Department of Kinesiology

School of Health and Human Sciences

News and Events

  • Photos from colloquium

On November 9, 2018, KIN professors emeriti—Dick Swanson, Jo Safrit, and Kate Barrett—presented during our “Historical Perspectives on Kinesiology: UNCG and Beyond” colloquium to over 100 of our current students and faculty. This colloquium, which focuses on the personal experiences of these pioneers in our field, is a tradition for the department and was moderated by Diane Gill this year. This was a standing-room-only event, as students and faculty filled up the seats. Our three distinguished guests had quite an impact on our students, who were often laughing and smiling through most of the event. Second-year Applied Neuromechanics doctoral student, Mackenzie Pierson, shared her experience: “Listening to leaders in our field, especially such strong women, discuss obstacles and passions was inspiring. Recognizing the role that UNCG played within their journey of success made me more thankful for the opportunity to continue my education here at UNCG.”

Thanks to all who made this event happen—from our venerable speakers to our extraordinary students.

Craig Parkes with wife and sonCraig Parkes, a 2018 EdD graduate, recently accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position at the University of South Alabama in the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Sport, starting January 2019. Previously, Craig worked at Penn State University primarily teaching in the PETE program for six and a half years, while simultaneously completing his EdD here at UNC Greensboro from 2014-2018. Craig’s hard work paid off and he was offered an on campus interview at South Alabama the day before his doctoral defense. Craig recalls being excited at the prospect of being offered a new faculty position so close to graduation. Now, Craig is looking forward to this new opportunity to work with like-minded faculty who have already begun to support him before his contract has even begun.

Craig was appreciative of his time as a EdD student at UNCG and thought that his work here helped him in many ways. He stated, “First, without the doctorate the chance of obtaining a tenure-track professor position is low. Second, studying at UNCG while also teaching at Penn State helped me to become a better faculty member at work and a better student at home. Third, I became a much better researcher through the dissertation process. I worked closely with Dr. Michael Hemphill, who really gave me some great ideas on how to conduct high quality qualitative research. I really feel confident in leading more research projects as I move into this new role, and already have some IRB approval and data collection completed on some upcoming projects, including one with Dr. Hemphill, who has become a close friend post-graduation.”

Craig was in the inaugural cohort of EdD students completing their degree online. He and his family are excited to make the move and fulfill a lifelong dream of residing in a warm climate near the ocean. One of Craig’s hobbies include chilling out at the beach with his wife and son. Looks like he’ll be able to make this happen more often. Congrats on your new position Craig!

Story by Shelby Anderson

Marcia Rosiek sitting at her desk.Props to EdD in KIN Student, and Coastal Carolina University Lecturer, Marcia Rosiek, for keeping her classes afloat during Hurricane Florence and now Hurricane Michael.  In addition to completing a certificate through the Distance Learning Institute for Coastal Carolina University and the Center of Teaching Excellence to Advance Learning (CeTeal) Marcia has taken course credit through the EdD program at UNC Greensboro in online pedagogy. “The importance of online teaching and learning is evident. Our students like to be online. They use their electronic devices to complete multiple task,” states Marcia.

This past summer Marcia was awarded a grant from the Coastal Office of Online Learning (COOL) to build and develop her new hybrid course over the summer.   She quickly applied some of the same technologies and practices to her other non-online courses,  like connecting student learning objectives to each week, helping students understand the expectations for completing the course successfully.  “When the hurricane came through our area, I made a video for my students with instructions for how to keep working during this time as they were evacuated. Since, we had been through hurricanes before, I knew the alternative was Saturdays!!! I voiced over lectures and instructions and it didn’t take much time because the framework was already there.”

Marcia is a big proponent of online teaching citing that it is effective and downright necessary in times of need.  And, “while developing and maintaining an online course takes some time,” Marcia remarks “so does teaching in a traditional classroom.”  She also recommends using lots of videos but warns, “I just remember to keep them short!”  Marcia is thankful for her experience as an online student at UNC Greensboro as well as her experience being the teacher of an online program at Coastal, “I believe diverse learning opportunities and accessibility are our primary responsibilities as educators. In my experience, both institutions realize the student[s] [have] expectations and we must be able to meet them.”  To learn more, watch Marcia’s interview on Coastal Now below!

