OTD Capstone Manual
Doctoral Capstone Office Contact Information:
Angelika Wolf, OTD, OTR/L
Doctoral Capstone Coordinator
Emory & Henry College, School of Health Sciences
Occupational Therapy Department
565 Radio Hill Road
Marion, VA 24354
Section I: Doctoral Capstone Philosophy
The OTD Program at Emory & Henry College (EHC) is committed to the idea that professional education requires a sound academic preparation that is enhanced and enriched by strong fieldwork and capstone experiences. Capstone education is 2-phased, beginning with three capstone preparatory courses during the second year of study and ending with a capstone experience and project during the final semester of the Program. Graduation from the OTD program requires the successful completion of the capstone experience and project courses.
Capstone experiences are the expression of individual, self-driven projects where students seek to develop in-depth knowledge and skills in a concentrated area of focus while also considering the Program’s and College’s mission to benefit rural and/or underserved populations. Capstone sites should create learning situations that guide students to expand their knowledge, attitudes, and skills through the development and completion of a project that also benefits the host site. The capstone experience expands upon the real life development and growth of the students’ therapeutic skills through site mentorship of individuals qualified and experienced in the setting and topic area of interest. The academic institution has a responsibility to support the site mentor(s) and incorporate assessment on students’ progress and growth. Through the site mentor, the capstone student should be exposed to realistic environments that allow not only for advancement of clinical skills but also experiences in interprofessional collaboration, leadership and administrative responsibilities, the fiscal, ethical and legal aspects of service delivery, program and policy development, and advocacy for the underserved. The capstone experience and project is thereby an essential ingredient of the curriculum. The capstone preparation, experience and project are integrated into the curriculum threads and domains of learning. See OTD Program Curriculum Design and Student Learning Outcomes of how the capstone courses relate to the curriculum design.
A. Doctoral Capstone Fit with and Program Mission and Curriculum Design (ACOTE D.1.1)
The doctoral capstone has been developed in such a way as to integrate into the curriculum design. Capstone preparation does not begin until the beginning of the second year. The first year of the curriculum is foundational in that students learn the OT practice framework, theories, evidence-based practice, research methods, and foundational assessment and intervention skills for mental health, pediatrics and adults. Students also complete foundational courses in anatomy, kinesiology, modalities, and assistive technology. In the third semester (Summer I) students complete their first of three Level 1 fieldwork rotations in pediatrics and in mental health settings. The first year includes an introduction to the following areas of focus that may be used for the capstone: Clinical practice skills, Research skills, Theory, Leadership, Education, and Advocacy.
During the second year of the curriculum, students begin to explore and refine their ideas for the capstone experience and project with faculty advisement and guidance. Students participate in a capstone preparation class each semester during their second year. The second year of the curriculum includes more advancement in client assessment and intervention in the areas of the hand and upper extremity, adult, and older adults, neurological conditions, and community-based practice. The second year of the curriculum also includes student participation in a group research project, healthcare management, and program evaluation and development. Students also participate in two more Level 1 fieldwork rotations during their second year. Students may choose to select their area of capstone experience and project to extend from or be related to their research project. The second year of study addresses more advanced topics in the following areas that may be used for the capstone: Clinical practice skills, Research skills, Theory, Administration, Leadership, Education, Program and policy development and Advocacy. At the end of the second year, all students must present and defend their individual finalized capstone plan for the capstone experience and project. A signed MOU will also be required. This plan is approved by the OTD Capstone Coordinator and OTD faculty mentor.
The third year of the curriculum includes students completing level two fieldwork prior to beginning the capstone experience and project.
The figure below illustrates the activities related to the Doctoral Capstone Experience and Project including the capstone preparatory courses that will occur prior to the final semester.
Fall – Spring - Summer: Engage in foundational OT courses. No preparatory capstone courses offered.
B. Settings Consistent with Program’s Curriculum Design and Mission (ACOTE D.1.2)
As stated earlier, the purpose of the Capstone is for students to demonstrate their ability to apply theory to practice and to demonstrate the synthesis of advanced knowledge in a practice area. Given the curriculum philosophy and design, each Capstone project will intersect with the didactic portions of the curriculum including the course series pertaining to practice, research, and program development. Since students will bring previous life and professional experiences to the Program, and will receive assistance and direction from their faculty mentor, each Capstone Experience and Project will be individualized and developed according to several influences. As students develop and assimilate the professional knowledge and attitudes of an occupational therapist, the Capstone Experience and Projects will likely be influenced by other scholarly projects in the curriculum, such as their research projects or program development endeavors. Conceptually and temporally, the Capstone Experience and Projects fit into the overall developmental progression for each student in the Program.
While students’ projects may involve components of education, research or theory development, most Capstone projects will likely involve a significant, core component of practice skills and program development. Program development efforts were intentionally identified by OT Program faculty as a core construct for both the Doctoral Capstone Experience and Project in order to expand and enlarge occupational therapy’s presence and purpose toward meeting the occupational needs of society and facilitating a bridge to emerging areas for occupational therapy practice, especially focusing on rural and underserved areas. Program development refers to the systematic process of identifying the needs of a group of individuals, community, or organization and designing evidence-informed programs to meet the identified needs. An essential component of this process is to evaluate the effectiveness and outcomes of the program once it has been implemented. Since the programs to be developed within the Capstone projects are collaboratively developed between the Program, the student, and the Capstone Experience sites, the value of the program development process must be mutually beneficial to all parties involved.
Section II: Roles and Expectations
- OTD Student
The OTD student is responsible for:
- Maintaining ongoing communication and collaboration with the faculty mentor, on-site mentor, and capstone coordinator throughout the entirety of the capstone experience and capstone project
- Ensuring compliance with all College and OT Program Requirements as outlined in the EHC OT Program Doctoral Capstone Manual (including, but not limited to, immunizations, trainings, ).
- Ensuring compliance with any additional requirements set forth by the capstone experience site.
- Collaborating with the faculty mentor and site mentor on the establishment of individualized student learning objectives for the capstone experience.
- Completing and documenting at least 560 hours (14 weeks full-time) for the capstone experience, 80% of which (448 hours) must be completed on-site at the capstone experience
- Proactively working towards all learning objectives for the duration of the capstone experience
- Collaborating with the faculty mentor and site mentor to ensure that the capstone project implementation progresses according to originally agreed upon timelines throughout the capstone experience.
- Collaborating with the faculty mentor and site mentor to identify an appropriate means for dissemination of the capstone project
- Following and demonstrating safety with others in all experiences.
- Following and complying with AOTA ethical standards.
- Notifying Capstone Coordinator of any changes or concerns
- Capstone Coordinator
The capstone coordinator is responsible for:
- Maintaining ongoing communication and collaboration with the student, faculty mentor, and site mentor throughout the entirety of the capstone experience and capstone project processes.
- Ensuring that there is a signed Fieldwork and Doctoral Capstone Affiliation Agreement (Appendix I) and Doctoral Capstone Memorandum of Understanding (Appendix II) in place prior to the start of the student’s capstone experience.
- Ensuring that the student successfully completes each step of the capstone development process during the three capstone preparatory classes before proceeding to the next
- Ensuring that the student has met all college and capstone experience site requirements prior to the start of the capstone experience.
