Occupational therapy/disability

Overview

The Occupational Therapy/Disability collaborative element is based on reciprocity and sharing of strengths in curriculum, research and partnerships across cultures and countries. 

Curriculum sharing includes: 

  • peer-to-peer learning in cultural competencies
  • use of daily activities/occupations to effect change across different environments and cultures
  • social justice
  • living with disability.

Innovative and digital technologies are used. Growth in research evidence and culture is facilitated through co-supervision of PhD students, collaborative projects across countries and partnerships with health, social and disability services. Targeted programs of international exchange involving academic staff and students enhance partnerships and help build networks of experience through buddying and skill building.

Activities and outcomes

The collaboration has provided opportunities for networking between Australian and Argentinian academics to discuss and identify potential opportunities for future collaboration related to occupational therapy and disability. The collaboration has not been led by one university, instead allowing all universities involved in the collaboration to have the opportunity to pursue projects according to their collaborative interests and needs. This approach has built ongoing collegial connections for future education and research benefits.

Networking

There has been reciprocity in the collaboration, with a positive, strengths approach to the profession and curricula across both countries. This has been reflected in the project overview and in the summary of projects identified by the collaborative group.  Opportunities for projects of mutual benefit continue to progress. This dynamic networking recognises the challenges experienced by staff changes, complexity of planning in relation to language requirements, and academic calendars that can enable or constrain future projects. Staffing shortfalls and changes have limited this being realised in the short term, but the good will remains to further this networking and connection into the future.

Partnership with industry

Opportunities for exchange have been developed and are still available, with goodwill and connections across all universities. There are possibilities for students to have an international exchange, experience or project in both countries eg. short term mobility experiences, city and rural opportunities remains viable, with future opportunities to be realised in coming years. Staff exchanges to work on special projects or research in both countries are also possible. To date, the complexities of language and staffing shortfalls have meant these partnerships have not been realised but they remain viable and desirable into the future.

Curriculum development

Strengths across both curricula were identified and shared, which has promoted a sense of the global strengths and capabilities in all institutions. Opportunities for innovation include:

  • educational modules on cultural awareness and competency eg. La Trobe’s virtual cross-cultural learning to improve cross-cultural competence and employability involving peer-to-peer learning
  • opportunities for peer learning with the diverse multicultural Western Sydney students
  • educational modules that build an understanding of social justice and occupational justice issues in each country
  • understanding the lives of people with disabilities in both countries.

Research collaboration and higher degrees

Opportunities for research collaboration remain but are yet to be realised in the short-term. Future projects could include:

  • research collaboration with joint projects across cohorts in both countries
  • post graduate education and course modules for students and staff
  • PhD supervision and research training with Australian academics as lead supervisor, with co-supervision in Argentina
  • PhD projects linked to industry eg. La Trobe Industry PhD, dementia research team at Western Sydney University.

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