Dave Jones, an EdD graduate, was asked to present for Advocates for Health in Action (AHA). AHA is a Wake County organization whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives and is focused on well-being, healthy eating and physical activity (website). AHA works hand-in-hand with schools across the county. Dave presented his dissertation research to principals, teachers, and parents through an online Smart Solutions School webinar on September 26th. He shared the highlights of his research of over 2,000 students in a public school district indicating the relationship between physical fitness, academic achievement, poverty, and gender. His dissertation at UNCG was titled, “The Relationship between Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement among 4th and 5th Grade Boys and Girls from High and Low-Poverty Schools.” Overall, students from low-poverty schools generally outperformed students from high-poverty schools in all measurements of fitness and academic achievement with gender also having an effect. Fitness was also a significant predictor of math and reading schools across both poverty levels. Dave suggested recommendations for Wake County schools that could potentially improve the fitness and academic scores for those students in need. Specifically, increasing physical activity and fitness levels is one step that can be taken to increase academic achievement, especially in high-poverty schools who already struggle with this. Additional information on the webinar can be found here.

Dave was in the inaugural cohort of EdD students completing their degree online who graduated in 2018. For more information on Dave’s dissertation, an article the AHA wrote on his work can be found here.

Story by: Shelby Anderson

Jaclyn MaherThe Department of Kinesiology congratulates Dr. Jaclyn Maher and her collaborators on receiving funding for their project, “Maternal Stress and Children’s Obesity Risk.”  The project funding was awarded by the University of Southern California with financial support from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Dr. Maher and her colleagues — Genevieve Dunton (PI), Adam Leventhal, Jimi Huh, Tara Gruenewald, Gayla Margolin, all of the University of Southern California, and Stephen Intille of Northeastern University — will be gathering data on working mothers and their 9- to 11-year-old children twice a year for three years using a data collection technique called “ecological momentary assessment” or EMA.

According to Dr. Maher, “Our research team has a theory that elevated levels of stress among mothers may compromise subsequent weight-related parenting behaviors such as limiting, monitoring, modeling, and encouragement of children’s physical activity and dietary intake which may, in turn, increase children’s long-term obesity risk.  EMA is a perfect technique for this type of study because it allows us to capture the behavior and moods of the mothers and children in real time, which greatly reduces problems with retrospective bias – when a subject is remembering rather than experiencing events and emotions.  Being able to study the mothers and children over a three-year period lets us consider how their responses change over time and observe whether fluctuating levels of stress influence weight-related behaviors and, ultimately, obesity risk among children.”

The announcement of Dr. Maher’s project award was featured recently in UNCG’s Campus Weekly.  Read the article here.

Written By: Jean Rosales

Ang ChenCongratulations to Ang Chen and his team of co-investigators who have been awarded a $1.2 Million Dollar NIH grant for their collaborative research on The Science of Essential Balance (SEB).  In addition to Dr. Chen, this all start team includes KIN’s own Chris RheaAllan Goldfarb, Judy Fowler, Michael Hemphill, and Nutrition’s, Lauren Haldeman.

This project is aimed to develop and field-test the efficacy of a curriculum targeting both nutrition and exercise from a science behavior integrated approach. Dr. Chen and his team plan to implement this curriculum in five school districts and in 24 high schools across the Piedmont area. This integrated curricular approach will use physical activity and participation in moderate-vigorous exercise to learn about life and health science, specifically on the core issue of energy balance.

Congratulations again to all and to the Department. $4 million dollars in grant money in less than one month, not too bad KIN!

To find out more about Curriculum and Pedagogy Studies in Physical Education or more information about Dr. Chen’s lab click here!

Erin ReifsteckThe Department of Kinesiology is proud to highlight Dr. Erin Reifsteck, one of its many esteemed alumni who have invested their knowledge and skills gained at UNCG to work professionally. As an alum of both the Master’s  as well as the Doctoral program, Reifsteck brings an especially strong perspective to her work through teaching, mentoring, and researching.

How did your PhD prepare you for your career?

Through my PhD program I was able to take a range of coursework across the kinesiology discipline (e.g., sport and exercise psychology, neural aspects of motor control, sociology of sport, exercise prescription, etc) and beyond (e.g., qualitative research, feminist theory, structural equation modeling, etc) that prepared me to conduct interdisciplinary research and also cultivated a broad view of our field that has helped me mentor graduate students with diverse interests.