- Assisting the student with identifying a capstone experience site and site
- Assisting the student with identifying appropriate means for dissemination of the capstone project outcomes.
- Site Mentor (ACOTE D.1.6)
The site mentor is responsible for:
- Providing documentation of experience and expertise in the student’s area of focus (e.g., a resume or curriculum vitae).
- Providing input and being an integral part of the determination of the student’s ability to accomplish specific objectives at the capstone experience
- Introducing the student to the capstone experience site’s overall mission, vision, and purpose and providing an overview of the services provided and population served at the
- Coordinating the student’s access to the capstone experience site’s facilities, materials, staff, and clients as necessary to develop and implement a capstone p
- Providing on-site mentoring of the student during the capstone experience and verifying the student’s hours on-site.
- Evaluating the student on their progress toward all learning objectives at midterm and final during the capstone experience.
- Faculty Mentor
The faculty mentor is responsible for:
- Being a Program faculty member with documented expertise in at least one aspect of the student’s doctoral capstone. If, in the event that a faculty mentor does not have expertise in the area of focus related to the student’s doctoral capstone, then the faculty mentor is responsible for collaborating with the capstone coordinator and student to identify a content expert (internal or external to the Program) willing to serve as a content expert mentor throughout the capstone experience and project
- Mentoring the student from the beginning to the end of the doctoral capstone process.
- Maintaining ongoing communication and collaboration throughout the entirety of the doctoral c
- Ensuring that the student’s capstone project adequately addresses the situation statement identified during the initial needs assessment of the capstone experience
- Supporting the student throughout the development of the capstone project
- Guiding, directing, and facilitating goals and objectives of the capstone experience in order to best meet the desired capstone project
- Collaborating with the student to ensure that the capstone project implementation progresses according to originally agreed upon timelines throughout the capstone experience.
Section III: Doctoral Capstone Experience and Project
All doctoral capstone courses are viewed by the faculty as being of equal importance with the didactic and fieldwork courses offered by the Program and permit the student to demonstrate synthesis and application of knowledge gained in one or more areas of focus; administration, advocacy, clinical practice skills, education, leadership, policy and program development, research, and/or theory development. The doctoral capstone includes a series of preparatory didactic courses designed to prepare students for their 14-week capstone experience and final capstone project.
Prior to beginning the doctoral capstone encompassed by OTD904 Capstone Experience and OTD905 Capstone Project, the student must have successfully completed all didactic coursework and all fieldwork experiences. See the Emory & Henry College OTD Student Handbook and the Emory & Henry College OTD Fieldwork Manual regarding academic and fieldwork policies dealing with grades, passing, failing and remediation of courses respectively. Specifically, but not limited to the following:
- Successful completion of all preceding coursework and fieldwork experiences is considered pre-requisite for the doctoral capstone.
- Students must complete and meet all the requirements of the three Capstone preparatory courses during Year 2. They include but are not limited to:A valid Fieldwork and Doctoral Capstone Affiliation Agreement if the student is to provide direct patient care under an OT.
- A valid, signed Memorandum of Understanding with the capstone experience site and site mentor for the duration of the capstone experience.
- A literature review and needs assessment demonstrating evidence of a gap in services or an unaddressed need.
- Established individualized goals and objectives for the capstone project and a formal method of assessing progress towards the goals during the capstone experience.
- An implementation plan, including contingency plans, for the capstone project to be completed at the capstone experience site and a formal method for recording time spent on activities related to the capstone experience.
3. Similar to Program fieldwork experience requirements, students must furnish the capstone coordinator with proof of the following prior to beginning the capstone experience:
- Current healthcare provider’s adult-child-infant CPR certification. Individual sites may require certification from a particular provider. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the proper certification is obtained.
- The student must be aware of and meet all health and other requirements of the capstone experience site. This information will be shared with capstone experience site and faculty. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain and submit all required documentation to the capstone experience site. Requirements may include but are not limited to:
- Proof of HIPAA training.
- Proof of completion of the Hepatitis B series or statement of declination.
- Proof of current TB screening.
- Proof of MMR vaccination or rubella immunizations.
- Healthcare Professional CPR. (Facility may have specific requirements.)
- Criminal background check. (May need a current background check at the time of the capstone experience.)
- Drug screen. (May need a current drug screen at the time of the capstone experience.)
C. Other requirements as directed by the capstone experience site.
B. Duration and Hours (ACOTE D.1.5)
The Doctoral Capstone Experience requires a minimum of 560 hours of time logged. This is accomplished through 14 weeks of full-time participation at the designated site. The Program curriculum is designed for fulltime participation of all courses, fieldwork rotations and capstone experiences. Students may only begin their capstone experience once all other didactic courses and fieldwork rotations are successfully completed. Prior fieldwork, classwork or work experience cannot count toward the 560 hours. Should students wish or need to complete their capstone experience in a part-time format, the 14-week timeframe will be extended accordingly to complete the 560 hours as required. Students who do not follow a fulltime format may delay their graduation. Furthermore, students must complete their capstone experience within 24 months of completing the didactic portion of the curriculum. Students can delay beginning their capstone experience for up to 6 months after completing their Level 2 Fieldwork rotations as long as the capstone experience is completed within 24 months of finishing the didactic portion of the curriculum. Any deviation from the original fulltime schedule of the OTD Program curriculum will result in delayed graduation for the student.
Of the 560 required hours, no more than 20% (112 hours) may be completed “offsite.” When students log their hours, they will differentiate between activities performed “onsite” and those that are “offsite.” Onsite activities can be performed physically on the premises of the designated site, in another physical setting, or virtually as long as the activities are directly related to the site specific student objectives, or to activities designated as necessary by the site. Offsite hours are those activities not directly related to the site specific objectives of the capstone experience. Depending on the capstone experience site, some students may need to complete their capstone experience in a virtual or hybrid format. In these instances, it is important that students create a “home office” workspace that is quiet and private, has adequate internet connectivity, and the means to connect with the site and other capstone team via video conferencing. The costs related to the establishment of a home office are borne by the student. The decision to work in a virtual or hybrid format rests with the site and not the student.
C. Focus Areas (ACOTE D.1.2)
ACOTE accreditation specifies that each student’s individual doctoral capstone demonstrate in-depth synthesis of skills and knowledge in one or more specific areas of focus. The areas of focus include administration, advocacy, clinical practice skills, education, leadership, program and policy development, research skills, and theory development. Students will identify their primary area(s) of focus during the OTD901 Capstone 1 preparatory class in Fall 2, after they identify their topic of interest and explore different iterations of the topic within the eight areas of foci. Both the doctoral capstone idea and the student’s identified area(s) of focus will be considered when matching each student to a faculty mentor.
D. Mentorship Requirements (ACOTE D.1.6)
Each student in the OTD Program will have a primary faculty mentor who will serve as an advisor, guide, and mentor for capstone project completion. Further, each student will also have a capstone experience site mentor who will be the on-site person to whom the student is responsible when engaged in the 14-week capstone experience. Mentors will collaborate with the student to meet their individual goals while supporting the student’s evolution into becoming a practice leader in occupational therapy. See Roles and Expectations section for specific roles and responsibilities of the different mentors.
