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


Barbara Schell PortraitAssociate Dean, College of Health and Science

Professor and Director, School of Occupational Therapy

w (678) 705-5007


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.


Recent Publications


Senior Editor (in collaboration with Gillen & Scaffa) , Willard & Spackman’s Occupational Therapy, 12th Edition (2014)

  • Authored or co-authored 6 chapters listed below
    • Contemporary OT Practice: United States & Worldwide, Schell, Scaffa, Gillen, and Cohn
    • Individual Variance: Body Structures and Functions, Schell, Gillen, Scaffa and Cohn
    • Analyzing Occupations and Activity, Schell, Gillen, Scaffa and Crepeau
    • Overview of Occupational Therapy Process and Outcomes, Chisolm and Schell
    • Professional Reasoning, Schell
    • Overview of Evaluation, Intervention and Outcomes for Occupations, Gillen and Schell
    • Overview of Theory Guided Interventions, Schell & Gillen

Cohn, E. Schell, B & Crepeau, E. (2010). Occupational therapy as reflective practice. In N. Lyons (Ed.) Handbook of Reflection & Reflective Inquiry. New York: Springer

Schell, B.A. &  Schell, J.W. (Eds) (2008) Clinical and Professional Reasoning in Occupational Therapy. Philadelphia,PA: Walters Kluwer/Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Chapters in this book

  • Preface- Barbara & John Schell
  • Professional Reasoning as the Basis of Practice  -B.A.B  Schell & J.W. Schell
  • Embodiment: Reasoning with the Whole Body  B.A.B  Schell & D. Harris
  • Interactive and Conditional Reasoning: A Process of Synthesis- B.A.B  Schell
  • Teaching for Expert Practice- J.W. Schell & B.A.B  Schell
  • Communities of Practice- A Curricular Model that Promotes Professional Reasoning- J.W. Schell & B.A.B  Schell
  • Theory and Practice: New Directions for Research in Professional Reasoning – B.A.B  Schell, C.A. Unsworth & J.W. Schell
  • Bibliography of Clinical and Professional Reasoning-B.A.B Schell & B. Hooper



AOTA-CCCPD- Guidelines for Re-Entry into the Field of Occupational Therapy, Adopted by the Representative Assembly, April, 2011.

 Schell, Barbara A Boyt  (December 20, 2010) Giving and Receiving: The Role of Volunteer Service in Professional Development. Continuing Competence column for Occupational Therapy Practice

AOTA-CCCPD (2010)- Standards of Continuing Competence,  American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Nov

Schultz-Krohn, W, & Schell, B.A.B. (Sep 13, 2010) Continuing competence: Board and specialty certification 101.  Continuing Competence column for Occupational Therapy Practice

Schell, BAB  (July 12, 2010) Continuing competence: Re-entry guidelines for occupational therapy practitioners Continuing Competence column for Occupational Therapy Practice

Winifred Schultz-Krohn & Schell, Barbara A Boyt (Feb 8, 2010). Don’t Go It Alone: Mentorship and Evidence Based Practice.  Continuing Competence column for Occupational Therapy Practice


Publications from Student Thesis work

Randles, N.; Randolph, E.  Schell, B., Grant, S. (2004) The examination of the impact of Occupational Therapy on the health and valued activities of adults with osteoporosis.  OT and PT in Geriatrics.22 (2) 36-56

 Crenshaw, W.;Gillian, M.L.;Kidd, N.; Olivo, J.;Schell, B.A.B (2001).  Assisted living residents’ perspectives of their occupational performance concerns.  Activities, Adaptation & Aging,  26(1), 41-55.


Student Thesis Supervised 


Relationships among occupational therapy professional reasoning, action, and  outcomes: A methodological pilot study: Jonathan Bullen, Catherine Cox, Aryn Sprouse, Tonee Willingham


Validation Of The Tracy Young Dynamic Assessment Of Vision (Tydav) Within A  Population Of  Drivers With Acquired Brain Injuries

Exploring Executive Function Skills Of Survivors Of Domestic Violence During Typical Occupational Therapy Sessions


The Post Rehabilitation Needs of Young Adults with Acquired Brain Injury. Kishaun Rashida Burns, Kristen Jean Hermann, Nicole Robyn Sonnier, Jessica Kali Williams


Participation in interactive video games for hand therapy:  A client/therapist perspective by Amy Burnette

The Effectiveness of the Wii Game System in UE Rehabilitation by Clara Hibbs & Melissa Hood

The Balancing Act: Exercise vs. Wii for LE Rehabilitation by Alivia Conti, Courtney Modesitt &  Emilie Johnson


Managerial Influence on Occupational Therapy Practice and Intervention: A Qualitative Study of Two Outpatient Neurological Rehabilitation Settings.  Melissa Ford, Allison Nethery Catherine Nettles, & Staci Rosing


Occupation-Based Intervention:  A Case Study Analysis Of The Use Of Occupation In Practice  by J. Lauren Barber, Rachel W. Fleming, Dreamella Furgerson & Kirsten M. Protos

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Safe Movement Training for Changing Activity Behavior, for Individuals with Osteoporosis by Cheri Baumgartner,  Melissa Best & Brittney Freeman


The Effectiveness Of Occupational Therapy in Improving Life Skills and Satisfaction In Female High School Adolescents  by Hoskin, Q;  Ray, M.J.;  Swena, R..

Therapists’ Sensory Processing And Its Influence Upon Occupational Therapy Interventions In Children With Autism by Dana Harris


The Relationship between Typically Developing Preschoolers’s In-Hand Manipulation Skills and Play by Crump, B.’ Gilbert, A., Smith, K.

The Examination of the Impact of Occupational Therapy on the Health and Valued Activities of Adults with Osteoporosis by Randles, N.; Randolph, E.


Occupational Therapy Interventions and Functional Outcomes in Stroke Rehabilitation by Pearson, C., Pickard, T., Sermersheim, H.  & Simpson, M.

The Influence of Payment on Effectiveness of Biomechanical vs. Occupation-Enhanced Intervention for Adults with Upper Extremity Injuries s by Kamber, J., Roebuck, C. &  Wilson, C.


An Examination of Occupation-Based vs. Non-Occupation-Based Interventions in Hand Therapy by Maddox, McDonald, Quinn & Walker

A Description of the Nature of Occupational Therapy Interventions for Patients with Hemiparesis by Cotton, Jameson, Tise & Verwers


Assisted Living Residents’ Perspectives of Their Occupational Performance Concerns by Crenshaw, Gillian, Kidd & Olivo

Perceived Occupational Performance Concerns in a Battered Women’s Shelter by Black, Knight, Waldon & Webb


Occupational  Therapist’s and Their Patient’s Perspectives of Occupation Centered Treatment, by  Hashem, Henry, Lobel & Williams

The Use of the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure in Collaborative Goal Setting by Alexander, Bentz & Broach