What current research are you completing?

My main research focuses on understanding and promoting lifetime physical activity, health, and well-being through sport and life transitions. With funding from the NCAA over the past two years, my research team and I have worked on the development and evaluation of the Moving On! program, which is designed to help student-athletes make healthy transitions to life after college sports by promoting lifetime physical activity and healthy eating (AthletesMovingOn.org). This year we received funding from the School of Health and Human Sciences to track physical activity and health outcomes of senior student-athletes as they transition out of college sports.

What’s your favorite thing about your career?

Great faculty mentors during both my undergraduate and graduate studies had a big impact on my own professional development over the years and inspired me to want to become a college professor. I feel privileged to be in a position where I continually get to learn and be challenged intellectually in new ways.  I always liked being a student (at least enough to go through 9 consecutive years of higher education), and I suppose working in academia means I’ll never really have to stop being one. I also appreciate the flexibility to pursue research topics that are personally meaningful to me, and I enjoy the opportunity to mentor students as they develop and pursue their own research and professional interests. UNCG has always felt like home to me. I believe that our department has created a supportive, collegial environment that is truly invested in the success of faculty, staff, and students.

Do you have any advice for students seeking or considering higher education such as a Ph.D.?

Take some time to really consider your long-term career goals. In the field of sport and exercise psychology in particular, there really is no one defined path- which can be both exciting and frustrating for students interested in this field. But, knowing where you ultimately want to end up will guide you toward choosing the path to get there that makes the most sense for you.

Tell us about yourself!

I am an assistant professor in the Dept of Kinesiology at UNCG. I received a PhD and MS in sport and exercise psychology from UNCG along with a doctoral minor in educational research methodology and a graduate certificate in women’s and gender studies. I primarily teach courses in the EdD in KIN program such as Mixed Methods in Kinesiology Research and Grant Writing. Prior to coming to UNCG, I competed as a Division I field hockey goalkeeper at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania.  I am also a third degree black belt and level 4 certified instructor with Taekwondo America. In my free time, I enjoy spending time outdoors with my husband and two basset hounds.

Pam BrownThe Department of Kinesiology loves to recognize our outstanding faculty members. Read more on Dr. Pam Kocher Brown, and all she has done for UNCG!

In recognition for her excellence in teaching, Pam Kocher Brown, received two teaching awards this spring. She received the University Teaching Excellence Anna Marie Gove Award for 2017-2018 for facilitating student learning through innovative and creative teaching methods, as well as, supporting the academic and professional growth of students through mentoring and serving as a leader in education. Pam also received the School of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) Jerry and Joan Morrison Tolley Gail Hennis Graduate 2018 Teaching Award. Awardees are nominated by students for these awards, the student who nominated her said “Dr. Brown is the program director, and has put in copious amounts of time and energy to make this program successful…She has been supportive and extremely knowledgeable along the way (4 years now), and is the reason that many students’ dreams of earning a doctorate are coming true.” Pam is the program director for the Ed.D. in Kinesiology. The first graduating class of students were on campus for the Kinesiology departmental graduation in May and were recognized as the first graduates of the program since the doctoral program transitioned online in 2014. Pam noted that how exciting it was to celebrate the student’s accomplishments – “it was like watching my own children achieve their goals.”

Pam has been at UNCG since 2000, first as a graduate student and now as an Academic Professional Professor. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with licensure and a minor in Biology from the State University of New York College at Cortland, her Masters of Art in Exercise and Sport Science with a focus on Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her Doctor of Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She served as the aquatics director at UNC Chapel Hill, and as the women’s soccer and tennis coach, senior women’s administrator and faculty member at Chowan College, before returning to school at UNCG. She has been on the UNCG faculty since 2003 and has taught a wide variety of classes including activities classes and several in the KIN core, and she served as the coordinator for the physical education and health teacher education program for 7 years. She is active in service both at the university and professionally. She is married and has three children who are all active in sports.

When asked about what she enjoys about being a part of the UNCG KIN department, she replied “the people.” She said “I really enjoy coming to work each day because I enjoy the people I work with and the students I teach. I really appreciate that everyone cares about each other – personally and professionally.”