1. Faculty Mentor (ACOTE D.1.2)
Faculty mentors and student mentees will be matched at the end of OTD901 Capstone 1 in Fall II once students have identified doctoral capstone topic and primary area(s) of focus. The interests and goals of each student will be matched carefully with the expertise, strengths, interests, and availability of core doctoral faculty in the Program. Matching each student with an appropriate faculty mentor is an important process and one that is undertaken with care and consideration. Because faculty mentors will serve as advisor, guide, and mentor throughout the student’s capstone endeavors, they will have a significant professional impact on the student through the student’s tenure in the Program. This mentoring process is built on and solidified through a dynamic and collaborative professional relationship, one that is initially based on shared interests and expertise, but grows across time as student, faculty, and other participants engage in collective projects in the second and third years of the curriculum.
- Site Mentor (ACOTE D.1.2, D.1.6)
Students are matched with a site mentor as their capstone experience site is identified. The site mentor relationship will be established during OTD902 Capstone 2 in Spring II after confirming that both site and mentor are a good fit for the student’s capstone experience. To facilitate a symbiotic and collaborative relationship, the student, potential site mentor and capstone coordinator will meet to discuss the fit of the student’s capstone topic with the site’s needs or desires during Spring II. Once established, the site mentor will provide input and facilitate the student’s progression toward developing and accomplishing their specific objectives for the capstone project. The site mentor may or may not be an occupational therapy practitioner, but they must have more experience than the mentee and must be able to serve as an expert on the subject matter central to the student’s capstone project. This expertise must be documented and provided to the Program as evidence of qualification for serving as a capstone experience site mentor before the MOU is signed in Summer II. The collaboration between the faculty mentor, the site mentor, and the student will be an essential component of the doctoral capstone process. See also Section IV Doctoral Capstone Experience Site Placement Process.
In addition to the faculty mentor and site mentor, the capstone coordinator will serve as a mentor-at-large for all students throughout their enrollment in the Program. If at any time a student, faculty mentor, or site mentor recognizes the need for assistance with any steps of the capstone project or capstone experience, the capstone coordinator can be available at the contact information listed above.
- Expert Mentor
In the event that a student identifies an area of focus in which no core Program faculty members have experience or expertise, students may potentially identify an additional content expert mentor to help guide them through the capstone experience and capstone project. If this need is identified, the capstone coordinator with collaborate with the faculty mentor and student to initiate this process.
- Dual Mentor Roles
In cases where the student’s site is within the existing OTD program, as may occur, but not be limited to, projects with an Education or Research area of focus, the student’s faculty mentor and site mentor may be the same person. Additionally, the capstone coordinator, (mentor-at-large) can also serve as faculty mentor to a student, but cannot undertake all three mentor roles and serve as site mentor, too. This allows for at least two separate individuals to be involved in the grading of the students’ performance for OTD904 Capstone Experience and OTD905 Capstone Project respectively. See the mechanism for grading when a faculty mentor serves a dual mentor role in Section V.D.
- Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (ACOTE D.1.2, D.1.4)
Prior to the student embarking on their capstone experience, a signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) must be in place. The MOU will be finalized during OTD 903 Capstone 3 in Summer II and signed by all parties during Fall III, or as soon as possible thereafter. The student is active in developing and securing the MOU for their capstone experience, but it is the capstone coordinator’s responsibility to ensure that each student has a signed MOU prior to beginning their capstone experiences as per Program policy. See Appendix II for the MOU.
The memorandum of understanding:
- Identifies the dates and duration of the capstone experience
- Indicates the responsibilities of each party (student, site mentor, faculty mentor, and capstone coordinator) to ensure the student completes their doctoral capstone as planned.
- Outlines the mentoring and supervision plans appropriate for the duration of the capstone experience.
- Specifies the student’s individualized objectives and evaluation of progress towards those objectives at midterm and the end of the capstone experience.
- Is signed by all parties.
To account for the long time-span between obtaining the signed MOU in Fall III and the beginning of the capstone experience in Summer III, all students will be required to perform a check-in with their site mentor at the beginning of Spring III to ensure that the site and site mentor can still accommodate the doctoral capstone student as originally agreed upon. Should the student find that the site and/or site mentor can no longer accommodate their doctoral capstone experience, the student will begin the process of securing a new capstone experience site and/or site mentor for their capstone project as outlined in Section IV.B. The student may have to change their original project plan, including goals and objectives, to accommodate a new capstone experience site’s needs. A new MOU will be developed and must be signed before the student can begin their capstone experience at the site. Students will follow the same procedure should they be notified by either the site or the site mentor, at any time between the signing of the MOU and the beginning of their capstone experience, that either the site or the mentor can no longer fulfill the responsibilities as set out in the signed MOU.
All sites must have a signed memorandum of understanding in place prior to a student beginning their capstone experience. In some instances where students will be at a site that provides occupational therapy services, and especially in students who will be providing occupational therapy services under the supervision of an OT, a signed clinical affiliation agreement will also be required. See Section IV.A Procedure for Obtaining a Capstone Experience Site and Site Mentor.
F. Objectives (ACOTE D.1.2)
All components of each student’s capstone project must align with the pre-identified, specific, and individualized student learning objectives and desired outcomes developed through collaborative efforts of the student, faculty mentor and site mentor. The capstone project components must also coordinate with the needs of the capstone experience site as identified by the student and site mentor.
- Program Objectives
The Program has identified 3 learning objectives that will be included in all students’ capstone experiences and projects:
EHC OTD Program Objective 1: Student utilizes an occupation-centered and occupation-focused approach to their practice as an OTD student throughout the Capstone Experience.
EHC OTD Program Objective 2: Student demonstrates adequate clinical and ethical reasoning by applying appropriate clarity, depth, breadth, accuracy, relevance, logic, & precision to cognitive and moral decision-making processes throughout the capstone experience.
EHC OTD Program Objective 3: Student intentionally engages in all aspects of the Capstone Experience and Capstone development processes as a self-directed and curious learner who takes responsibility for their own professional behavior and professional development.
- Individualized Student Objectives
At least 2 individualized learning objectives relating to each program objective above will be developed in collaboration with the student, faculty mentor and on-site mentor by the end of OTD902 Capstone 2 in Spring II. All learning objectives will be assessed at midterm and at the end of the OTD904 Capstone Experience course in Summer III semester.
- Capstone Preparatory Courses (OTD901, OTD902, OTD903) (ACOTE D.1.3)
Learning activities assigned during the capstone preparation courses prepare the student for their Capstone Experience and Project in their final semester of the program. These activities and assignments are graded and result in the final letter grade for the course.
OTD 901 Capstone 1: Learning activities during Capstone 1 in Fall II include obtaining knowledge of the capstone process, its expectations, the different areas of focus, and the roles for all the team members. Students participate in exploration of topics relevant and meaningful to them and then search the evidence for an identified need or gap within the topic. Possible traditional and non-traditional sites are explored based on the student’s own contextual factors and the topic they have chosen. Once a topic has been defined the student will engage in activities to align the topic to areas of focus, and to the Program’s mission. The culmination of this course is a 5-minute elevator pitch to faculty for the purposes of faculty identifying students to mentor.
