Director of the School of Occupational Therapy

May 17, 2021
Priority Deadline to Apply:
June 30, 2021
Pacific University Oregon

Position Description

Pacific University Oregon, in partnership with the national search firm Scott Healy & Associates, invites applications and nominations for the full-time Director of the School of Occupational Therapy.  The University is seeking an innovative and visionary leader to continue the strong legacy of the School of Occupational Therapy.  The Director reports directly to the Interim Vice Provost and Executive Dean for the College of Health Professions.

The Director has overall responsibility for the leadership and management of the School.  They are its chief academic and budget officer and its representative on the CHP’s Deans and Directors Council and other University committees and groups. The Director also serves as a visible, engaged representative of the School and the University to the external community.  The ideal candidate will possess a deep understanding of occupational therapy education issues and trends and a working knowledge of the role of occupational therapy education relative to the other health professions represented in the CHP. The role requires a record of successful administrative leadership, resource development, and financial management experience. They will value student-centered, interprofessional and inquiry-based learning models.  The Director will value and support the faculty’s scholarly endeavors and encourage curriculum assessment and improvement.  They will be committed to fostering diversity and inclusivity on campus. 

The Position:  The Director provides intellectual and administrative leadership to the School of Occupational Therapy as its chief academic officer.  They have oversight over all personnel matters and, as its chief financial officer, ultimate responsibility for the School’s operating budget.  They will demonstrate the capacity to embrace the University’s historic mission of serving the underserved.  In addition, they will demonstrate a commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity.

The position requires a thorough understanding of contemporary occupational therapy education and practice issues, and trends on the national, regional and state levels.  The Director will have the opportunity to continue developing a more influential role for the School in the profession, capitalizing on the School’s strengths in education, occupational justice, and innovative practice. The School offers a solidly established OTD curriculum and was the 7th School in the nation to become accredited as entry-level doctoral program, with the inaugural class graduating in 2015. The Director can be expected to take on an ongoing transformational focus, advancing the strategic vision of the School to act as a visible, recognized leader in the occupational therapy education community.  The role requires experience with and a commitment to systematic planning, assessment and continuous programmatic improvement.  In collaboration with the faculty, the Director will help define the future of the School, articulating emerging needs and addressing challenges that require new thinking, including the possibility of adding new degree programs.

Key Responsibilities of the Director:

  • Work effectively with the School’s faculty and staff, inspiring their energy and creativity for the benefit of the entire enterprise and fostering a collaborative, team-building atmosphere among them;
  • Work with community representatives to assure that a sufficient number of clinical sites are identified in order to maximize the quality of clinical skills and fieldwork education and to satisfy accreditation requirements;
  • Value learner-centered, interprofessional and inquiry-based learning models.  They are responsible for fostering a unity of purpose and mission among faculty who bring different strengths to and have different roles in carrying out the School’s educational mission;
  • Value and support the School’s emerging research enterprise and foster faculty efforts to develop research agendas and secure grant funding;
  • Demonstrate their commitment to students and to the profession through their professional experience and/or service activities;
  • Understand and value providing leadership within a shared governance tradition;      
  • Serve as a visible and effective spokesperson for the School - they must be a collegial advocate for the School and able to work collaboratively with other deans and directors on interprofessional initiatives as well as other matters of mutual and general interest across the College and the University;
  • Represent the School, the College and University externally through participation in appropriate civic, service and professional organizations, and in relevant state and national venues;
  • Responsible for maintaining existing strong relationships within the profession and with relevant state agencies and professional associations - they will foster positive relationships with the School’s alumni and industry-based stakeholders;
  • Work in partnership with the University’s leadership to support fundraising efforts for the School’s and College’s priorities;
  • Demonstrate passion for and significant experience in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusivity; and
  • Possess the vision and the qualities of leadership required to advance an accomplished institution to a new level of achievement - they are joining a dedicated, learner-centered, congenial academic community, eager to welcome its next colleague and leader.


The ideal candidate is an accomplished, visionary leader with the ability and strong desire to lead Pacific University’s School of Occupational Therapy to the next level of achievement and prominence.  They have demonstrated an appreciation of and a deep commitment to the value of occupational therapy education and the profession.  They will have a genuine interest in – even a passion for – the University’s historic mission of serving the underserved.  An earned doctorate or equivalent terminal degree is required, as are credentials suitable for a tenured academic appointment at the rank of associate professor or full professor.  In addition, evidence of the following qualities is also desired:

