Building the Capacity of the Next-Generation Philippine Occupational Therapy Academic Workforce: Insights from an Occupational Profile Study

Keywords: academic workforce, occupational therapy educators, academic career


Background. Occupational therapy (OT) academic educators are vital in building the workforce and advancing the profession. With the retirement of senior faculty, hiring of new OT faculty members have increased. There have also been changes in national and global policy guidelines in OT education. These changes have brought forth a compelling need to examine the profile of Filipino OT educators. To this date, there has been no formal analysis of the Philippine OT academic education workforce. A study aiming at understanding this profile is important to inform OT educators, administrators, and policymakers on the development of strategic approaches that may address their needs and help build the capacity of this workforce.

Objectives. We aimed to establish an occupational profile of OT educators in the Philippines and to recommend capacity-building strategies for next-generation Filipino OT educators.

Methods. A cross-sectional survey was conducted using the Adaptation Process in Academia Questionnaire. OT educators were recruited through their institutional affiliations.

Results. Ninety (53%) of the estimated 170 educators participated in the study, representing 16 schools with OT programs in the country. The median age is 26 years, majority female, and single. The academic profile shows that the majority have a bachelor’s as their highest educational degree, work part-time, hold the instructor rank, nontenured, and have been in academia for 5+ years. Teaching is the primary role, and >50% of the time is spent on teaching tasks. The most frequently experienced challenges are balancing multiple roles and the need to develop competence in research skills. Most effective institutional resources are the availability of teaching resources and orientation programs. Excellent communication between university management and academic staff and the opportunity to participate in decision-making are perceived to be the most useful relationship support. Productivity in teaching is higher than in research and service.

Conclusion. The current OT academic workforce based on this study is young, in the early career stage, and expected to assume many roles, primarily teaching. They are most challenged in balancing multiple roles and how to advance their academic careers. Institutional resources and relationship supports are available but need to be reinforced and accessed. Strategic initiatives to build capacity include the development of communities of practice, increasing research engagement and productivity, increasing access to professional development programs, and faculty development initiatives.

Author Biographies

Maria Concepcion C. Cabatan, University of the Philippines Manila College of Allied Medical Professions

Professor of Occupational Therapy

Lenin C. Grajo, Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Columbia University

Director, Post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

Assistant Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy

Erlyn A. Sana, University of the Philippines Manila National Teacher Training Center for the Health Professions

Professor of Health Professions Education