Barbara A. Boyt Schell, PhD, OT/L, FAOTA


Barbara Schell PortraitAssociate Dean, College of Health and Science

Professor and Director, School of Occupational Therapy

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Dr. Barbara Schell is the founding Chair of the Department (now School) of Occupational Therapy at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia. She received her undergraduate degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Florida, her M.S. in Business Management from the University of South Florida, and her PhD in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. In her career she has worked as a clinician, manager, administrator, consultant and educator. Dr. Schell has made over 100 presentations at local, regional and national meetings. She has written numerous publications related to occupational therapy management, professional development and clinical reasoning and has served on the editorial boards of both the American Journal of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Therapy in Health Care. Dr. Schell is co-editor (with her husband, John) of Clinical and Professional Reasoning in Occupational Therapy. She is the lead editor of Willard & Spackman’s Occupational Therapy 12th edition.


Dr. Schell’s current scholarship is focused on occupation-based practice and the connections among professional reasoning, practice and therapy outcomes. She is finalizing studies of a fidelity tool, the occupational therapy intervention scale (OTIS) for occupation-based interventions which will assist in describing the nature of interventions that therapists use in practice.


Throughout her career, Barbara has been active in local and state organizations, as well as the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). She has served as a member of the AOTA Representative Assembly, founding member and past Chair of the AOTA Administrative & Management Special Interest Section, past Chair of the AOTA Special Interest Sections Steering Committee as well as the Chair of the AOTA Commission on Continuing Competence and Professional Development. She has also served as a member of the AOTA Executive Board. She is a Fellow of the Association and recipient of numerous other service and recognition awards.  Most recently she received Brenau University’s Ann Austin Johnston Outstanding Faculty Award for 2012.


On a personal level, Dr. Schell is married to Dr. John Schell, and together they share two children and six grandchildren. She enjoys the creative arts, including watercolors, clay and creative writing and journaling. The outdoors is her greatest healing sanctuary, and she take frequent walks with her dog. She is also a golfer when time and weather permits.



General inquiries:, (770) 534-6299 or (800) 252-5119 | Admissions:, (770) 534-6100 or (800) 252-5119 ext. 6100