About Debra C. Collette

Sometimes things that seem too good to be true actually are true.

For example, if you’re a caring person with an interest in science, there’s a career path waiting for you that pretty much offers a guaranteed job.

Okay, there is a bit of a catch. It requires completing your M.S. in the Occupational Therapy program at Sage (Bonus: Sage offers several undergraduate programs that link to the graduate program in Occupational Therapy and make it possible for eligible students to complete a bachelor’s degree and graduate degree in less time than it would take to pursue the degrees individually.)

The Occupational Therapy program has a record of 100% passing rate of certification exams, and 100% job placement.

Debra Collette, the program’s director and one of its professors, believes the prime reason for this success is that, “We hire faculty with extensive clinical experience who have a real passion for teaching.”

That certainly matches her own story. Professor Collette worked in occupational therapy, in a school environment, for 19 years. Finding that she loved mentoring students considering her profession, she pursued and earned a clinical doctorate and began teaching at Sage.

What most of her students have in common, she says, is that they are positive, caring and motivated. And, they like the idea that they’ll be helping people of all ages, from infants to the elderly, and they’ll be able to work in a variety of settings, from schools and hospitals to rehabilitation centers and nursing homes.

The Occupational Therapy master’s degree program is designed to be completed in two and a half years. Two years are spent on academics, with the final six months out in the field. The academics part includes work in well-equipped lab settings, and working with real people in the community with real medical issues. Research is also conducted by teams of students, leading to presentation and several publications of findings.

When the program is completed, Professor Collette says, students can choose to work practically anywhere they want. But maybe most important of all, she says, “They leave the program feeling confident and competent, ready to practice entry-level OT.”


Recent Courses Taught

OTH-616 Evaluation and Intervention: School-Based Practice and Lab
OTH-626 Level I Fieldwork: Pediatrics
OTH-512 Technology and Adaptations in OT Practice
OTH-617 Evaluation and Intervention: Early Intervention Settings and Lab
OTH-622 Fieldwork Seminar
OTH-514 Occupational Performance in Children and Youth and Lab
OTH 567- Research Methods for Health Professionals
OTH 669-Research Seminar I
OTH 670- Research Seminar II

Research Interest

Child Hand Development: Present Implications for Children’s Occupations, Doctoral Capstone, 2011
Doctoral- Child Hand Development: Present Complications for Children’s Occupations, Doctoral Capstone, Provo, UT, 2011

“We hire faculty with extensive clinical experience who have a real passion for teaching.”

Debra C. Collette

Associate Professor

Selected Publications

Collette, D., Anson, K., Halabi, N,. Schlierman, A., & Suriner, A., (2017) Handwriting and Common Core State Standards: Teacher, occupational therapist, and administrator perceptions from New York State public schools. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71, 7160220010 https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2017.021808

Educational Background

Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy, concentration in Pediatric Science, Rocky Mountain University
B.S. in Occupational Therapy, Utica College