The Marian Ross Lectureship

3rd Annual Marian Ross Lectureship
Friday, October 5, 2018
Sue Baptiste, Dip. (OT), MHSc

Sue Baptiste

Sue Baptiste taught in the Faculty of Health Sciences and the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster for many years becoming a tenured Professor in 1998. She completed her basic preparation as an occupational therapist in the UK. She focused much of her academic work on faculty development, organizational cultural change, ongoing professional competence plus curriculum design and development.Baptiste served as President for the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists from 2010 through 2012 and Vice President for the World Federation of Occupational Therapists from 2012 through 2018.Baptiste is known particularly for her work as one of a team of six occupational therapists who developed the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM), an outcome measure used in over 40 countries and translated into 34 languages currently. She has also consulted around the world on curriculum development and problem-based learning, working with many professions including medicine, dentistry, naturopathy, chiropractic, physiotherapy, nursing, veterinary medicine, border services, police forces and many others.

Baptiste’s current research addresses three key areas: 1) acculturation of migrant populations, 2) inter-cultural communication in inter-professional environments, and 3) exploration of emerging practice directions and roles for occupational therapy.

She retired (officially) at the end of December 2017 as an emerita professor; she continues her work with internationally educated occupational therapists as well as her consultations, speaking engagements, and academic writing.


The Marian Ross Lectureship was established in 2016 by the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) to honor the program’s first director, Marian Q. Ross. Named after the program’s founding chairperson, this lectureship is awarded to an individual that possesses the qualities Mrs. Ross personified; professionalism, leadership, and fortitude.

In 1970, UCA established the occupational therapy program and was the first institution of higher learning in Arkansas to offer a four-year degree in occupational therapy.  According to Jimmy Bryant, UCA archivist, the program was created following a study of the need for occupational therapy practitioners in Arkansas.  When the study was conducted in the late 1960’s, it was discovered that only 38 colleges and universities in the United States offered degrees in occupational therapy.  Furthermore, there were only 14 registered occupational therapists in Arkansas at the time.  Mrs. Ross was hired to serve as chairperson of the department in 1970, the first African American to chair a department at UCA.

Mrs. Ross came to UCA with an impressive resume.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in home economics in 1949 from Central State College in Wilberforce, Ohio and a Master of Arts in home economics in 1951 from Teachers College of Columbia University.  In 1957 she received an Occupational Therapy Certification from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University.  She also engaged in doctoral work at Ohio State University and the University of Arkansas.  She held numerous leadership positions prior to making her mark at UCA.  In June 1972, seven students were granted admission to the first academic program in occupational therapy in the state of Arkansas.

Bryant reported the Accreditation Committee of the American Occupational Therapy Association voted to recommend to the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association that the educational program in occupational therapy offered on the baccalaureate degree level at the State College of Arkansas be granted accreditation.  In the report, Mrs. Ross was commended for her strong leadership and commitment to the forward thinking in the profession regarding professional education.  Mrs. Ross retired in 1991 leaving an indelible mark on the university, the program, graduates, and the profession.

Past Lectureships

2017 Kenneth J Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR
2016 Robin E Bowen, EdD, OTR, FAOTA