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Brenau program receives accreditation

NORCROSS -- The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association has fully accredited the five-year occupational therapy program at Brenau University's North Atlanta campus in Norcross.

The accreditation is good for four years, at which time it will go through the same periodic review as the university's core occupational therapy program that is based on its Gainesville campus, according to a news release.

"We are very pleased with the accrediting board's action," said Barbara Schell, chair of the occupational therapy department at Brenau. "We are very proud of our students, our faculty and the support we receive from our occupational therapy colleagues in the field, all of whom make up our community of learning."

Although occupational therapy celebrated its 10th anniversary at Brenau last year, the program on the Atlanta campus is a relatively new addition. The program there started last summer with 24 students and began a second cohort this term with another full complement of 24 students. Interviews are being scheduled for open spots in the program for the next academic year.

The 16-hour-per-semester program on the Gainesville campus has been accredited since its inception, but the recent ACOTE action marks the first time that the 13-semester-hour Atlanta program, which caters primarily to students who work full time and need to attend classes in the evenings and on weekends, has been fully sanctioned, the news release states.

Occupational therapy is based on the premise that people can be helped to participate in life by careful attention to both the ways they do activities and the places they do them. Occupational therapists draw from the fields of medicine, psychology, sociology, anthropology, ethnography, architecture and many other disciplines in working with individuals to help them live healthier, more fulfilling lives by learning and relearning everyday tasks and coping skills.

The 10-year-old dual degree Brenau program, in which graduates can earn both bachelor of science and master of science degrees in five years, was created before a master's degree was required for individual licensing in occupational therapy. It was the first master's degree offered at Brenau.