Founding Program Director for Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

April 3, 2020
Priority Deadline to Apply:
May 15, 2020
Pacific Northwest University

Position Description

Pacific Northwest University, in partnership with the national search firm Scott Healy & Associates, invites applications and nominations for the full-time Founding Program Director for Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Program.  The OTD Program director reports directly to the Provost and is granted authority to hire personnel within the guidelines set forth by the Board, terminate and recommend for promotion all personnel under authority of the OTD program director.  The Program Director of the OTD program will be responsible for developing this innovative program, including crafting the program’s mission, vision, goals, and strategic plans in alignment with those of the University.  The Director will oversee curricular development and implementation, applications for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), and will select a team of outstanding faculty for this collaborative, interprofessional school.

Not only will this founding director collaborate with faculty and administrators in the current College of Osteopathic Medicine, but also will interact closely with the founding director of PNWU’s Physical Therapy Doctorate Program. Together, these founding directors will assist with the design of teaching and research areas in a newly constructed, flexible learning space building, and ultimately form cohesive programs that expand the University’s mission-driven approach to providing quality health care in medically underserved areas of the Northwest.

The Program Director will:

  • Manage and administer the OTD program, including planning, evaluation, budgeting, selection of faculty and staff, maintenance of accreditation, and commitment to strategies for professional development;
  • Participate in the development or refinement of the mission, vision and goals, and strategic plans for the OTD program that is consistent with that of the University;
  • Establish and maintain the OTD academic programs by overseeing curricular development, delivery, and evaluation processes and procedures, as well as teaching within the developed curriculum;
  • Participate in the recruitment, selection, management, and evaluation of a team of outstanding faculty and other staff who are appropriately experienced in higher education and/or occupational therapy;
  • Oversee OTD faculty policy and procedures;
  • Conduct budget preparation and management of the OTD program, in collaboration with the Chief Financial Officer and Operations Officer;
  • Oversee the preparation of materials and documentation required for accreditation of the OTD program by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and adhere to policies and procedures to meet or exceed these standards;
  • Assist Deans and Program Directors of the various colleges and programs in promoting interprofessional scholarly activities and learning opportunities in fulfillment of the mission of the University and its programs;
  • Coordinate and support the development of affiliation agreements with health care institutions in order to provide clinical education opportunities;
  • Represent PNWU at local, regional, and national professional activities;
  • With approval of the Provost, appoint and delegate authority and/or responsibility to other Faculty and Administrative Staff who shall assume responsibility for various activities in the program;
  • Make recommendations to the Provost related to academic policies of the OTD program;
  • Participate as a member of the University’s Executive Team;
  • Be an ad hoc member of all committees associated with the OTD program;
  • Understand accreditation standards and expectations specific to the program and adhere to policies and procedures to meet or exceed such standards;
  • Conduct self appropriately and consistently in accordance with the philosophy and mission of PNWU;
  • Other Duties as assigned.


The ideal candidate should have/be:

  • Certified occupational therapist who is licensed or eligible for licensure in Washington State;
  • Earned a doctoral degree awarded by an institution that is accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).  The doctoral degree is not limited to a doctorate in occupational therapy and thus could be another doctoral degree such as a PhD or an EdD;
  • A minimum of eight years of documented experience in the field of occupational therapy including the following:
    • Clinical practice as an occupational therapist
    • Administrative experience including, but not limited to program planning and implementation, personnel management, evaluation, and budgeting
    • Scholarship (e.g. scholarship of application, teaching, or learning)
    • At least 3 years of experience in a full-time academic appointment with teaching responsibilities at the postbaccalaureate level;
    • Demonstrated academic leadership abilities, such as having been a senior faculty member, department chair, or program director in an OT Program;
    • Previous experience in the accreditation process through ACOTE;
  • Demonstrated academic leadership abilities, such as having been a senior faculty member, department chair, or program director in an OT Program;
  • Previous experience in the accreditation process through ACOTE;
  • Demonstrated understanding of the operations and finances of an OT Program;
  • Demonstrated support for enhancing scholarly activity within an OT Program;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; ability to foster and develop relationships and build consensus with the faculty and staff, as well as with local, regional and national healthcare communities;
  • Demonstrated commitment to excellence and innovation in occupational therapy education and health care delivery;
  • Demonstrated commitment to rural and underserved communities.

