Professor James began teaching in 1991 after 12 years of clinical experience in adult physical rehabilitation in acute care, rehabilitation, and home-based settings. Clinical experience has been equally divided between working with individuals with biomechanical impairments, such as hand injuries and burns and those with neurological impairments, such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and multiple sclerosis. She has continued per diem clinical practice in home health settings during most of her academic career. She pursued doctoral work in adult learning to support teaching and learning of occupational therapy students and clients.
"My first teaching job was at the University of Puget Sound, from 1991–1995. After 15 years on the east coast, teaching in three other OT programs, I returned to Puget Sound in 2010. Occupational therapy is a wonderful and unique profession that attracts creative, caring, and interesting people and I have loved teaching these capable students wherever I taught. But, returning to Puget Sound felt like coming home. With a doctorate in adult learning, I strongly believe that professional programs must provide students with real-life, authentic experiences. This can be a challenge in traditional academic settings, but Puget Sound’s on-site occupational therapy clinic offers our students a very unique experience, allowing students to become immersed in actual practice before their level II fieldwork. It provides an important connection between the University and community. Finally, I just love the “vibe” on this beautiful campus and in the Tacoma community in which we live."
Dr. James’s research interests are identifying optimal educational approaches to prepare occupational therapy students for success in fieldwork and as lifelong learners within the profession. She is also interested in identifying client education strategies that maximize collaboration and participation outcomes within occupational therapy practice.
Dr. James enjoys bicycling and cross country skiing, snowy mountains, traveling, time with family and friends. She keeps looking for the time to re-engage with knitting and other creative endeavors.