Virginia Dickie, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA

Virginia Dickie

Associate Professor, Director, Division of Occupational Science
Phone: (919)-966-2452
Fax: (919)-966-9007


• Ph.D. (Anthropology) Wayne State University, 1996
• M.S. (Occupational Therapy) Wayne State University, 1978
• B.S. (Occupational Therapy) University of Wisconsin—Madison, 1964

Personal Statement

A basic understanding of occupation is an essential element for an occupation based approach to occupational therapy. I have chosen to use my anthropology training in ethnography to study whole occupations, i.e., not only how individuals complete occupations, but how these occupations are part of a much larger situation that includes social, economic, political, and environmental elements. Since coming to North Carolina, I have focused on contemporary quilt making occupations, and have collaborated with my colleagues Malcolm Cutchin and Ruth Humphry to develop a transactional theory of occupation, applying John Dewey’s theory to data and experiences from the range of our research activities. My research methods are qualitative, and recently I have added qualitative work in the area of sensory experiences of children with autism, a research program directed by Grace Baranek.

Courses Taught

  • OCCT 826 Occupational Science I
  • OCCT 842 Historical Evolution of Occupational Therapy and Science
  • OCCT 890 Applied Research Experience
  • OCCT 750 Occupations, Adaptation, and Technology
  • OCSC 890 Doctoral Seminar in Occupational Science

Research/Clinical Interests

  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Occupation (Study of Quilt Making)
  • Occupational Science Theory
  • Adult Mental Health

Recent Publications

Dickie, V. (Submitted). Occupational Profile: Marga de Bruijn, Mother/home maker, occupational therapist, quilt maker to quilt artist.

Dickie, V., Baranek, G., Schulz, B., Watson, L., & McComish, C. (In press). Parent reports of sensory experiences of preschool children with and without autism: A qualitative study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy.

Dickie, V., Cutchin, M., & Humphry, R. (2006). Occupation as transactional experience: a critique of individualism in occupational science. Journal of Occupational Science, 13, 83-93.

Cutchin, M., Dickie, V., & Humphry, R. (2006). Transaction versus interpretation, or transaction and interpretation? A response to Michael Barber. Journal of  Occupational Science, 13, 97-99.

Dickie, V. (2004). From drunkard’s path to Kansas cyclones: Discovering creativity inside the blocks. Journal of Occupational Science, 11, 51-57.

Dickie, V. (2004). Culture is tricky: A commentary on culture emergent. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 58, 169-173.


Dickie, V. (2003). The role of learning in quilt making. Journal of Occupational Science, 10, 120-129.

Dickie, V. (2003). Establishing worker identity: A study of people in craftwork. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57, 250-261.

Dickie, V. (2003). Data analysis in qualitative research: A plea for sharing the magic and the effort. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57, 49-56.