R(1) you ready to be in academia?: A Doctoral Capstone in Academia

The purpose of my capstone was to get a “deep dive” into academia, specifically, the balance and rigor of teaching and conducting research at a R1 institution.

Student name: Allison Doerpinghaus
Name of Mentor: Karla Ausderau
School: Washington University in St. Louis
Setting and location: Academia, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Virtual / In-person / Hybrid: Virtual

I did my OTD to have the skills and preparation to be involved in academia but this capstone allowed me to expand those skills even further.

The capstone was designed into three separate arenas, very similar to the requirements of teaching at an R1 institution: teaching, research, and professional development/advanced learning.

Teaching: I co-instructed a post-professional OTD virtual course with my mentor. I was responsible for grading assignments, monitoring discussion boards, attending class, and developing/overhauling syllabus to reflect diverse and relevant content. Participating in an online journal club (somewhat modeled after OTPotential) was one of the assignments I created. :slight_smile:

Research: I supported one of my mentor’s current research projects, which was a PCORI-funded project centered on research engagement for adults with IDD.

Professional Development: I participated in several virtual workshops through the teaching and learning center on campus. I presented at and attended several virtual conferences (my capstone occurred during the Fall of 2020 so everything was online). I also developed, conducted, and presented on a “teaching-as-research project” on perceived clinical confidence in PP-OTD students through innovative and collaborative small group virtual activities.

I LOVED my capstone so very VERY much—SO much that I started a PhD with my mentor in this line of scholarship. I felt like my OTD curriculum at WashU gave me a solid foundation of teaching but this experience really showed me my talents and areas of growth and highlighted how much I want to be involved in academia.

Ideas for next steps to build on this topic:
Truthfully, there isn’t a lot to build upon from this project. That being said, I think there is a lot of space and benefit for students to be involved in academic-centric capstones - I can’t recommend it enough!

2-3 tips for students undertaking a similar project:

  1. For students interested in academia-focused capstones, make sure you are clear on your “why”. Is there something more you want to learn about teaching/research?
  2. Be okay with flexibility and unknowns - my capstone was completely flipped upside down because of the pandemic. I was supposed to be helping with an in-person 200 level course for undergrads as an introduction to OT and instead I assisted with the evidence-based practice online course for post-professional OTD students. Academia is FILLED with unknowns and it’s great to get familiar with them. :slight_smile:

Deliverables (link when applicable):

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What a great topic for you, @allison5! I loved looking at your website. Did you learn anything from your online journal club experience that I should incorporate into the OT Potential Club?

Totally missed this comment - sorry, Sarah!

Students were “forced” ( :slight_smile: ) to not only craft an online/written recap of their article but also create a 3-5 minute verbal review, like a podcast! I felt like it was important to include both of these options for two reasons. One, it engages students with different learning styles/preferences (audio vs. visual). Two, it forces/encourages students to participate in an unfamiliar medium and really helps students to hone their ability to effectively and succinctly verbalize the main points of an article which is an important skill - especially for the clinical world!

As far as integration into OT Potential club, I’m not sure what new info would be helpful as I really modeled the assignment off the club! :slight_smile: I do think intentional efforts to engage and embrace different learning styles (audio, visual, etc.) really helps to craft an inclusive and welcoming scholarly environment!

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Follow-up thought! I’m super super SUPER passionate about inclusive and accessible research. A big part of my lab and my research is inclusion of self-advocates in our work - actually, my very first first-authorship article came out on Friday and features 3 co-authors who self-identify as being Autistic and/or having intellectual disability. :slight_smile:

One thing that we have integrated into our lab (which was developed and inspired by a working group of self-advocates and autistic adults) is an Easy Read Summary (ERS). Somewhat similar to what we do in the club, we craft one to two-page summaries on articles that we write or that are relevant to our lab. All of our articles that we publish include an ERS with publication and/or on our website so ALL individuals can read, digest, and engage with research!

I’ve linked the ERS section of our lab website/blog here as a shameless plug (I’m in charge of the blog/website and quite proud :sparkles:) : https://ausderau.waisman.wisc.edu/easy-read-article-summaries/

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Wow, @allison5! I just went super deep into this website! Great work!!

I love that I got to see pics of you on the blog! (I’m jealous of your Inspire trip!)

Now, I’m plugging your upcoming article too, because it is so good! Here is the direct link for anyone who finds this thread :slight_smile:

You are so kind - thank you, Sarah! I think one of my favorite parts of this publication is the featuring of three self-advocate co-authors. I think in all of our work in academia and the various ways in which we are advancing evidence-based practice, if we are not intentionally including diverse co-authors or co-presenters, then we are not doing what we preach! There are so many ways to meaningfully include co-authors with IDD on articles that are written about them - puts a whole new meaning to the disability rights slogan “not about us without us”…

Inspire was so fun - you should totally do a meet-up (if you’re going) to WFOT or AOTA conference next year! I would totally join :slight_smile:

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You BETCHA I’ll be in Kansas City next year!

And, I love your emphasis on this slogan: