Why The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga?

The Occupational Therapy Program is located in the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies (CHEPS). Our history as well as our mission & vision statements provides a broader picture of who we are.

History of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

When the Methodist Episcopal Church began to explore the possibilities of developing a central university in the South, Chattanoogans came forward to work with the church in this effort. Since its founding as Chattanooga University in 1886, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has developed an institutional excellence, which rests on an unusual blend of the private and public traditions of American education.


For 83 years the University was a private school. Three years after its founding, the University was consolidated with another church-related school, East Tennessee Wesleyan University at Athens, under the name of Grant University. In 1907 the name University of Chattanooga was adopted.


In 1969 the University of Chattanooga and a junior college, Chattanooga City College, merged with The University of Tennessee, one of the oldest land-grant universities in the nation, to form the UTC campus. Pledged to the service of the entire state, The University of Tennessee has emerged as a statewide system consisting of four primary campuses. The new campus was given the mandate to devote the major portion of its resources to the development of excellence in undergraduate education and in selected areas of graduate study.

History of the College of Health Education and Professional Studies

The College of Health, Education and Professional Studies was created in the spring of 2003 when the campus administration eliminated the College of Health and Human Services and moved the programs in the School of Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Social Work into the then College of Education and Applied Professional Studies.


In the fall of 2003, a Reorganizational Task Force was appointed by the Dean to review the new administrative structure, to consider an appropriate name for the new college, and to revise the mission and vision statement. The result was a new name: the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies, and new vision and mission statements more reflective of the expanded professional program constituency.

The College is now home to all professional education programs and all health sciences programs that can be completed at UTC. The seven departments in the College are: Health and Human Performance, Interior Design, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, the School of Education, the School of Nursing, and Social Work. The College had over 2800 undergraduate students and over 700 graduate students as of fall 2011.

Five doctoral programs are now available in the College: Doctor of Nursing Practice, D.N.P.; Learning and Leadership, Ed.D. and Ph.D.; Occupational Therapy Doctorate, O.T.D., and Doctor of Physical Therapy, D.P.T.


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Vision, Mission, Core Values


The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will be recognized as a premiere metropolitan university, known for its outstanding undergraduate and graduate academic programs, scholarly and creative achievements, diversity and inclusiveness, and critical partnerships that take advantage of our setting to provide solutions to global concerns.



The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is an engaged, metropolitan university committed to excellence in teaching, research, and service, and dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of the region through strategic partnerships and community involvement.

College of Health, Education and Professional Studies


Faculty and staff in the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies (CHEPS) work collaboratively to connect high quality student learning to the unique research and service opportunities of a metropolitan university.


The College of Health, Education and Professional Studies prepares liberally educated, technologically efficient scholars and practitioners for life in a global society. The College is committed to:

  • Enhancing the bodies of knowledge in each of its disciplines
  • Promoting the values and ethics of a truth-seeking, caring community
  • Serving diverse populations by providing family and social service experts, health and lifestyle professionals, leaders, and teachers for the 21st century.

Occupational Therapy Program


The Occupational Therapy Department will be recognized as a premiere department that attracts and grows leaders of occupational therapy in the state, nation and world through exemplary integrated programs of education, practice, research, community service, and advocacy that meet real world occupational needs.

Mission Statement

The Occupational Therapy Department’s mission is three-fold:

  1. to provide doctoral-level education enabling students to integrate occupational therapy theory, practice and research;

  2. to foster faculty and student research on therapeutic occupation; and

  3. to develop leaders and advocates for society’s occupational needs.

The Goals and Outcomes of the OTD Program

The goals and outcomes for the UTC OTD program are in compliance with the standards of the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). The rapidly changing and dynamic nature of contemporary health and human services delivery systems provides challenging opportunities for the occupational therapist to use knowledge and skills in practice areas such as a direct care provider, consultant, educator, manager, leader, researcher, and advocate for the profession and the consumer. The OTD program goals and outcomes are also congruent with UTC’s Strategic Initiatives; successful achievement of all goals will require partnerships outside of the University and with diverse collaborators.


A graduate from UTC and an ACOTE-accredited doctoral degree-level program must:

  • Have acquired, as a foundation for professional study, a breadth and depth of knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences and an understanding of issues related to diversity.
  • Be educated as a generalist with a broad exposure to the delivery models and systems used in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service.
  • Have achieved entry-level competence through a combination of academic and fieldwork education.
  • Be prepared to articulate and apply occupational therapy theory and evidence-based evaluations and interventions to achieve expected outcomes as related to occupation.
  • Be prepared to be a lifelong learner and keep current with evidence-based professional practice.
  • Uphold the ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession.
  • Understand the distinct roles and responsibilities of the occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant in the supervisory process.
  • Be prepared to advocate as a professional for the occupational therapy services offered and for the recipients of those services.
  • Be prepared to be an effective consumer of the latest research and knowledge bases that support practice and contribute to the growth and dissemination of research and knowledge.
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of delivery models, policies and systems related to the area of practice in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service.
  • Demonstrate thorough knowledge of evidence-based practice.
  • Demonstrate active involvement in professional development, leadership and advocacy.

Objectives of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

The expected learning outcomes for the proposed OTD program align with the doctoral level outcomes developed by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and are listed below.


  1. Evidence-based practice (EBP): Graduates will be able to apply, evaluate and synthesize evidence-based practice to create a specific program and/or intervention to promote efficacious, client-centered, and culturally relevant practice.
  2. Occupational therapy theory: Graduates will be able to use knowledge of current theoretical and practice models to articulate and improve service provision and/or policies in response to society’s evolving and changing occupational needs.
  3. Advocacy: Graduates will be able to influence policy, practice, and education by being advocates for occupational therapy for individuals, populations, organizations, and for the profession.
  4. Leadership: Graduates will demonstrate leadership skills through the assumption of leadership roles at local, national, and/or international levels within the occupational therapy profession and broader health arenas.
  5. Education: Graduates will be able to develop and implement educational experiences for professional education, specific clients, populations, settings, and/or the general public through the application of learning theory and educational design principles.
  6. Occupational justice: Graduates will be able to address individual, institutional, and societal issues in health and with marginalized populations in order to promote occupational justice.
  7. Research: Graduates will be able to increase the body of knowledge in occupational therapy practice through the preparation and dissemination of scholarship in the student’s chosen area of emphasis.



The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).  

Effective December 16, 2019, the AOTA office address will be: 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929 (previously 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814).

ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is https://www.aota.org/Education-Careers/Accreditation.aspx .

Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.