Alison Herman began her new position as academic fieldwork coordinator in the Department of Occupational Therapy earlier this fall. She comes to Colorado State University with 19 years of practice experience as an occupational therapist in a variety of clinical and community sites. She also has seven years of experience as assistant professor and academic fieldwork coordinator. Learn more about her experiences, research and why she is enjoying Colorado.
What brought you to the Department of Occupational Therapy at CSU?
Among many reasons, the opportunity to work with Patty Stutz-Tanenbaum while she transitions to her retirement was a big draw to CSU. Patty, who has contributed tremendously to the fieldwork community, has been a mentor of mine since becoming an academic fieldwork coordinator seven years ago. To be able to learn from and work beside her is invaluable to my career and future success as an academic fieldwork coordinator. Also, I consider it a great privilege and look forward to participating in the department’s contributions to the occupational therapy profession and commitment to research.
On a personal note, the Colorado lifestyle with access to mountains, hiking and outdoor activities year-round is also a contributing factor that brought me to CSU. I am happy to trade Florida beaches for Colorado mountains.
What are you looking forward to as academic fieldwork coordinator?
My primary interest is guiding students along their journey towards becoming occupational therapy practitioners. I always look forward to helping students at all stages of this journey and providing them with the tools and support each individual student needs to succeed.
What is your philosophy in working with students as they prepare and complete their fieldwork placements?
- Be a sponge, open to learning all that you can.
- Use fieldwork as an opportunity to practice everything you are learning in classes.
- Don’t forget to smile; it puts people at ease.
- Ask lots of questions and make connections.
- Foster relationships with your professors, fieldwork educators, clients and colleagues.
- Self-reflect often and be open to growing personally and professionally.
- Never stop reflecting and learning!
What are your research interests?
I am interested in research related to health promotion and wellness and research related to fieldwork. I would like to continue my study related to understanding the best use of the Student Evaluation of the Fieldwork Experience tool. I am interested in exploring how students and fieldwork educators can most effectively use it and how fieldwork educators can make changes to their mentoring based on this tool. I would also like to participate in research that explores the relationship between occupational therapy and community health promotion related to chronic disease management.
What are you enjoying the most about the CSU campus or Fort Collins?
I am fascinated by the beauty of CSU’s oval. Each time I step out of the building I take a moment to admire this open space and how inviting and comfortable it feels. I am loving living in a smaller town with its commitment to biking, beer and community!