What do you enjoy about being part of the UNCG KIN department?

I feel like through my role as the director [in the online EdD in Kinesiology program] I have been given a chance to really make a difference in the world by helping my students’ achieve their goals. Our EdD in KIN program is designed for individuals who are working so that they can immediately apply what they are learning into their daily lives – students regularly comment about how they have used a lesson or assignment they created for class in their actual workplace. A key element of the dissertations is that they are applied – we want the students to make a difference in their professional lives and potentially the lives of others with their work, so we strive for this in all they do.

What are some fun experiences you have had in your professional journey?

Some of the most enjoyable experiences at UNCG have been with colleagues when we have attended professional conferences. Each year I look forward to attending the conferences with my colleagues, who are also my friends. We get to learn a lot at the actual conferences but also have some fun in new cities and states – we always find ways to laugh and enjoy ourselves.

In what ways have you been able to impact students in a completely online world?

You would be surprised about the sense of community you can build in an online program. That is probably what people (faculty and students) are most skeptical about until they have a chance to be a part of the program. Our students talk (email, text, Google hangout, phone) with each other regularly to talk about their families as well as their academics. I often find that I know more about my online students than face-to-face because they are able to “talk” with me at times that fit versus having to run off to the next class or get to work. Ask the students and many will tell you they have made lifelong friends through the program. UNCG and especially the EdD in KIN program is really a family.

Posted in EdD

Student Athletes Taking A Pilates Class with Melinda SmithCongratulations to Mindy Smith, whose article, “Moving into an active future: Supporting lifetime physical activity for student-athletes” was selected by ACSM Journal Editors as a “Top Pick.”  Mindy is currently conducting research in conjunction with EdD in KIN faculty members, Dr. Diane Gill, and Dr. Erin Reifsteck, was also recently featured in NCAA Champion Magazine for her work with Moving On!.

Mindy’s article addresses the transition of college student-athletes (SA’s) to college graduates. Here is an excerpt from the article: “Former student-athletes face unique challenges in transitioning to lifestyle physical activity, including loss of extrinsic motivators, disbanding of teams, and limited exposure to activities beyond their sport. With an emphasis on enhancing Head Shot of Melinda Smithphysical activity competence, autonomy, and relatedness, health and fitness professionals can support student-athletes in their transition to a physically active lifestyle beyond college. Suggested strategies include offering transitional programs for student athletes during their final year, fostering community connections, and exposing former student-athletes to varied lifetime activities within supportive group classes.” 

To read the whole article click here.  Way to go, Mindy!

Laurie WidemanCongratulations to Kin faculty member Dr. Laurie Wideman and team for receiving a $2.8 millon award from the National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).  The experienced team of investigators, headed by Dr. Esther Leerkes (HDFS) come from multiple disciplines across UNC Greensboro,  including Kinesiology’s Dr. Laurie Wideman, HDFS’ Dr. Cheryl Buehler, and Dr. Susan Calkins, and Nutrition’s Lenka Shriver.

The project, entitled, “Biopsychosocial Predictors of Obesity During the First Two Years of Life” seeks to address the prevalence of Childhood Obesity as a public health crisis.  Keep reading below to read the full abstract or to learn more about exciting KIN research at UNC Greensboro click here.

Abstract: The prevalence of childhood obesity is a significant public health crisis.  Overweight children experience significantly more health and psychosocial problems compared to their same age peers and are likely to carry these problems with them into adolescence and adulthood. In this proposal, we describe a study of the early development of risk for obesity in childhood. The risk for obesity in early childhood is likely determined by multiple biological, psychological, and social factors that are observable in infancy.  We propose a conceptual model, a biopsychosocial model, of the early development of risk for obesity that focuses on several key biological, psychological, and social factors. Using an experienced team of investigators from multiple disciplines, we propose to investigate this model with an innovative, multi-method, longitudinal study of infants and their families (n = 288) that addresses these factors across the first two years of life. Our two key aims focus on understanding  (1) factors that predict infant weight gain and (2) the ways in which this weight gain and infant’s social interactions with mothers in feeding and non-feeding contexts predict self-regulation, and subsequent obesity risk at age 2. The study has important implications for the development of targeted prevention and intervention programs for families and children that may be utilized early in development, prior to the onset of weight gain that is difficult to reverse.