OTD 902 Capstone 2: Learning activities in Capstone 2 during Spring II include the completion of a literature review and drafting goals for the capstone experience. Identifying the site and securing a site mentor is also a priority during this course. Students will engage in preparatory activities to participate actively in this process and will engage in a collaborative meeting with the site mentor and capstone coordinator to discuss their project idea with supporting evidence. During a site meeting students will solicit input from the site mentor regarding the needs of the site and will make suggestions to tweak their project idea to better match the site’s needs. Students will engage in learning activities to draft their capstone experience plan by developing their learning objectives, defining the outcomes and identifying potential impacts of the project to the student, site and population served. Students will complete a preliminary needs assessment assignment. They will check in with their faculty mentor on a regular basis to keep them informed and to receive guidance in all aspects of developing the capstone experience plan.
OTD 903 Capstone 3: The final capstone preparation course is Capstone 3 in Summer II where students participate in learning activities to finalize their plan for their capstone experience to include the activities and timelines of each phase of their capstone experience. See Appendix III for the Student Activity Plan template. They will also complete an evaluation plan assignment. They will present and defend their capstone proposal. See Appendix IV for Student Capstone Proposal template. They will also finalize and sign their MOU and use a problem-solving approach to create contingency plans for the possible situations that may arise during the capstone experience. The Student Capstone Proposal and Student Activity Plan will be attached with the MOU.
- Capstone Experience (ACOTE D.1.2, D.1.7)
The capstone experience course (OTD904 Capstone Experience) occurs in Summer III and is a Pass/Fail course and primarily evaluated through demonstration. Students will participate in their capstone experience according to the plan created by the student, site mentor and faculty mentor; to include at a minimum, activities related to the student’s capstone project needs assessment, -implementation, -evaluation and -sustainability and dissemination of project results. Students will be required to log the hours spent on site and complete communication logs during this time in E-Value on a weekly basis. The student is expected to meet with their site mentor weekly, or more often as scheduled between the student and site mentor, to discuss progress, verify time logged during the past week, discuss student’s plans for the coming week and address any concerns or questions either party may have. See Appendix V for Site Mentor Weekly Supervision template. Additional assignments may be required of the student by the site.
- Capstone Project (ACOTE D.1.8)
During Summer III students will also complete the OTD905 Capstone Project course. This is a graded course with assignments reflecting synthesis of the capstone experience and aligning with the project process. Assignments include, but are not limited to, a written capstone report of the on-site needs assessment, project implementation, project outcome and sustainability recommendations. The course culminates with the dissemination of their projects in the form of, at a minimum, a poster and a platform presentation during an event at E&H SHS campus. Students will also complete site-specific dissemination activities and will develop an artifact relevant to their project. The student must be able to articulate how the artifact facilitates knowledge translation. Examples of artifacts include but are not limited to: manuals, products/materials, work-flows, protocols, online media, and articles. Students will meet with faculty mentor on a regular basis (bi-monthly) for support in the development of the capstone report, poster, and presentation.
H. Evaluation Methods
- Capstone Preparatory Courses (OTD901, OTD902, OTD903):
The capstone preparatory courses occur during year two of the didactic portion of the curriculum. Students will be graded on their ability to develop and plan their capstone experience through letter-graded exams, assignments, projects, and presentations.
- OTD904 Capstone Experience (ACOTE D.1.7)
Evaluation of student performance during OTD904 Capstone Experience will be provided formally by the site-mentor at midterm and at the end of the experience. The site mentor will evaluate the student’s performance on the established program goals and the individualized student objectives developed prior to the start of the capstone experience. While no uniform evaluation tool exists for the doctoral capstone, an individualized objective tool will be created for each student utilizing the Program’s Capstone Experience Midterm and Final Evaluation template (Appendix VI). In addition to the formal assessment of performance, the site mentor will also verify that the student has completed the required number of hours engaging in activities related to the capstone experience.
Informal methods of evaluation will also be used to monitor the student’s performance and progress during their capstone experience by the capstone coordinator. These can include but are not limited to, periodic check-in communication with student and/or site mentor, feedback sessions and/or site visits with the student and/or site mentor, and examination of artifacts and/or deliverables related to the capstone experience. Additionally, the faculty mentor may provide further input regarding the student’s progress through the experience. The capstone coordinator will make contact with the student, at a minimum, during each phase of the capstone experience to ensure the student is progressing according to plan and expectations. See Appendix VII for the Mentor Meeting Tracking Form. The capstone coordinator will also make contact with the site mentor during the midpoint of the experience or sooner, to verify that the capstone experience is progressing according to plans and expectations. See Appendix VIII for the DCE Site Visit Form. Any problems that are identified during the contact will be followed up by the capstone coordinator. Furthermore, students are encouraged to evaluate themselves and the capstone experience on an ongoing basis. If any problems are identified, students are encouraged to reach out to the capstone coordinator, and their faculty- and/or site mentor as soon as possible. The final decision to pass or fail a student in the OTD904 Capstone Experience course rests with the capstone coordinator.
- OTD905 Capstone Project (ACOTE D.1.8)
Students will be evaluated on their ability to synthesize the in-depth knowledge and skills gained during the capstone experience through letter-graded activities in the OTD905 Capstone Project course. Students will be evaluated for their final written Capstone Report, and the culminating dissemination activities required of the OTD Capstone Experience and Project. Students will be expected to disseminate the results of their project to the site, in a format best suited for the site. They will also be required to present their results in poster and panel presentation format during an event at Emory & Henry College. Depending on the individual project, each student must present an artifact of their project to the site to demonstrate synthesis and knowledge translation of in-depth knowledge in the focused area of study. Examples of artifacts include but are not limited to: manuals, products/materials, workflows, protocols, online media, and articles. Assignments in this course will be co-graded by the faculty mentor and the capstone coordinator, with the exception of the on-site dissemination activity which will also include input from the site mentor. See Section V.D of the Capstone Manual for grading when one faculty member serves as a dual mentor. Final grades for the OTD905 Capstone Project course rests with the capstone coordinator as course master.
I. Contingency Plans
During Summer III students will develop contingency plans for the variety of obstacles that may occur between the time of signing the MOU and beginning the Capstone experience at the site. These are likely related to the site or site mentor no longer being able to support he student for their upcoming experience. See Section IV.B where procedures for those instances are addressed. In addition to potential site and site mentor disruptions, the student will utilize a problem-solving decision-making approach to develop possible solutions to a variety of potential hurdles and obstacles related to each phase of the capstone experience, from the needs assessment, to implementation, evaluation and dissemination phases. The scenarios will include, but not be limited to, time constraints, stakeholder participation and accessibility issues, legal and fiscal hurdles, ethical dilemmas and communication struggles.
Section IV: Doctoral Capstone Experience Site Placement Process
Students are responsible for obtaining a capstone experience site and site mentor for the completion of their doctoral capstone. When considering an appropriate site, the student should also take into consideration external factors that may impact their attendance at the site including, but not limited to, securing short-term housing, and costs related to said housing, transportation and other living expenses. Students must follow the following Program policy when seeking out a capstone experience site and site mentor:
A. Procedure for Obtaining a Capstone Experience Site and Site Mentor: (ACOTE D.1.4, D.1.6)
- Once the student has identified their doctoral capstone topic and a potential site for their capstone experience in OTD901 Capstone 1 during Fall II, the student will notify the capstone coordinator of the name of the site.
