Occupational Therapy faculty member focuses on promoting inclusion and justice in the classroom: Q and A with Kim Schoessow

Kim Schoessow portrait shot

Kim Schoessow is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Colorado State University. Learn about why she came to CSU and her teaching philosophy on engaging students and active participation in class.

What brought you to the Department of Occupational Therapy at CSU?

Like many people who move to the area, I was attracted to all of the natural beauty here. But the biggest draw was the OT department’s faculty. They have a well-earned and nationally-recognized reputation for being leaders in both research and education. I wanted to be part of their team so that I could continue learning and growing in my own professional development.

What are your research interests, and how did you get interested in that topic?

I have two main areas. My clinical background is in vision rehabilitation which I originally became interested in because of a condition that runs in my family, retinitis pigmentosa. I wanted to help people learn to function with and adjust to progressive, permanent vision loss. I’ve done research in various areas of vision rehabilitation including health disparities and assistive technology. My research branched out after I shifted from clinical work to academia and also started working on my Ed.D. degree. I began to understand more about the systemic injustices present in academia. My dissertation is focused on inclusive education in graduate healthcare programs, specifically during the present time of COVID-19.

What’s your teaching philosophy?

I believe that students learn the most when they are active and responsible for their own learning, but also when their instructors are mutually engaged in that learning process. Students can then benefit from all of the experience that instructors bring to the classroom, and instructors can better use their interpersonal skills to assess where the students are at and make adjustments as needed. I also believe that faculty must actively work to teach equitably and create an inclusive atmosphere in the classroom so that every student is successful and feels welcome despite the systemic injustices that exist in higher education.

What’s your favorite thing about campus?

Because of physical distancing, most of my time here so far has been spent in virtual classes and meetings. From where I live though, I have a view of the giant ‘A’ on the foothills. It’s motivated me to learn about the history behind the letter as well as other CSU traditions. It makes me feel connected to campus even when I’m working from home!

The Department of Occupational Therapy is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.