” at http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/occupational-therapist.