Occupational Therapy Assistant Advisory Meeting Minutes

Oct. 27, 2022, 4-4:45 p.m.

Meeting place

Microsoft Teams


Yvonne Cosentino, O.T.D., O.T.R./L, OTA Program Director


Annual review of program effectiveness, student census and forum to collaborate with community stakeholders

Required Materials

Internet access for attending the Microsoft Teams meeting


You are invited to email ahead of the meeting with questions or other agenda items.


  1. Introductions – 4 p.m. – Introduce the OTA program director and new faculty member, introduce LLCC leaders and thank you to all attending stakeholders and students.
  2. Mission, Vision and Values – 4:05 p.m. – LLCC and OTA program mission, vision and values.
  3. Student Census - National Data – 4:10 p.m. – Cohort census and national enrollment data.
  4. Program Evaluation Data – 4:15 p.m. – Graduate and employer surveys, cohorts 2019-2021.
  5. Courses Assessment Data – 4:30 p.m. – Format for assessing course and program objective outcomes.
  6. Areas of Growth – 4:35 p.m. – New inter and intra-professional partnerships, NBCOT Exam. preparation materials, Exxat Education Management platform.
  7. Future Projects – 4:45 p.m. – DEI grant proposal, LLCC OTA community of practice Facebook group.
  8. Open Forum – 4:50 p.m. – Open meeting forum for collaboration and discussion.


1. Introductions

19 participants

Eight LLCC representatives

Yvonne Cosentino, O.T.D., O.T.R./L, OTA Program Director
Gretchen Conway, M.S.O.T., O.T.R./L, OTA Program Assistant Professor and Fieldwork Coordinator
Megan Corlas, M.A., C.O.T.A./L, OTA Adjunct Faculty Member
Dr. Vern Linquist, LLCC Vice President of Academic Services
Dr. Cynthia Maskey, LLCC Dean of Health Professions
Fabiola Gonzolez, LLCC OTA Student Success Coach
Kimberly Williams-Wilson, LLCC Recruitment Specialist
Jeffrey Martin, LLCC Workforce Recruitment Coordinator

11 community stakeholders

Nicole Thomas, Renewal Rehab, Vice President of Operations
Grace Newman, Renewal Rehab, Regional Director of Operations
Mark Estrop, McFarland Mental Health Center
Carla Sturdivant, Springfield School District OTA
Ann Short, Springfield School District OTA
Bethany Jose, Springfield School District 186 OTA
Peg Newby, Chatham School District 5 OTA
Kelsey Flack, Hillsboro Area Hospital OTA
Ali Traina, Memorial Medical Center, LLCC OTA Adjunct, OTR
Rebbecca Gwaltney, Illinois School for the Deaf, OTA
Baylie Moore, LLCC OTA Student

Absent members

Hirut Harris, SPS 186
Samantha Blimling, ISVI
Christina Murphy, BCSD5
Ethan Boren, Blessing Hospital
Jill Henson, MMC Home Health
Jessica Myer, Rochester School District
Theresa Armstrong, HSHS Home Health
Kelly Rogers, Mason District Hospital
Emily Foster, Lincoln Memorial Hospital
Janet Icenogle, ISVI
Danielle Rister, SASED

2. Mission, vision and values

Yvonne Cosentino identified the LLCC mission, vision and values followed by the OTA program mission statement:

“The occupational therapy assistant program at Lincoln Land Community College aims to graduate competent, entry-level healthcare professionals dedicated to the advocacy and provision of quality occupational therapy services.”

3. LLCC student census and national enrollment data

Yvonne Cosentino reported recent national trends in OT and OTA enrollment collected by the American Occupational Therapy Association Academic Leadership Councils and distributed at the fall meeting. LLCC OTA 2022, 2023 and 2024 cohort census data was also reported. 

Current LLCC OTA census:

  • OTA cohort 2022 = 11/16 students (69% enrollment capacity)
  • OTA cohort 2023 = 6/16 students (38% enrollment capacity)
  • OTA 2024 January start (potential 16 students. 11 admitted, five pending)

Nationwide OTA enrollment:

  • OTA enrollment is down 20% since 2016, with a 14% drop since the pandemic started in 2020.
  • Combined OTA/OT education enrollment is reduced by 18%
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects health professions job sector growth at 13% 

4. Program Evaluation Data

Yvonne Cosentino summarized the information collected from graduate and employer surveys for cohorts 2019. 2020, and 2021. The information was organized by domain and reported using a Likert scale from “Very Satisfied” to “Dissatisfied.” Strategic action plans were identified for each domain.

NBCOT Domain 1: Collaborating and gathering information. 

  • 60% of students were satisfied-very satisfied
  • 35% of students were moderately satisfied
  • 5% of students were dissatisfied
Strategic action plan:
  • Core faculty are on campus daily and teach all courses with less reliance on adjunct faculty.
  • AOTA/NBCOT resources are embedded into core coursework.
  • An intra-professional OTS/OTAS collaboration education partnership with Elmhurst University Master’s level OT students has been developed for a five-week fall semester case study activity with first year LLCC OTA students.
  • LLCC has purchased NBCOT study tools for exam prep and a study group has been developed for the final semester students.
  • The new program director is a local therapist with a network of professional relationships created over the past 27 years in the area.

NBCOT Domain 2: Selecting and implementing interventions.