  • The highest ethics and integrity, maturity, tact, diplomacy and judgment;
  • An awareness of current trends and issues in occupational therapy education, on the national, regional and state levels;
  • The ability to think and plan strategically, strong organizational skills, a record of successful fiscal management, and experience with and a commitment to assessment and continuous programmatic improvement;
  • The ability to navigate and be effective within a complex matrix organization that values collaboration and teamwork as well as individual initiative and creativity;
  • Senior level administrative experience, preferably in an educational setting, a collegial and open approach to administration and a commitment to a shared faculty governance tradition;
  • Successful experience launching new academic programs that build on an institution’s strengths and integrating them into an established organizational structure;
  • An understanding of the importance of enrollment management issues and experience initiating successful student recruitment and retention strategies;
  • The ability to foster inter-professional collaborations across CHP’s academic units and to identify and implement programmatic and research partnerships between the School and other College and University units as well as external institutions;
  • The ability to evaluate, mentor, coach, motivate, and inspire faculty and staff;
  • Skill in supporting and expanding peer review and mentoring of teaching skills and practices;
  • The capacity to represent the School and its mission effectively within CHP, the University and externally, including relevant national, regional and state entities;
  • A genuine interest in and talent for building positive relationships with the School’s alumni and industry-based stakeholders; and
  • The ability (in consultation with University leaders) to prepare and articulate the case for philanthropic support of the School and College.

About The Institution

The School of Occupational Therapy:
Pacific’s School of Occupational Therapy, one of eight schools that comprise the University’s College of Health Professions, was launched in 1984.  Its faculty and staff are committed to providing a professional curriculum that is learner-centered and guided by the view that the occupational therapist plays a critical role as a member of the interdisciplinary health care team.

The School offers an innovative graduate curriculum leading to the Doctor of Occupational therapy (OTD) degree.  The program is designed to provide students with didactic and fieldwork training opportunities to ensure their ability to adapt and meet the needs of the ever-changing healthcare field.  Graduates are prepared to improve the healthcare outcomes of a diverse population by providing competent and compassionate occupational therapy care. 

The student body is composed of three classes of 40 students.  Admission is competitive.  The School has been able to maintain a high quality student body, with an applicant pool of about 300 applicants annually.  Applicants for the class of 2023 numbered 318. Students have fieldwork experience opportunities starting in the summer of their first year of study. The third year of the program focuses on clinical experiences and online didactic coursework, thus students are not required to be on campus in the third year and can relocate in order to be near their clinical sites.  The final semester of the third year is devoted to advanced doctoral internship and capstone education.  In 2020, graduates achieved a pass rate of 100% on their national licensing examination.

The School employs a total of eleven core faculty (including the Director, who also has a faculty appointment, ten full-time core faculty, and one part-time core faculty), four part-time/adjunct faculty, and 2 full-time and 1 part-time staff.  The core faculty includes five PhD-trained faculty, one Masters-trained faculty, and five faculty who hold the OTD degree. One full-time core faculty position is vacant with a current search in process.

The School of Occupational Therapy engages students in transformational education, integrating humanistic values with scientific evidence to become occupational therapists committed to occupation-based practice, life-long learning, scholarship, service, and advocacy to promote occupational well-being and justice in healthcare and society.

The School of Occupational Therapy aims to be a distinctive, innovative program in which students experience a collaborative, meaningful education that inspires them to continue embracing and advocating for occupation as a source for health and wellbeing.

Contextual Teaching & Learning: Students learn best through varied experiences in a range of environments that have direct application to the development of practice skills and understanding of human occupation.

Doing: By active engagement of mind, body, and spirit in interaction with the environment, persons learn, grow, and actualize life roles that bring meaning, satisfaction, and well-being.

Critical Reasoning: Critical thinking is essential for effective analysis, integration and synthesis of information and systems to enact best practice.

Transformation: Occupation (engaging in meaningful daily activities) has the transformative power to enhance participation in life, and in the process of learning students reflect upon, reframe, and re-envision their beliefs about human capacity and potential.

Ethical Practice: Sound ethical reasoning underlies and guides all that we do to maintain and promote high standards of practice.

Occupational Justice: Promoting more equitable opportunities for individuals and populations to engage in a healthful range of occupations to sustainably support well-being and quality of life.

Cultural Inclusion: Each person’s unique worldview and experience is sought and respected. Embracing diverse ideas and fostering a climate of inclusion promotes creative, best practices.

The College of Health Professions:
Pacific’s College of Health Professions is dedicated to preparing leaders in innovative healthcare for a diverse global community.  All of its programs further Pacific’s mission: A diverse and sustainable community dedicated to discovery and excellence in teaching, scholarship and practice, Pacific University inspires students to think, care, create, and pursue justice in our world.  (Please see Appendix A for CHP’s Mission, Vision and Values Statements)

CHP was established on the University’s Forest Grove campus in 2004, by consolidating four existing schools – Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, and Professional Psychology – under one administrative umbrella.  In August 2006, the College relocated to new facilities in Hillsboro, eight miles east of Forest Grove.  At that time, CHP launched two additional Schools – Dental Health Science and Pharmacy. The School of Healthcare Administration and Leadership, was added in 2008.  In 2012, the School of Audiology was added, increasing to eight the number of schools currently comprising the College.