- The capstone coordinator will confirm whether the Program already has a signed Fieldwork and Doctoral Capstone Affiliation Agreement with the site.
- The person initiating contact is dependent on the following:
- If there is a valid Fieldwork and Doctoral Capstone Affiliation Agreement then the capstone coordinator will make first contact with the site representative between November of Fall II and February of Spring II. The capstone coordinator will explain the purpose of the requested site placement and how a doctoral capstone experience differs from a fieldwork experience. The capstone coordinator will notify the student of the outcome of the contact and whether the student can continue to pursue the site as an appropriate location for their capstone experience or not.
- If there is NOT a valid Fieldwork and Doctoral Capstone Affiliation Agreement and the site is one currently providing OT services, then the capstone coordinator will make first contact with the site representative between November of Fall II and February of Spring II. The capstone coordinator will explain the purpose of the requested site placement and how a doctoral capstone experience differs from a fieldwork experience. Should the site be willing to support students with their fieldwork and/or doctoral capstone requirements, then the capstone coordinator will obtain a new Fieldwork and Doctoral Capstone Affiliation Agreement from the site. The capstone coordinator will notify the student of the outcome of the contact and whether the student can continue to pursue the site as an appropriate location for their experience or not.
- If there is NOT a valid Fieldwork and Doctoral Capstone Affiliation Agreement and the site is one that does NOT provide OT services, then the capstone coordinator will notify the student that they may initiate the contact with the site in January of Spring II. Students are encouraged to reference the Student Initial Site Communication template (Appendix IX) for all forms of initial communication with a potential capstone experience site (email, telephone, etc.).
- If the site is determined to be a good fit, then the student must determine whether there an appropriate person willing to take on the role of site mentor and its accompanying responsibilities. This step can occur during the initial cycle of communication, or by March of Spring II.
- Once a site mentor has been identified then the student, site mentor and capstone coordinator will meet in Spring II to determine whether the potential site mentor is qualified and a good fit. The site mentor will submit to the Program proof of qualification through submission of their resume/curriculum vitae, evidence of certifications, etc. by the end of Spring II. They will confirm the site mentor’s willingness and availability to adhere to a MOU that includes, at a minimum, providing the anticipated mentorship during the dates identified, record-keeping of student’s hours on-site, and evaluation of progress toward the individualized goals of their project. Final determination will also be made regarding the site and whether the student’s project creates a symbiotic relationship with the site. The team will discuss the student’s proposed project goals and outcomes to ensure that they meet the needs at the site.
- The student and site mentor will collaborate during the latter half of the Spring II semester to finalize goals and objectives.
- All parties will agree to finalize and sign the MOU by the end of the Summer II semester.
- The student will reach out to the site early during the Spring III semester to ensure that both the site and site mentor are still able to accommodate the student as originally agreed upon.
B. Process to Request a New Doctoral Capstone Experience Site/New Contract (ACOTE D.1.6)
- Student Request
Once a site has accepted the OTD student for their capstone experience and an MOU is signed, the student cannot request a new site under any circumstances. The MOU is considered a binding contract and thus it is unprofessional to request a change.
- Site Mentor Changes Before the Onset of the Capstone Experience
Should a student be informed that their site mentor can no longer mentor them, then the student should attempt to secure a replacement mentor at the same site. The replacement site mentor must be qualified with appropriate experience and expertise as defined in Section II.C. The student is responsible for notifying the rest of their capstone team of this change. The MOU and related documents will be updated to reflect the change prior to the start of the capstone experience. In the event that the student is informed that their site mentor can no longer mentor them, and no other person can fulfill the role at the same site, then a new site can be sought. See Section V.B.2.
- Site Changes Before the Onset of the Capstone Experience
In the event that the student is informed that the site can no longer accommodate them, or the site mentor is no longer able to fulfill the role and there is no replacement qualified at the site, then a student will need to secure a new site for their capstone experience. In either of these instances, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the rest of their capstone team immediately. To secure a new site the student would begin by referring to the contingency plans that they created during OTD903 Capstone 3 in Summer II. They would meet with their capstone coordinator and faculty mentor to decide on the best course of action to secure a new site and mentor as quickly as possible. Once an appropriate site and site mentor have been identified, the site meeting will proceed as defined earlier, to ensure collaborative goals and outcomes are created and a new MOU is signed. The student may need to change their project plan and areas of focus to better fit the needs of the new site. The student may not begin their capstone experience at the new site until the MOU is signed by all parties.
- Site or Site Mentor Changes During the Capstone Experience
Similar to #2 above, if at any time during the capstone experience, a site mentor is no longer able to mentor the student and a replacement mentor can be secured at the site, then the MOU and related documents need to be updated to reflect the new site mentor. The updated documents should be signed when the transition from one site mentor to another occurs.
In rare instances it may be decided that the site mentor and/or site is not a good fit for all parties due to no fault of the student, and the capstone coordinator and program director elect to terminate the experience at that site. Similarly, site specific conditions may result in the site having to terminate the relationship, due to no fault of the student, while the capstone experience is already underway.
At this time the student’s capstone experience will need to be delayed or suspended for a period while adjustments are made, and a new site and site mentor are secured. Although the student will still have an opportunity to complete their capstone experience, any pause in the capstone experience may result in a delay in graduation. A similar process will be followed as stated above but more attention may be placed on securing a new MOU as quickly as possible while considering the ability to complete the capstone experience as close to its original design as possible. The student must understand that should they have to begin a whole new project at their new site, the remaining capstone experience time may need to be extended to accommodate the completion of the project. The student may not begin at their new site until a signed MOU is in place.
Section V: Doctoral Capstone Grading Processes
- Capstone Preparation Courses
The three capstone preparation courses, OTD901, OTD902 and OTD903, are similar to other didactic courses and are graded by the course director who is the capstone coordinator. Students must pass all capstone preparation courses before they embark on their Level 2 fieldwork clinical experiences and the capstone experience.
- Capstone Experience (ACOTE D.1.7)
The capstone experience is similar to the two level 2 fieldwork experiences in that it is a pass/fail course. The grading process is as follows:
- Students are graded on their performance and achievement of their student objectives through participation in activities as outlined in their Activity Plan at midterm and at the end of the 14-week experience utilizing the Capstone Experience Evaluation Form. Fifty percent of the student’s objectives should be graded as Met or In Progress at Midterm to be considered on track to pass the Capstone Experience. 80% of student objectives must be graded as Met to pass at the end of the 14-week Capstone Experience.
- Students must also meet the minimum 560-hour requirement to pass the course. No more than 20% of the 560 hours can be spent on activities that are not considered onsite. When students log their hours, they will differentiate between onsite and offsite time. Onsite time is defined as time spent on activities that are directly related to the capstone experience and are of benefit to the site. Offsite time is defined as time spent participating in activities not directly related to the capstone experience. The site mentor will be required to maintain and verify the student’s hours logged. It is recommended that time logs be verified by the site mentor during every site mentor meeting (at least weekly). See Appendix V for Site Mentor Weekly Supervision Template.
