NewsSpring 2012

School of OT marks 25th anniversary

In 1987, the School of Occupational Therapy didn’t even exist. It was simply a department, housed in a single classroom in the basement of Lilly Science Hall. But in 1987, the first group of 15 students graduated from that small department, paving the way for 25 more years of graduates—so far. From Lilly Hall the fledgling department moved to Schwitzer Center, and then on to the second floor of Good Hall, where it stayed until Martin Hall was built in 1999. The class size grew from 15 students in 1987 to 54 in 2012. Students have participated in more than 5,000 fieldwork placements and completed more than 600 research projects. UIndy OT alumni now hail from 44 states and five countries.

Dr. Jenny Fogo ’85 ’87 received her undergraduate degree in social work from UIndy and went on to be part of the first graduating Master’s in OT class in 1987. She started teaching in the School of Occupational Therapy in 1993.

“As a student in that graduating class and now as director of the postprofessional programs in the College of Health Sciences, it’s fascinating to reflect on the many changes that have occurred in 25 years,” says Fogo. “The relationship you have here with the students is amazing. You don’t get that at larger institutions.”

Dr. Becky Barton also started teaching at UIndy in 1994, when the department had just moved to Good Hall.

“We just had two big classrooms,” she says, “and students had to peer around poles that were in the middle of the room! Now we have expanded rooms in Martin Hall that are designed to reflect what we are teaching.”

She also appreciates the easy collaboration between her colleagues in the School of Nursing and the Krannert School of Physical Therapy, who are also housed in Martin Hall.

“We’ve made strides in becoming more interdisciplinary with them,” says Barton. “We used to never see those folks, but now we pass them in the halls on a daily basis.”

Dr. Candace Beitman, who also joined the School of OT’s faculty in 1994, agrees with Barton.

“I have so much flexibility and so many opportunities here at UIndy that I just wouldn’t find elsewhere,” she says. “I like the people I work with, and I like the opportunities for service both in travel and in the community.”

As the equipment and classrooms have been upgraded throughout the years, so has the reputation for a top-quality program. “Through all the growth,” says Fogo, “one constant is that colleagues from across the country continue to express that UIndy OT students and graduates are exceptional. For that I am honored to have graduated from such a program and just as proud to continue to work for the School of Occupational Therapy.”

UIndy Alumni AOTA Conference Reception

Friday, April 27, 6:30–8 p.m. (Special recognition ceremony: 7 p.m.)
JW Marriott, Grand Ballroom #4
Network with other OTs who graduated from UIndy and visit with OT faculty and learn what’s new with the program!

UIndy OT 25-Year Celebration Open House

Saturday, April 28, 3:30–5:30 p.m.
Martin Hall, Home of the UIndy School of Occupational Therapy
Buses will run between the conference and campus, 3–6 p.m.

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