Message From The Chair

Dr. Sherrilene Classen provides an overview of the UF OT department.

Dr. Sherrilene Classen

Welcome to the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Florida!

The UF Department of Occupational Therapy is nationally renowned for its excellent programs in occupational therapy education and research, and is ranked 4th among all public universities in the nation.

Dr. Sherrilene Classen photo Play Video

The Department of Occupational Therapy (OT) has outstanding academic and training programs that include a combined Bachelor of Health Science to Occupational Therapy Doctorate, an entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate, a Post-Professional Certificate in Driver Rehabilitation Therapy, and a PhD in Rehabilitation Science. The department has federally funded programs in driving rehabilitation and community mobility, early childhood development, intellectual and/or learning disabilities, and aging in place. The department is a co-leader in the NIH-funded K12 Rehabilitation Research Career Development consortium and houses the Institute for Driving, Activity, Participation, and Technology. Our accomplishments, outlined below, are varied.

Ranked 4th among all public universities in the U.S.

UF Department of Occupational Therapy

Ranked #4

for its graduate program among public AAU universities by the U.S. News and World Report

The Department of Occupational Therapy:

  • was the first public university in Florida to offer an Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program (launched 2017)
  • launched the first combined Bachelor of Health Science to Occupational Therapy Doctorate (BHS-OTD) program in the country
  • launched the first and only university level Driver Rehabilitation Therapy (DRT) program in the United States
  • has for multiple consecutive years demonstrated a 100% pass rate of OT students on the NBCOT examination
  • has a rich history, with seminal leaders (Dr. Alice Jantzen, Dr. Lela Llorens), as past chairs
  • has a demonstrated international and national reputation for research excellence
  • has faculty members who are inducted into the American Occupational Therapy Foundation’s Academy of Research
  • has faculty members who are on the Roster of Fellows of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the Gerontological Society of America
  • is home to the Editor-in-Chief of our profession’s research journal: OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health
  • presents rigorous pedagogical programs, informed by best evidence and best practices, from the undergraduate to doctoral level
  • attracts and enrolls the best and the brightest students
  • boasts alumni in state and national occupational therapy leadership positions
  • showcases the annual Sandra Edwards Colloquium
  • provides lifelong learning opportunities via the online education program
  • promotes Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as a core value

In the past five years the OT Department has undergone transformational change: We have

  • tripled the number of our faculty
  • tripled the size of the Department
  • quadrupled our grant funding
  • expanded our academic programs from one to three
  • funded 12 OT PhD students in the RSD program
  • launched SmartDriver™- a clinical driver rehabilitation program for medically-at-risk drivers through the lifespan, in North Central Florida
  • successfully converted all our in-person classes to an online format

As you visit our site, we invite you to pay attention to our:

  • bold vision and mission
  • innovative research programs
  • collaborations with local, national and international stakeholders
  • creative pursuits in meeting the occupational demands and challenges of the 21st century
  • strategic actions to secure additional revenue streams
  • state of the art labs, infrastructure, support, equipment, and services
  • accolades of faculty, staff, and students

The best predictor of future success is past performance.  Even though we are dealing with the challenges brought on by the 2020 pandemic, as well as taking actions in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives to curb the effects of systemic racism and hate crimes, we are also celebrating our accomplishments over the past five years. Because of the continuous contributions of our committed faculty, excellent staff, supportive alumni, and bright students, we can only expect an incredible upwards trajectory—in all of our scholarly and academic endeavors—in the foreseeable future.


Sherrilene Classen, PhD, MPH, OTR/L, FAOTA, FGSA
Professor and Chair: Department of Occupational Therapy