The department of occupational science & occupational therapy is pleased to announce that Prof. Christie Welch has accepted a full-time teaching stream position, which includes an appointment as the department’s Graduate Coordinator.
In her role, Prof. Welch will be splitting her time between teaching courses, conducting research and supporting our current cohort of graduate students to ensure their success in the program.
Prof. Welch started teaching in the department in 2018 as a sessional instructor and became a part-time faculty member in 2020.
Prof. Welch has worked as an occupational therapist for more than 20 years and says that what she loves most about teaching future occupational therapists is rooted in what she loves about the profession. “Throughout my career, I have seen the ways that occupation can promote well-being. Meaningful occupation has been both my therapeutic medium and my goal. The knowledge and satisfaction I have derived from my clinical career is part of what I draw on when teaching future occupational therapists. It really energizes me.”
Over the years, Prof. Welch has seen our department change and adapt to prepare students for their future careers. She was part of the last cohort of 60 students to graduate from the bachelor’s program in 2001. The program has since evolved into a two-year master’s program welcoming 130 students each year.
Since returning to the department to teach, Prof. Welch has seen the program expand to the University of Toronto Mississauga campus, adding 40 students to the program. She taught throughout the pandemic and has supported students with the transition to online learning and back to in-person learning. She recognizes the challenges and changes students have experienced over the past several years but says this has also been an opportunity to do things differently in education – like looking for hybrid options to keep up with cultural shifts in how we approach work and education.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of supportive faculty members. Prof. Welch credits Prof. Patty Rigby, who was her professor, academic advisor and research project supervisor when she was in the bachelor’s program, for mentoring her and encouraging her to pursue her PhD. She says, “I remember what it meant to have someone who cared about me as a student, who cared about my future, and who believed I was capable of great things. I try to be that person for the students who come to me in my role as graduate coordinator.”