Nancy Bagatell, PhD, OTR/L


Division Director and Associate Professor
Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Bondurant Hall 2052 - CB #7122
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Phone: 919-843-4463


  • PhD, Occupational Science, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
  • MA, Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
  • BA, Music Performance, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Personal Statement

I joined the Division in the fall of 2013 after working in a number of academic and clinical settings. As a clinician, I have worked in mental health settings and with individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities across the lifespan and in schools, homes, and community settings. I am particularly interested in issues related to adolescence, transition to adulthood, and creating a meaningful adult life through engagement in occupation. As an occupational scientist I am interested in how sociocultural, contextual, and political phenomenon support engagement in everyday occupation and exploring methods that best capture the complexity of occupation. I have been teaching for nearly 20 years and thoroughly enjoy thinking about how students learn. My educational philosophy is influenced ideas of constructivist education and the learning paradigm, that is that learning occurs through doing, problem-solving, dialoguing about ideas, and having real life experiences.  

Personally, I engage in a variety of meaningful occupations, many of them centering around my family, such as hiking, going to the farmer’s market, traveling, and dog walking. I am also an avid reader, enjoy running, and am learning to play the piano.

Courses Taught (Current)

  • OCCT 725: Human Capacities: Body, Structure and Function 1
  • OCCT 756: Therapeutic Processes 1
  • OCCT 766: Therapeutic Processes 1 Lab
  • OCCT 890: Applied Research Seminar
  • OCCT 992: Applied Research Seminar

Research Interests

My research interests focus on occupations and routines in families with adolescent-aged children; the experiences of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their caregivers; and occupation and identity, particularly in marginalized populations. 

I am also interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning – understanding more about what students learn and how they learn best.

Recent Publications

Bagatell, N. & Mason, A. (2015). Looking backward, thinking forward: Occupational therapy and autism spectrum disorders. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 35(1), 34-41. 

Sanders, J.M., Reynolds, J., Bagatell, N., Treu, J.A., O'Connor, E. & Katz, D.L. (2014). Promoting healthy lifestyles to children at school: Using a multidisciplinary train-the-trainer. Journal of Public Health Management Practice, 1-9. 

Bagatell, N., Cram, M., Alvarez, C. & Loehle, L. (2014). Routines of families with adolescents with autistic disorders: A comparison study. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81, 62-67.

Bagatell, N., Hartmann, K. & Meriano, C. (2013). Evaluation process and assessment choice of pediatric practitioners in the Northeast United States. Journal of Occupational Therapy, School, & Early Intervention, 6(2), 143-157.

Bagatell, N., Lawrence, J., Schwartz, M. & Vuernick, W. (2013). Occupational therapy student experiences and transformations during fieldwork in mental health settings. Journal of Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 28(2). 181-196.

Bagatell, N. (2012). Engaged moments: Mediated action and children with autism in the classroom setting. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 32(1), 258-265.

Bagatell, N., Mirigliani, G., Patterson, C., Reyes, Y. & Test, L. (2010). The effectiveness of therapy ball chairs on classroom participation in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64(6), 895-903.

Bagatell, N. (2010). From cure to community: Transforming notions of autism. Ethos, 38(1), 33-54.

Solomon, O. & Bagatell, N. (2010). Introduction: Autism: Rethinking the possibilities. Ethos, 38(1), 1-7.

McKeough, M. & Bagatell, N. (2010). Attitudes of health care students about computer-aided neuroanatomy instruction. Journal of Allied Health, 38(4), 189-195.

Bagatell, N. (2007). Orchestrating voices: Autism, identity and the power of discourse. Disability and Society, 22(4), 413-426.