The image of a tree seemed like a natural fit to show how the professional and educational conceptual elements of the framework work together.
Just as a tree in a forest is fully integrated into its ecosystem, so too is our Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program integrated within our local and regional contexts. Our program is further integrated with our national and international educational and professional systems, through research and educational and professional initiatives, collaborations, and responsibilities.
Through using an image inspired by nature to communicate our framework, we are being purposeful in acknowledging diverse ways of knowing. Conceptual framework imagery often reflects and privileges Western ways of knowing and beliefs about knowledge. Such imagery often shows separated, segmented, and decontextualized elements within a framework. The MOT Tree seeks to honour notions of integration and holism, while defining the contextualised elements of our framework.
Finally, the image of a tree seemed quite intuitive, as an often-cited attraction to our UBC Vancouver Campus is our spectacular natural surroundings – old growth forests, the Pacific Ocean, and mountain vistas are visible from across our campus. Thus, the MOT Tree as a visual image for our professional and educational conceptual framework recognizes the natural beauty of the land on and around UBC Vancouver Campus; land which is the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam Nation.
Symbolism in the MOT Tree
- The circle that the MOT Tree is embedded within represents how the program is connected to its context: UBC, local and regional contexts, national and global contexts.
- Surrounding the tree are the blue of the water and sky and brown of the roots and soil that provide nourishment to the tree; these symbolize the program’s beliefs about occupation, health, occupational therapy, and social justice.
- At the base of the MOT Tree, there are five defined roots. These roots represent the four educational theories (transformative learning theory, critical pedagogy, cognitive load theory, and constructivism) and the principles of universal design for learning that comprise the educational element of the conceptual framework.
- Through participating in the curriculum anchored in the program’s core beliefs, and with teaching and learning practices designed in line with the key educational theories and universal design for learning, students graduate from the program having achieved the seven key program outcomes, as symbolised by the seven highlighted MOT Tree leaves: advocate, professional, scholar, enabler of occupation, change agent, communicator, and researcher.