In Fall 2020, CHP enrolled a total of approximately 80 undergraduate and 1,200 graduate students.  The College employs a total of 170 full-time faculty and staff.  Its operating budget is $29 million for the 21-22 fiscal year.  College revenues are generated through tuition (94%), clinic fees (2%) and grants or gifts (4%).  All of the CHP programs leading to a clinical practice credential are accredited by their relevant professional accreditation bodies.

Additional information about Pacific University’s College of Health Professions may be found here: College of Health Professions | Pacific University

Pacific University Oregon:
Pacific enrolls approximately 3850 (1768 undergraduate and 2082 graduate) students from more than 30 states and 28 foreign countries, engaged in 65 undergraduate majors and 14 graduate fields of study. In addition to the historic 55-acre campus in Forest Grove where Arts and Sciences, Optometry, Education and undergraduate Business are located, the University maintains campuses in Hillsboro (Health Professions and graduate Business), Eugene (Education and Arts and Sciences’ Social Work program), Woodburn (Education) and downtown Portland (Graduate Psychology, Optometry and Arts and Sciences’ MFA program). About 1,000 undergraduates are housed on the Forest Grove campus. Nearly 98% of the undergraduate students receive financial aid. Pacific has approximately 25,000 living alumni.

Lead On: The Campaign for Tomorrow at Pacific University will leverage the generosity of our supporters to provide steady and reliable funding, ensuring Pacific’s bright future.  With a goal of raising $80 million, the campaign focuses on Pacific’s promise for tomorrow, extraordinary new learning environments and resources, and our continuing investment in a boundless future. Recent significant gifts have included a $1 million donation to support a joint optometry and dental hygiene mobile clinic program that includes equipment and endowment to support faculty and staff, and a significant endowment to support the university libraries that serve all campuses.

In recent years, Pacific has experienced the most prosperous and expansive growth period in its history. Two residence halls, a state-of-the-art library, an education and business building, the health professions campus and extensive athletic facilities were constructed between 2004 and 2008. The health professions campus is located in Hillsboro’s “Health and Education District” in LEED-certified buildings. A new residence hall and renovations to the University Center were completed in the summer of 2014 on the Forest Grove campus. During the period 2001-2017, overall enrollment increased from 2,281 to 3,900 students, primarily due to growth in the health professions.

Rankings and Recognition:
Pacific University is the number one private research university in the Pacific Northwest and ranks number 10 on the West Coast, amongst universities like USC and Stanford.

Pacific University ranks among U.S. News and World Report’s top National Universities for 2020.  Pacific University is listed on the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education’s list of America’s Top Colleges-a list that includes only the top third of all undergraduate institutions.

Following a national search, Lesley M. Hallick, PhD began her term as Pacific University’s 17th president on August 1, 2009. Dr. Hallick received her undergraduate degree, Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Pomona College and her doctoral degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin. She came to Pacific from Oregon Health and Science University, where she enjoyed a stellar academic career as a professor and researcher and, from 1989-2009, its Vice President and Provost.

Ultimate responsibility for the management and welfare of Pacific University resides with a Board of Trustees of up to 41 members. The current board is chaired by long-time board member Gerald Yoshida, a Pacific graduate. Its members represent broad public interests as well as the University’s constituencies, including alumni, faculty and students. Board membership is enhanced by additional Emeriti Trustees and one Honorary Trustee.  

Additional information about Pacific University may be found at

About The Community

The Greater Pacific University Oregon Community:
Hillsboro, the fifth largest city in Oregon and the county seat for Washington County, has a diverse population of over 99,000 people.  It is eight miles east of Pacific’s historic campus in Forest Grove, a small, rural city of 22,000.  Both cities combine small-town charm with close proximity to Portland, the Pacific Ocean, the Coastal Range, and the Oregon wine country.

Hillsboro is the western terminus for the MAX light rail Blue Line, providing easy access to the urban amenities, arts and cultural offerings of downtown Portland, 18 miles to the east.  It is in the heart of what is often referred to as the “Silicon Forest” for its continuing growth as a center for high technology.  The area enjoys a healthy economy linked directly to a diverse industrial base that includes such companies as Intel and Nike.

Additional information about Hillsboro may be found at

Additional information about Forest Grove may be found at

Application Process

All correspondence relating to the Director of the School of Occupational Therapy at Pacific University Oregon 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;
2) A complete CV outlining your career in higher education and within OT Education; and
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 June 30, 2021, will receive priority consideration. This search will remain open until the position is filled.

It is the policy of Pacific University not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, religion or religious creed, disability, sex or gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, military, veteran or Vietnam Era status, or any other protected classification recognized by applicable law, in admission, access to, or treatment in employment, educational programs or activities as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or any other applicable state or federal law, or city ordinance. Questions or complaints may be directed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116,