Amy Gerney, OTD, OTR/L Program Director, Occupational Therapy
OTD, Thomas Jefferson University
MOT, Temple University, Occupational Therapy
BS, Utica College of Syracuse University, Occupational Therapy
Certificate in Distance Education, University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Office location: SMRC 234
Office phone: (610) 625.7205
My teaching philosophy is congruent with the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Philosophy of Professional Education in several ways.
As an occupational therapist, I believe in the power of doing. I believe that the most effective learning takes place when students are actively engaged with the content. I believe that in order for students to learn, the learning experience must be personally relevant so I view my ability to weave professional examples with the content as essential in helping students make connections. I typically ask students to jot down what they hope to learn in my classes and at some point during the semester, I pull these out and review them with the students. I believe that this helps shift the responsibility of learning onto the student who become their own architects of learning which helps lay the foundation for lifelong independent learning.
Different content calls for different teaching methodologies. Being flexible to teach using a vast array of methods that are best suited for particular content is the hallmark of an effective educator. Allowing the students to take responsibility for their own learning while seeing myself as more of a guide on the side has been a rewarding experience for me. Shifting my teaching strategies in upper level courses to asking the right questions rather than providing all the content has shown me that the rewards in teaching come more from the process of self discovery.
I believe that feedback is a two-way street. To the extent possible for any given course, I like to allow students to influence the learning process and feel empowered. Midway through the semester, I typically ask students to complete an anonymous survey that asks them what they’d change about the course if they could make one change. This allows me to make adjustments to the course in order to more effectively meet the student’s needs. In this way, I see myself as a collaborator with the students.
I am intrigued with the process of clinical reasoning and place an emphasis on the ability of students to think through problems. My final exams typically offer new and novel scenarios that students have never seen before because it is the transference to this new and novel situation that is a true measure of a student’s ability to make clinical decisions.
I am a proponent of writing across the curriculum. I believe that writing is an important skill and that it is the responsibility of all faculty to facilitate the development of this skill in all students. I am a firm believer in formative assignments and frequently require students to write multiple drafts of a major written assignment which creates an environment where students can be successful.
I like to make learning fun. I use You-Tube videos (even for final exams) as this is a reflection of the culture of today’s occupational therapy learner. I try to create stress-free testing situations where students can demonstrate their competency in a relaxed atmosphere. I have used the flip video so that students could demonstrate competency with course objectives in a relaxed atmosphere where I later reviewed and graded the videos.
Occupational therapy education is competency based. There are ACOTE standards that influence the curriculum. Course objectives need to be covered and the occupational therapy educator needs to be held accountable to these objectives. It is in concert with other faculty members, that the curriculum comes together to enable students to be competent occupational therapy practitioners ready to meet today’s demands. As an occupational therapy educator, I see myself as very much a team player, rather than an island. It’s the academic discourse with my colleagues, the periodic review of course content and outcomes, and continual reassessment of the occupational therapy program in concert with other faculty members that operationalizes the self reflection that is critical to today’s occupational therapy educator.
Dr. Amy Gerney, OTD, OTR/L, has been an occupational therapist for over 25 years. Dr. Gerney’s clinical experience includes home health, hospice, and geriatrics. She is an entrepreneur, has worked for Holy Redeemer Visiting Nurses in Philadelphia, Residential Home Health Services of Lycoming County, Manor Care in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and has volunteered for various organizations including Kids Making It—an organization providing woodworking programs to at-risk and court-adjudicated teenagers in the Wilmington, North Carolina area. Dr. Gerney has over 15 years of experience teaching in the field of Occupational Therapy and has a special interest in the online learning environment (hybrid) where she creates learning environments and opportunities for students to become lifelong autonomous learners.
Dr. Gerney has published three chapters in Lifestyle Performance: A Model for Engaging the Power of Occupation and one chapter in Designing Problem-Driven Instruction with Online Social Media. She has published in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, and has presented at the American Occupational Therapy Association and local conferences.