There were some interesting reactions and observations to my blog post yesterday on our current situation with AOTA, ACOTE and the educational mandates. I am glad that most (not all, but most) of the responses were dispassionate. I was surprised to see that I had 522 unique visitors to my Blog! Cool! My aim is to stimulate thoughtful and respectful dialogue.
Thanks to my colleague Carol Seibert for introducing me to the word "dispassionate." I so often speak about the importance of passion, but need to think seriously about the incredible value of being dispassionate at times and the skill of choosing when to act in what way!
I continue to be most interested by the issue of who has authority for establishing entry-level educational requirements and what is the basis for what seems to be a clear shift in the position of the AOTA Board of Directors. I am pretty convinced the answer must rest in the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws. While there seems to be disagreement in interpretation, others have also pointed to this document as likely holding our answers. A challenge is that it seems apparent that interpretation of some long-standing content may have changed.
Searching the document there are three sections that address 1) Professional Standards, or 2) Educational Standards. The fact that both terms are used may be important. Does determining entry-level requirements fall under professional standards or educational standards? Is the use of these two terms intentional or accidental?
In the Sixth Article in the Articles of Incorporation and in Article VII of the Bylaws the term “professional standards and policies” is used in regards to the Representative Assembly. In Article V Section 10 of the Bylaws the term “educational standards” is used.
AOTA Policy E6 was also referenced but this document does not hold any clear answer as the words “recommends and supports” are used rather than definitive words such as “establishes” or “directs.” This is consistent with the soft and fuzzy wording of the 1999 Resolution J.
While these sections of the official documents of AOTA may hold part of the key to understanding interpretations our current stand off I think they are far from clear evidence of one stance or another.
There has to be more and I hope that both AOTA members and other stakeholders can come to learn the specifics of rationales behind actions soon and that this will help to lower tensions and bring us to common understanding.
I have included the relevant sections of the documents below. If I missed something important, please call it to my attention.
Sixth Article of Incorporation:
SIXTH: All corporate powers shall be exercised by and under the authority of the board of directors except as provided in this Sixth Article. The number of trustees, directors, or managers of the corporation shall be not less than five (5) or more than fifty (50), and shall be known as the Board of Directors. The manner of election or appointment of such directors shall be provided in the Bylaws. There shall be a designated body of the board known as the Representative Assembly which shall be directly responsible for the establishment of professional standards and policies.
Article V Section 10. Associated Advisory Council of the Board
Purpose: To accredit occupational therapy educational programs and occupational therapy assistant educational programs. ACOTE® establishes, approves, and administers educational standards to evaluate occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational programs. ACOTE® shall have complete autonomy in establishing standards for educational programs; developing and implementing policies, rules, and procedures for conducting accreditation reviews; and making accreditation decisions.
Section 1. Purpose
The Representative Assembly, herein called the Assembly, shall be a designated body of the Board directly responsible for the establishment of professional standards and policies. With respect to matters within the scope of its purpose, each member of the Assembly shall have a fiduciary duty when discharging responsibilities as a member of the Assembly to act in good faith and in a manner reasonably believed to be in the best interest of the Association and otherwise in accordance with standards of conduct under the D.C. law for fiduciaries in non-profit associations.
Entry-Level Education of Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants
RA Motion 4/83, 4/87, 4/89, 2003M54, 2003M56, 2011AprC5
To state the education required for entry into occupational therapy.
The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
IT SHALL BE THE POLICY OF ASSOCIATION THAT:
The Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws can be found at: https://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/AboutAOTA/OfficialDocs/Approved-Bylaws-2017.pdf
The AOTA Policy and Procedures can be found at: https://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/AboutAOTA/Governance/2017-Policy-Manual.pdf
The opinions expressed in my blog are personal and neither represent the views of my employer nor any organization.