Faces of ACC: Allison Hagood

Faces of ACC: Allison Hagood

Leah Schreier, Reporter

Allison Hagood, who is in her second year as the program chair for Arapahoe Community College’s (ACC) Psychology Department, has been teaching for 19 years.

That’s longer than most ACC students have been alive, according to ACC Office of Institutional Research.

However, her career and love of psychology go even further back. She has been immersed in the psychological world since taking her first psychology course as an undergraduate student, and even went on to co-write the book, “Your Baby’s Best Shot: Why Vaccines are Safe and Save Lives.”

Hagood’s role in the ACC community consists of scheduling classes, hiring adjuncts, ordering books, and handling transfer issues.

Of course, she also stays up to date on current research in the psychological field. To get to this particular position, Hagood has worked in a variety of jobs, and has spent many years teaching. 

Hagood’s previous jobs include a wide variety of professions, many of which are based in the psychology/counseling field. She worked as a live-in staff member at a therapeutic milieu, a secretary, a phone councilor for Boulder Abortion Clinic, and a senior research associate for studies on schizophrenia, among many other things before finally finding her calling as a college instructor.

Before becoming a full-time staff member at ACC, Hagood worked as an adjunct at Red Rocks Community College, Front Range Community College, and Community College of Denver. Reflecting on this experience, she recalled “being an adjunct is hard” because there’s no guaranteed income, or even a living wage.

Hagood claims that “we pay our adjuncts very poorly in comparison to what we pay full time faculty, and they’re expected to do the same job, in terms of teaching, as full time faculty.”

Hagood began teaching after being a guest lecturer in a psychology class. After receiving such praise from the students in the class, the same colleague asked her to team teach: a structure in which each would teach the class one day a week. Halfway through that first semester, she became the sole teacher of that class, and her career as a college professor began. 

Unsurprisingly, she can’t quite pick one favorite area of psychology. Hagood loves abnormal and clinical psychology, and research into intervention and therapeutic strategies.

In addition, she also has a love for social psychology and the research into cognitive psychology, such as information processes and “mental noise.” However, to students who wish to work in the field, she cautions them to “be aware of the cracks in our system that inhibit us, sometimes, from being able to provide the kind of care that people with serious mental illnesses need.”

One of the pieces of wisdom that Hagood shares, regarding a career in the psychology field, is that “there’s a lot of burnout in the field… And there’s a lack of self care, a lot of times, with people who work in that field because there’s a feeling that: ‘if we need help, then we can’t help others.’”

She said that this taught her that she needs to “be more mindful of where my limits are, and what I can and cannot do” which translates not only into work as a clinician, but also into her job as a faculty member because that enables her to be the best professor that she can be. 

Teaching and psychology are not the only things that Hagood is passionate about. She also loves to play music, read, garden, camp, and cook. Something else that has created a lot of joy in her life is her weekly meetings with friends, where they watch the Walking Dead together.

Even then, her love of psychology works its way in, as she loves to look at the show from a social psychological standpoint and see how survivors interact with each other. She says “it’s not about the zombies, it’s about the survivors and the decisions that they make,” which is what has always held her interest in such genres, even since she was a kid.