- If the student is not making adequate progress towards their objectives or not spending adequate time on activities during their capstone experience then a remediation plan will be recommended. See E.1 below in this same section. If the student is unable to complete their 560 hours in a full-time capacity, they do have the option to work part time, but this will delay their graduation. See Capstone Duration Section III.B.
- While the site mentor is the primary person who grades the student, the student is encouraged to self-evaluate and discuss progress towards their goals with their site mentor and other members of the capstone team. The student is expected to meet with their site mentor on a weekly or more frequent basis to obtain regular feedback on progress towards goals so that adjustments can be made in a timely manner to either adjust the activity plan to achieve set objectives or to adjust the objective’s outcomes.
- Informal methods of evaluation will also be used to monitor the student’s performance and progress during their capstone experience by the capstone coordinator. These can include but are not limited to, periodic check-in communication with student and/or site mentor, feedback sessions and/or site visits with the student and/or site mentor, and examination of artifacts and/or deliverables related to the capstone experience. Additionally, the faculty mentor may provide further input regarding the student’s progress through the experience. The capstone coordinator will make contact with the student, at a minimum, during each phase of the capstone experience to ensure the student is progressing according to plan and expectations.
- The final decision to pass or fail a student in the OTD904 Capstone Experience course rests with the capstone coordinator.
C. Capstone Project (ACOTE D.1.8)
The capstone project course is also a pass/fail course. The grading process is as follows:
- Students are graded on their scholarly writing to produce a capstone report and poster. They are also graded on their performance to disseminate their project to both the site and to a professional audience through recorded poster presentation and in-person platform presentation. Students must meet the criteria established on the separate grading rubrics developed. The faculty mentor will be responsible for grading of scholarly writing while both the faculty mentor and capstone coordinator will grade the student’s dissemination activities
- Informal methods of evaluation will also be used to monitor the student’s performance and progress during their capstone project course by the capstone coordinator. These can include but are not limited to, reflections of faculty mentor meetings, and periodic check-ins with the student.
- The final decision to pass or fail a student in the OTD905 Capstone Project course rests with the capstone coordinator.
D. Grading Mechanism when a Faculty Person Serves as a Dual Mentor (ACOTE D.1.8)
In the event that a student has the same person serving in a dual mentor capacity, the student will have the right to have another person participate in the grading for graded items that are co-graded. Since the site mentor and capstone coordinator are primarily responsible for grading and monitoring the student’s progress in the OTD904 Capstone Experience course, and the capstone coordinator cannot also serve as the site mentor per Program policy, there is no conflict of interest. Some assignments in OTD905 Capstone Project course are graded by the both the capstone coordinator and the faculty mentor, so in instances where the capstone coordinator is also the student’s faculty mentor, the Program will assign another faculty member to co-grade those assignments.
E. Doctoral Capstone Remediation (ACOTE D.1.7, D.1.8)
There is no remediation opportunity for students who do not pass OTD904 Capstone Experience. Students must successfully complete their capstone experience course with a Pass on their transcript. Students who are not progressing as expected during the capstone experience have opportunities to remediate their trajectory of progress only for the duration of the course.
- Lack of Adequate Student Progress
The capstone coordinator, site mentor or faculty advisor may notify the student in the event they may not be meeting the expectations of the capstone experience or project. Additionally, students are encouraged to discuss problems with their faculty and site mentors as soon as they arise. The capstone coordinator will work with all parties toward a satisfactory resolution of issues. A remediation plan should be developed immediately to address any lack of adequate progress in the student’s performance during the capstone experience or the capstone project.
OTD904 Capstone Experience: The capstone coordinator will develop the remediation plan with the input of the student and their capstone team. The plan will include goals and a formal plan of action. The site mentor will need to agree to the remediation plan and its goals. The remediation plan may result in consequences that can delay graduation or that result in dismissal from the program.
OTD905 Capstone Project: Should the student not be making adequate progress in their Capstone Project course, a remediation plan will also need to be developed. This plan will be created by the student and shared with the capstone coordinator and faculty mentor for approval. Since this is a terminal course that occurs in lock-step with the OTD904 Capstone Experience course, students will not be able to re-take the course, but may be able to remediate assignments for a grade change per Program policy.
- External Problems Impacting Capstone Experience
In the event that an external problem arises that places the student at risk for not meeting the capstone experience requirements, and the capstone experience is to be delayed or suspended for a period while adjustments are made, the student will still have the opportunity to complete their capstone experience. Any pause in the capstone experience may result is a delay in graduation.
F. Capstone Experience Withdrawals (ACOTE D.1.7)
Premature termination of the capstone experience is at the discretion of the program director and capstone coordinator and NOT the student. This may result in an Incomplete grade if the experience must be paused for valid reason, while a new site or site mentor is secured. If the student’s capstone experience must be terminated altogether due to student performance, the student will receive a Fail grade and will be unable to graduate from the Program. Any pause or deviation from the fulltime participation of the capstone experience must be such that the capstone experience can be completed within 24 months of completion of the didactic portion of the program as per Program policy.
Leaving a capstone experience site without notifying and receiving a written or direct telephone response from the capstone coordinator and the OTD Program at Emory & Henry College is viewed as a serious infraction of professional ethics and is considered abandonment of one’s professional responsibilities to the clients and site. The student will receive a failing grade in the capstone experience and will not have the option to petition to re-enter the program.
G. Dismissal from the Program
The same rules and regulations regarding failure of classes and administrative withdrawal from the program that apply to the didactic courses and to the fieldwork education courses apply to the capstone experience and project courses. Incidents of unethical and/or unprofessional behavior may result in dismissal from the Program.
Section VI: Access to Doctoral Capstone Files and Databases (ACOTE D.1.2)
The E-Value program is a system used to enhance each student’s experience in clinical rotations and during the capstone experience. Each student will have an individual account and will maintain all documentation needed for fieldwork and capstone experience sites such as immunizations, BLS certification, safety training, background check information, etc. Students will be responsible for updating their own personal information in the system.
E-Value online software will be used for, but not limited to, the following:
- Maintaining current personal records required by fieldwork and capstone experience facilities.
- Logging time at fieldwork rotations and capstone experiences including comments about the experiences. See Appendix X for DCE Student Time Log
- Completion of evaluations completed by students. See appendix XI for Student Evaluation of Doctoral Capstone Experience
- Look up basic site information for potential fieldwork experiences. See Appendix XII for Site Data Form
- Scheduling all fieldwork and capstone experiences.
Section VII: Capstone Coordinator Monitoring and Site Visits (ACOTE D.1.2)
The capstone coordinator will monitor student performance during the capstone experience through a variety of mechanisms. The purpose is to ensure that the student is being adequately supported by their site mentor, is making sufficient progress to achieve their individualized student objectives, and is logging their time correctly.
- Site Visits
The capstone coordinator will make contact with the site mentor and the student during the midpoint of the experience or sooner, to conduct a site visit and verify that the capstone experience is progressing according to plans and expectations. Any problems that are identified during the contact will be followed up by the capstone coordinator. This meeting can occur sooner than midterm if needed. Additionally, the capstone coordinator can schedule additional meetings should follow-up communication be warranted. The site visit can occur in person or virtually. See Appendix VIII Site Visit Form.
