Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science

Lecturer: Dr Ruth Usher
Department: Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science.
Module: OT1001 Person-Environment-Occupation and others.


Integration of GCDE

To identify opportunities within current modules in occupational therapy degree programme to introduce a human rights perspective and global citizenship approach by firstly focusing on OT1001 Person-Environment-Occupation. Following liaison with colleagues, consider further opportunities to develop and adjust the teaching agenda and course content and incorporate this approach into teaching and learning across curriculum.

These could be further developed in the next module OT1002 which aims for students to develop an understanding of how differing elements of social, cultural, economic, political and physical environments affect occupational performance. It also aims to initiate the development of their skills in analysing and modifying environments, to promote participation in occupation.

In Years 3 and 4, PEO modules explicitly address cultural competency, cultural humility and cultural safety. Students may have deeper engagement with this content in later years if they are exposed to ideas earlier in their education.


Staff and Department

Map examples across the curriculum to identify how we are already engaged with this work and recognise where we can consciously improve or progress this work.

Identify opportunities to introduce to basic GCDE themes, theories, skills and values, as they relate to occupational therapy and occupational science.

Issues of occupational and global justice will be explicitly articulated and integrated in the pedagogy, projects, practice, and research of the department.

A continued cross-module approach to occupational justice and GCDE issues, and exploration for potential cross-curricular work.


Opportunity to undertake the digital badge in GCDE

Enhance lecturers’ critical consciousness in teaching and research as this project may involve the critique of occupational therapy philosophies, the reworking of pedagogies or even personal value systems. The vulnerability of questioning one’s worldview may lead to defensiveness or resistance thus it will require time, supports, and leadership.



Praxis plan

Usher, Ruth_case-study-Praxis-Plan (PDF opens in a new tab/window)



Dr Ruth Usher

Ruth Usher is a lecturer in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy in the School of Clinical Therapies, UCC. She previously worked as a clinical specialist occupational therapist in care of older adults and as an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Trinity College, teaching on a degree programme in Singapore. Her primary research interest is in gerontology.

Her PhD research specifically focuses on the role of occupational therapy in assessing and supporting older adults’ decision-making capacity. Ruth also holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education from UCC. She has an interest in occupational justice issues and in teaching students how engagement in occupation impacts health and well-being, she encourages them to consider activity limitations and participation restriction due to socio-cultural, economic and political barriers.

She aims to introduce Global Citizenship and Development Education (GCDE) praxis into existing teaching on occupational justice issues and to draw from a diversity of cultural perspectives in order to foster critical reflexivity, cultural safety, and social accountability.


The Centre for Global Development
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