MOT program welcomes new leadership team
Associate Professor Sarah Smidl and Assistant Professor Judi Malek-Ismail have been named interim chair and associate chair of the Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) Program in Radford University's Waldron College of Health and Human Services (WCHHS).
Smidl and Malek-Ismail are joined in the program’s leadership team by Assistant Professor Sheila Krajnik who takes over as the graduate program coordinator. Professor and Founding Chair Douglas Mitchell retired this summer.
“At this important time, we are glad to elevate two such dedicated practitioners and educators to the MOT leadership team and our Waldron College leadership,” said WCHHS Dean Kenneth Cox.
Smidl came to Radford in 2011 after practicing locally and earning her Ph.D. at Virginia Tech and Malek-Ismail joined the MOT faculty in 2012 from Barry University.
"We look forward to helping build upon the foundation that Dr. Mitchell established for this program,” said Smidl. “He is responsible for building a vibrant, engaging program. He established it, led it to its first accreditation, helped earn the recent 10-year accreditation and assembled a dedicated faculty and enthusiastic students."
Malek-Ismail reflected on Mitchell’s influence on the MOT program’s focus.
“He brought a strong interest in community-based practice and service that helps teach and grow occupational therapists who provide valuable service to rural communities,” Ismail said.
The MOT program began in 2008 and graduated its first cohort of 10 in 2011. In 2017, 20 master’s candidates in occupational therapy graduated. The program currently has more than 60 graduate students in three cohorts and almost 150 Radford-trained OT clinicians now practice in a variety of settings from Florida to Alaska, according to Smidl.
“We are looking forward to working with our Jefferson College of Health Sciences (JCHS) colleagues to develop our master’s programs at two locations, a baccalaureate OT Assistant program and the online post-professional doctorate program,” said Smidl of the impending merger between Radford and JCHS. “Our combined faculty has expertise in different areas and we are eager to develop our programs so that our graduates can better serve clients of all ages by helping them improve their qualities of life through meaningful activities and daily living.”