- E-Value Logs
Students will be expected to log their time and respond to prompts regarding progress towards objectives, activities done, and use of time through weekly E-Value logs. These logs will be reviewed by the capstone coordinator to ensure that the student is making adequate progress and to address any potential problems should a solution not be forthcoming in a timely manner.
- Mentor Meetings
The capstone coordinator will communicate with students on an ongoing basis, at a minimum at least once during each phase of the capstone experience; namely during the needs assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation and dissemination phases. The student and their faculty mentor will also meet periodically throughout the experience to address the capstone project aspect of the doctoral capstone. The student will be required to document all mentor meetings with their site mentor, faculty mentor and capstone coordinator in a shared journal format (such as is available through E-value, Moodle, or Pebblepad) beginning during Spring II. Once meetings have been documented and shared, the capstone coordinator will record them in the Capstone Mentor Meeting Tracking Log (Appendix VII) for data keeping purposes.
Section VIII: Professional Behavior Expectations
A. Professional Behaviors
The Student Code of Conduct and Program Professional Behaviors policies continue to apply while the student is away from campus completing their capstone experience. The following professional behaviors are expected:
- Notify the capstone site and academic educational program of current address, telephone number, and emergency contact.
- Obey all policies and procedures of the site unless exempted, including prompt notification of unplanned or planned (as permitted) absences.
- Fulfill all duties and assignments assigned by the site mentor within the time specified.
- Complete and submit all required forms and evaluations to the site mentor and the capstone coordinator in a timely manner.
- Send, via Fax or email, the evaluation of student’s performance to the capstone coordinator on the last day of the capstone site experience in order to expedite processing of grades.
- All students are required to maintain ongoing communication with the capstone coordinator and faculty mentor at Emory & Henry College.
- All students are required to complete assignments created by the capstone coordinator within the time specified.
- If problems occur that might interfere with successful completion of the capstone experience, student should contact the capstone coordinator immediately for directions or intervention on student’s behalf.
- Following the capstone experience, the student must write a letter of appreciation to the site mentor with a copy to the capstone coordinator acknowledging the educational opportunities provided by the site within three weeks following completion of the experience. A copy of this letter should be submitted to the EHC capstone office no more than four weeks after the fieldwork experience.
Students are expected to maintain a high standard of professional communication during their capstone experience. This includes adhering to professional communication guidelines for verbal (in person and phone) and written (email and text) correspondence. Additionally, because the capstone experience is a student-driven process, the student must be proactive in their communication with all parties in their capstone team as well as with other individuals at the capstone experience site.
During the capstone experience, the student should communicate concerns related to all aspects of their capstone experience with their site mentor during the weekly mentor meetings. This includes reporting delays or difficulties completing assigned tasks, requesting assistance or guidance to complete designated tasks, and participating in collaborative problem solving. The student may also need to address conflict resolution and other issues that may occur during the capstone experience. If the student is having difficulties that cannot be resolved with the site mentor, it is imperative that the capstone coordinator be contacted as soon as possible to avoid putting the student’s grade or experience in jeopardy. All difficulties with capstone experiences should be addressed to the capstone coordinator and faculty mentor. Unsafe and unprofessional student behavior can result in termination of the capstone experience at the discretion of the capstone coordinator.
Excessive absences, regardless of the reason, will contribute to lack of preparation for capstone experiences. All absences and deviations from the agreed upon schedule for attending capstone experience sites must be reported to the capstone coordinator immediately. The student must realize that absences may prohibit them from progressing in the program. In addition to the Program attendance policy the student must adhere to the following during their capstone experience.
Attendance at capstone experience sites is required as scheduled and agreed upon by the student and their site mentor. Students are governed by the rules and regulations of the site. Students must complete 560 hours, equating to 40 hours per week for 14 weeks, as a requirement to pass the OTD904 Capstone Experience course. Depending on the capstone experience site, this time may or may not include holiday and weekend hours.
It is the student’s responsibility to make up all time missed due to absence so that the required 560 hours are completed during the capstone experience. Make up times that relate to the 80% of required onsite time must conform to the needs of the site and be approved by the site mentor. Make up times may delay completion of the capstone experience and therefore result in a delay in graduation. Students must notify the capstone coordinator of all make up arrangements. Absence or tardiness from capstone experiences can contribute to a failing grade for the OTD904 Capstone Experience course. Not notifying the capstone coordinator of absence can result in cancellation of the capstone experience and the student will then be subject to additional decisions by the OTD Program’s Promotion and Retention Committee.
- Physical vs. Virtual Attendance
Students are required to be present at the site for all onsite activities unless the site requires the student to operate in a hybrid or virtual format. Note: The decision to complete onsite capstone experience activities in a hybrid or virtual format rests with the site and site mentor and not with the student.
The student is required to present to their capstone team a general schedule of attendance during the orientation phase, by the end of their Week 1 of their capstone experience. This schedule of attendance should outline their anticipated “regular” work hours and differentiate between those to be completed in person onsite, virtually onsite or offsite. Additionally, during their weekly scheduled mentor meetings, the student is required to submit their hours worked to the site mentor for verification, and to receive approval for their planned attendance schedule for the coming week. Offsite activities can be completed at the location most conducive to the activity, but the student must communicate and receive approval from the site mentor if this time is to occur during the normal operating hours of the capstone experience site and will result in the student not being onsite.
In the event of illness or emergency, the student must contact the capstone experience site and the capstone coordinator prior to the start of the work day, or as soon as possible after the emergency has occurred. In the event of two (2) or more consecutive days of absence due to illness during the capstone experience, a signed medical excuse must be provided. In the event of illness or injury that may affect the student’s ability to fully participate in the capstone experience, the student must also provide a medical release to return to full participation in the capstone experience.
- Holidays, Weekends, Inclement Weather, and Other Unforeseen Events
Students will adhere to the site specific policies and decisions regarding attendance during holidays, weekends, inclement weather or other unforeseen events that may require shut down of the site. If the site is closed during holidays and/or weekends, then the student should not anticipate to schedule onsite makeup time during those days. In the event of inclement weather or other unforeseen events where the site is open but the student cannot safely attend the site in person, the student is to contact their site mentor for alternative arrangements, such as virtual attendance. The capstone coordinator must also be notified of any change in scheduled attendance due to unforeseen events as soon as possible.
D. Dress Code
Professional attire is expected at all times. Students are expected to maintain the professional dress code of the Program when out on fieldwork, community or capstone experiences. Please refer to the E&H Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program Student Handbook for specifics. Students should collaborate with their site to dress appropriately, according to the requirements of their site, while still adhering to the professional dress code as outlined in the student handbook. Students should always wear a form of identification that designates their status as student, at a minimum their E&H name badges, but also any identification or badge provided by the site. Non-compliance may result in termination from the program. Students may consult with the capstone coordinator or their faculty mentor for clarification as needed. The following are absolutely NEVER permitted while attending the capstone experience:
- See-through or torn clothing, or any clothing that exposes undergarments, skin on midriff, cleavage, or buttocks while performing bending or squatting activities necessary during the capstone experience.
