University News

WNE's Occupational Therapy Program Recognized Among the BEST Graduate Schools by U.S. News & World Report

Published: April 09, 2024 | Categories: Pharmacy and Health Sciences, All News
Occupational Therapy students working on patients in the Bear Paw Center.

Western New England University (WNE) proudly announces that its Occupational Therapy program has been named one of the BEST Graduate Schools in the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report. This prestigious recognition underscores the program's commitment to excellence and its standing among peer academic leaders in the field of occupational therapy.

The U.S. News & World Report's rankings are highly regarded and are based solely on surveys of peer academic leaders. Experts and leaders within the occupational therapy field provide their insights and evaluations, considering various factors such as program quality, faculty expertise, research opportunities, and overall reputation within the academic community.

WNE's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Occupational Therapy program, ranked at 105 of 263, demonstrates the program's high regard among peer academic leaders within the occupational therapy field. This recognition not only highlights the strength of the Occupational Therapy program but also strengthens the University's overall reputation as a leader in higher education.

Dr. John Pezzuto, Dean of WNE's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, stated "As a relatively new program, we appreciate this peer recognition and proudly note we already have reached a ranking of fourth among the 11 programs in the Commonwealth offering the entry-level OT doctorate. Moreover, having worked with the OT team over the past several years, I can say without equivocation the program is as good as the best. The esprit de corps of this group is contagious. The faculty, staff, and students are all extraordinary."

Established in 2017, the Occupational Therapy program at Western New England University has quickly risen to prominence. Spearheading innovation in the field, the program offers a distinctive emphasis on experiential education, including five semesters of level one fieldwork and the student-operated pro bono clinic, the BEAR PAW Center. From the first semester, students engage with clients of all ages, ensuring they are well-prepared for fieldwork by the sixth semester. Additionally, the program's doctoral experiential capstone projects consistently yield outstanding outcomes, with students presenting and publishing peer-reviewed work, both within and beyond the occupational therapy landscape.

Dr. Maria Toyoda, Senior Vice President and Provost at Western New England University, remarked, "Being recognized among the BEST Graduate Schools by U.S. News & World Report is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our faculty, staff, and students within the Occupational Therapy program. This achievement reflects our ongoing commitment to providing a top-notch education that prepares our students for successful careers in healthcare."

Reflecting on the program's success, Chair of the WNE OT Department Dr. Brittany Adams highlighted the faculty's passion for the profession and their active engagement in partnerships and collaborations with institutions nationwide. She emphasized the program's commitment to fostering collegiality and camaraderie among faculty and students, which has contributed significantly to its recognition by U.S. News & World Report.

Western New England University continues to enhance the Occupational Therapy program's excellence through ongoing initiatives. Plans include the launch of a distance learning cohort and the expansion of the BEAR PAW Center to offer telehealth services in 2025. These endeavors aim to further solidify the program's position as a trailblazer in occupational therapy education.