  • 63% of students were satisfied-very satisfied
  • 31% of students were moderately satisfied
  • 6% of students were dissatisfied
Strategic action plan:
  • Addition of embedded inter-professional collaboration education experiences with the LLCC nursing program instructors and use of the mannequin and hospital simulation labs.
  • Additional intra-professional collaboration education partnerships are in development for the spring semester with Baylor University hybrid master’s of OT program and Chicago State University master's of OT program.
  • All courses now include AOTA knowledge links to practice guidelines and toolkits when available.
  • A LLCC Community of Practice Facebook page is in development for promoting regional networking and scholarly activities with focus on translating evidence-based intervention knowledge into practice. 

NBCOT Domain 3: Upholding professional standards and responsibilities by achieving service competence and applying evidence-based interventions to promote quality in practice. 

  • 44% of students were satisfied-very satisfied
  • 38% of students were moderately satisfied
  • 18% of students were dissatisfied
Strategic action plan:
  • Research project assignments have been added to all intervention courses.
  • Additional AOTA OTA/OT role delineation information has been added to coursework and addition of intra-professional collaboration education experiences reinforce learning.
  • The AOTA Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Toolkit has been incorporated to the Service Management course.
  • Students are encouraged to become active in OT legislation and are introduced to the American Occupational Therapy political Action Committee in the Service Management Course.
  • NBCOT scholarship activities are encouraged through frequent visits to their NBCOT accounts to access study tools provided free of charge through the LLCC OTA program.

Domain 4: Fieldwork – How satisfied were you with the variety and practice setting choices for your Level II fieldwork experiences? How well were you supported by LLCC faculty during FW?

  • 77% were satisfied-very satisfied
  • 22% were moderately satisfied
  • <1% were dissatisfied
Strategic action plan:  
  • The OTA program has purchased and implemented the Exxat Education Management Program for Health Sciences to maintain all student information and requirements for fieldwork in one online location.
  • Students can choose and prioritize up to three fieldwork sites per rotation.
  • Student assessments are maintained through Exxat for secure access.
  • New field work partnerships have been added through large corporations offering more sites throughout the state and closer to student homes.
  • Additional practice activities have been added to intervention courses including access to the LLCC daycare for a feeding skills lab and developmental testing activities; first year students perform group activities at McFarland Mental Health Center; additional experiences in the community to prepare for field work.
Employer survey results:

Employers were asked to rate the LLCC employee entry level OTA skills in the areas of professional behaviors; clinical competence; documentation skills; billing with adherence to state/federal guidelines, standards of practice and ethical responsibilities; and motivation to seek scholarly activities for professional growth, building evidence-based practice skills and translation of knowledge into practice.

  • 100% of employers were satisfied-very satisfied for all areas of OTA graduate performances.

5. Course assessment data

Yvonne Cosentino summarized the method for collecting, analyzing and using course and program assessment data using the LLCC Health Professions format. The timeline for course assessment is two weeks post-semester, and the data is evaluated on a three-cycle basis. 

6. Areas of growth

Yvonne Cosentino identified the following areas of growth: 

  • Added an inter-professional partnership with the LLCC Nursing program instructors for OTA student training using the hospital simulation labs and mannequins.
  • Added a virtual intra-professional collaboration unit with Elmhurst University Masters level OT students to perform a collaborative case study including evaluation, intervention plan, documentation, analysis and plan revisions throughout the month of November for our first-year program students.
  • Developed a final semester second year student study group with LLCC purchased NBCOT certification exam preparation materials.
  • Introduced the Exxat Health Education Management Platform for managing student fieldwork documentation, information regarding sites and a choice system for more student involvement when selecting fieldwork sites.

7. Future projects

Yvonne Cosentino introduced two current LLCC OTA projects in development including:

  1. With the assistance of LLCC Public Relations and Marketing, an LLCC OTA Community of Practice Facebook Group is being developed to provide a platform for professional networking, sharing of evidence-based knowledge and bridging the gap to translate knowledge into interventions and practice.
  2. The OTA program is applying for an innovation in diversity, equity and inclusion grant to increase awareness of the occupational therapy assistant program for recruiting a diverse OTA student population. The grant proposes student-run and faculty-supervised OT wellness programming for marginalized populations in surrounding communities including after-school activities to develop social, emotional and academic readiness skills for school-aged children.

8. Open forum

The meeting was opened to all attendees for questions, comments and suggestions.  

  • Nicole Thomas, Renewal Rehab VP of operations, reported that her company is pleased with LLCC OTA graduates they have hired. She reported that the LLCC graduates are prepared for entry-level work, learn procedures quickly and meet company expectations for professional behaviors, clinical skills and documentation. Renewal rehab employ many LLCC OTA graduates across the region.
  • Mark Estrop, McFarland Mental Health Center, reported that his facility is pleased to welcome back OTA students for a four-week group protocol activity that provides group interventions for up to 30 residents. He shared that long-term residents look forward to these activities and that all student groups have met resident and DHS facility expectations. Mark also provided a personal testimony of his experience with an LLCC OTA graduate who worked with a family member and provided high quality care in a professional and encouraging manner.
  • No further comments, questions or suggestions were received.
  • Yvonne Cosentino reminded all attendees that they can email a comment, question or suggestion at any time.


  • The meeting was adjourned at 4:43 p.m.