- Shorts and skirts that are shorter than knee-length. The ONLY exception for shorter shorts would be if students participate in a “summer camp” setting directly involved in summer camp activities such as water sports, but non-exposure must be guaranteed.
- Hats or caps unless participating in outdoor activities
- Open-toed shoes or shoes with heels greater than 2”
- Excessive jewelry, make up or perfume/cologne
- Long nails
- Cell Phone and Electronic Device Use
Students should refrain from cell phone usage while engaging with individuals during activities at their capstone site. Cell phone and electronic device usage should be restricted to periods when the student is engaging in administrative tasks. Cell phone and electronic device usage during scheduled work times must be directly related to capstone activities. Personal phone calls and other activities on electronic devices should be restricted to personal time.
- Social Media and Professional Networks
Professional networking and social media posts may be a necessary component of the capstone experience. Any professional networking or social media activity should occur through the site’s platforms and be pre-approved by the site mentor or their representative. Students should be cautious when utilizing social media during their capstone experience and always seek approval before posting anything on behalf of the site. All personal social media activity is prohibited. Students may not post on any personal social media platforms anything that identifies the capstone experience site or individuals at the site.
G. Use of Photo or Video
Students may not under any circumstances capture photographs or videos of the capstone experience site on their personal devices without prior approval of the site mentor. Students are prohibited from capturing photos or videos of any individuals who are served through the site on their personal devices. If photographs or videos of individuals are shared with the student, the student may not post those pictures or videos on their personal social media platforms even after the capstone experience has concluded. Any photographs or videos that the student may be required to capture as art of their capstone experience activities are to be done with equipment belonging to the site and are to remain in the possession of the site. Students must also obtain releases and written permission to use photos/videos or case information about clients with whom they work.
H. Confidentiality, Privacy, HIPAA
Students participating in a clinical setting should refer to the guidelines in their fieldwork manual as the same apply during capstone experiences. Students should always familiarize themselves with the facility’s patient rights policy. Individuals have the right to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect, and without discrimination by all students of occupational therapy from Emory & Henry College. Students must always identify themselves as students from EHC during contact with individuals. Please refer to the EHC OTD Fieldwork Manual for patient rights in a clinical setting.
It is the policy of the OTD Program that all client/student information is treated with the appropriate level of confidentiality regardless of HIPAA regulations. This includes but is not limited to, information shared during capstone experiences, labs, and lectures. To the greatest extent possible, patient/client releases should be obtained for images/videos and any information to be used in the academic/research setting. Students are always required to follow the policy on confidentiality of their fieldwork placement. Students who feel they have witnessed a violation of the confidentiality policy should contact their site mentor, capstone coordinator, or the course instructor depending on the setting of the incident. Students are allowed to discuss client cases with site mentors and academic faculty; however, cases should not be discussed in public places or with persons who have no need to know the information. Protecting the dignity and privacy of the client is a critical part of the development of professional behavior and is also required by HIPAA regulations. Students should also note that their supervisors, co-workers, and other students in the facility have a right to confidentiality and privacy. Use discretion when speaking of them out of their presence or disclosing information of a personal nature.
Section IX: Costs Related to the Doctoral Capstone Experience
The student is responsible for securing the site for their capstone experience. Students should consider their individual housing and transportation resources when selecting their site. During the student’s capstone experience, they may be at a site that is not within commuting distance of their school or residence. It is the sole responsibility of the student to arrange for their housing prior to the commencement of their capstone experience. Students should not rely on the possibility of completing onsite activities related to their capstone experience in a hybrid or virtual format because their place of residence is not within convenient commuting distance of their capstone site.
Students are expected to have a reliable means of transportation to and from classes and fieldwork and capstone experiences. The student is responsible for securing the site for their capstone experience. Students should consider their individual housing and transportation resources when selecting their site. A daily commute of up to 1 hour is not an unreasonable expectation, but some students may need to consider longer commutes. It is, therefore, imperative that the student budget for related transportation expenses.
Students are expected to maintain the professional dress code of the Program when out on fieldwork, community or capstone experiences. Students should collaborate with their site to dress appropriately, according to the requirements of their site, while still adhering to the dress code as outlined in the student handbook. Students should always wear a form of identification, at a minimum their E&H name badges, but also any identification or badge provided by the site. The cost of the student’s attire rests solely on the student.
Section X: Employment during the Doctoral Capstone Experience
The doctoral capstone experience is a 14-week (560 hour) course. This weekly expectation is based on full-time enrollment in the OTD904 Capstone Experience course. Students completing this experience in 14 weeks are strongly advised to not secure any form of employment during this time. In addition to the 40-hour per week capstone experience requirement, students will also be enrolled in the 3-credit hour OTD905 Capstone Project course. Students may not receive monetary compensation as an employee for any activities performed at the capstone site or related to their capstone experience. Some sites do however offer a stipend for internship opportunities, and the student may be eligible to receive this.
Section XI: Other Program Policies Related to the Doctoral Capstone Experience
A. Special Needs / Medical Conditions Disclosure
Emory & Henry College cannot discuss a student’s past academic or fieldwork performance with site mentors without a written release of information from the student. It is, therefore, the student’s responsibility to let the site mentor know if any accommodations are needed due to a disability. Faculty cannot discuss the academic progress and/or need for accommodations due to disability of a student unless a FERPA release form has been signed.
- Counseling Students with Difficulties during Capstone Experiences
Site- and faculty mentors and/or students should identify problems early to allow time for the student, site mentor, and faculty mentor and/or capstone coordinator to collaboratively discuss student performance and devise goals to foster the successful completion of the capstone experience. Through telephone consultation or on-site consultation with the site mentor and the student, the capstone coordinator may assist in identifying and clarifying issues related to the capstone experience. The capstone coordinator may also assist with the development of a plan to resolve capstone experience issues.
Students who need academic and/or personal counseling during the capstone experience are still eligible for the services offered at Emory & Henry College; however, geographic location for the fieldwork site may prohibit face-to-face access to these services. Some services may be available virtually, but if the student is in a placement not within driving distance to Emory & Henry College and they are seeking services that are not available virtually, he/she is encouraged to seek services in the local community.
B. Professional Liability Insurance
Emory & Henry College maintains liability for students who are on their fieldwork and capstone experiences. Students may choose to purchase additional liability insurance for their capstone experience. In the future students may be required to purchase this insurance.
C. Conflict of Interest
Students who receive tuition or other assistance from a facility in return for post-graduation employment should not complete their capstone experience at that site. This does not interfere with a student’s eligibility to receive a stipend. This will ensure consistent student role expectations and objective student evaluations. Additionally, students should not arrange to participate in a capstone experience under the direct supervision of a family member or close friend.
D. Student Health Reports / Clearances
The student must be aware of and meet all health and other requirements of the capstone experience site. This information will be shared with capstone site and faculty. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain and submit all required documentation to the capstone site.
Requirements may include but are not limited to:
- Proof of HIPAA training.
- Proof of completion of the Hepatitis B series or statement of declination.
- Proof of current TB screening.
- Proof of MMR vaccination or rubella immunizations.
- Healthcare Professional CPR. (Facility may have specific requirements.)
- Criminal background check. (May need a current background check at the time of capstone experience.)
- Drug screen. (May need a current drug screen at the time of capstone experience.)