About The Institution

Pacific Northwest University:

In 2004, physicians and community leaders throughout the Northwest raised the awareness and resources to build a health sciences university, beginning with an osteopathic medical college. At the time of its founding in 2005, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (PNWU-COM) was only the third medical school in the five-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, and was the Northwest’s newest medical school in 60 years. PNWU-COM welcomed its first class of 70 medical school students into Butler-Haney Hall in 2008 and graduated them in 2012. 

PNWU has built a Recruit-Educate-Return model to help address a significant shortage of health care professionals in the Northwest. PNWU emphasizes recruitment of students from rural or medically underserved locations and educates students in such areas with the intended outcome of graduates returning to practice in those or similar communities. As of October 2017, the COM has graduated 488 physicians and of those who have completed residency and reported their practice status, over 80 percent are in the Northwest, and 57 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas.

Since opening its doors in 2008, PNWU has experienced tremendous growth. The Cadwell Student Center was added to the campus in 2011. Butler-Haney Hall, the flagship building, received a major addition in 2012 that includes a 400-person occupancy auditorium, faculty and staff offices, and a café area for students. The University Conference Center was completed in 2015; the Iron Horse Lodge was purchased in 2016; and additional land parcels have been purchased for future campus growth, increasing the campus from 43 to 70 acres. In 2019, construction was completed on Project NEXT, a 35,000-square-foot state-of-the-art medical training facility, ensuring that its students have all of the resources necessary to continue working toward its vision of continually improving the availability and quality of healthcare for those it serves. The cutting-edge space helps to open the door for the addition of new health sciences programs in Yakima. PNWU has also established 17 core rotation sites in communities around the Northwest. Hospitals and clinics in the region have welcomed PNWU-COM students, training them in the clinical settings where many will eventually practice.

Beyond offering the Osteopathic Medicine program (and in alignment with the PNWU 2014-2020 Strategic Plan), PNWU has engaged in collaborations with Washington State University (WSU) Schools of Pharmacy and Nursing, and Heritage University’s (HU) Physician Assistant (PA) and Master of Arts in Medical Science (MAMS) programs to provide interprofessional education to students from each program.

Institutional Values:

Mission Driven – Committed to create, sustain, and improve quality educational programs specifically for rural and medically underserved communities
Collaborative – Working together with thoughtful actions, efforts, and concerns to meet each opportunity, issue, or challenge presented
Compassionate – Every individual is respected and treated with consideration, kindness, and understanding
Genuine – Real people providing real solutions which have direct impact on community health, resources, and outcomes
Student Focused - Unwavering support for every student empowers all to realize their full potential
Healthy – At PNWU, you’ll learn what it means to be part of a healthy community, and how you thrive by being part of it

About The Community

The Yakima, WA, Community:

Application Process

All correspondence relating to the position of Founding Program Director for Occupational Therapy Program at Pacific Northwest University should be directed in confidence to the University’s executive recruitment consultant: 

Mr. Christopher S. Healy, Vice President
Scott Healy & Associates

The full and complete application should contain the following information:

1) A cover letter outlining your experience as an occupational therapist in higher education.  Special attention will be paid to those applicants who have started, developed, and/or expanded a Masters or Doctoral program for OT.
2) A complete CV outlining your career in higher education and within health-related areas.
3) The names of three professional references including their relationship to you, their position, email, and direct phone numbers.  References will not be contacted without written permission.

Applications submitted by December 16, 2019, will receive priority consideration. This search will remain open until the position is filled.

The University shall not discriminate against faculty, staff, volunteers, students, or applicants on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, gender, religion, national origin, age, disabilities, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by law for any reason including recruitment, selection, and promotion.