Inclusive learning environments are necessary for all students to thrive. Such environments require that teachers and students engage in a critical praxis: iterative reflection and action that attend to social identity, power/privilege, and oppression for social justice promotion. In this conceptual paper, I overview my efforts as a program director to engage in a critical praxis and embed diversity, inclusion, and equity values into the fabric of an athletic leadership master’s program at a teaching-focused college. Strategic efforts described include creating a mission statement, conducting a needs assessment, developing a curriculum to promote critical capacity building in tandem with supporting sport–social justice student research, and recruitment of students with minoritized identities and nontraditional backgrounds. I conclude with future directions aimed at ensuring that graduate students have an inclusive and empowering educational experience that helps them develop as inclusive, equity-minded leaders.
Program Directing as Critical Praxis: Efforts to Embed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Values Into an Athletic Leadership Master’s Program
Transforming Higher Education
In recent years, it has become increasingly evident that higher education in the United States is experiencing somewhat of a paradigm shift. We are being challenged to reform our institutions in order to respond to changing societal needs resulting from the fast-paced, digital transformation of industries, societal systems, and our daily lives. The member institutions of the American Academy of Kinesiology will need to think long and hard about how they will respond to these challenges. America’s universities have a responsibility to be a catalyst for the human-centric, technology-driven transformation of sectors such as transportation, agriculture, medicine, public health, clean energy, and manufacturing, among others, and to provide the vision, leadership, and innovation that such workforce transformation demands. Within the academy, we rightly take great pride in our long-standing contributions to the development and deployment of breakthrough discoveries and innovations that have contributed to the transformation of society. However, we have begun to realize that our institutions will need to bring this same commitment to innovation to our teaching, curricula, and instructional programs. Addressing these new areas of need and opportunity will require institutional innovation and reform, for us and for the postsecondary education sector generally. I believe that American Kinesiology Association member departments can play a significant role in the transformation of higher education at our institutions. I am delighted that the American Kinesiology Association has begun to think through how these changes will impact the future of our discipline. I am both optimistic and excited about the many ways that American Kinesiology Association member institutions will continue to play a leading role in the new higher education reality.
Lift Me Up: Fostering Belonging Beyond the Classroom
Akilah R. Carter-Francique
The purpose of this article is to encourage administrators, faculty, and staff to foster a sense of belonging for students of color in kinesiology and affiliated academic units at institutions of higher education. Kinesiology is vast and has a range of corresponding workforce careers; however, despite equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts, people of color still lag behind in representation. Acknowledging the current social and legislative climate that seeks to dismantle equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts, the American Kinesiology Association as a leadership-driven membership has the opportunity to further its stance and governance through amplifying the sense of belonging as a social justice practice. Fostering a holistic sense of belonging for students of color beyond the conventional classroom can promote successful student outcomes with increased academic engagement and use of support services, increased personal self-concept and mental health and wellness, and an overall satisfaction with the college experience.
Creating an Institutional Environment That Leads to an Inclusive Culture of Belonging: Kinesiology’s “Impoverishing Errand”
Ketra L. Armstrong
People have an innate and fundamental need to belong (i.e., to establish and maintain high-quality and enriching relationships with others). Belonging is important to our personal and professional lives, and culture is often the conduit filtering our sense of belonging. Some organizations are culturally inclusive wherein a culturally diverse array of individuals feel connected and have a sense of belonging. In contrast, others are marred by cultural exclusion, leaving some individuals culturally disconnected, culturally disengaged, and lacking a sense of belonging. This article posits cultural belonging as the “impoverishing errand” that kinesiology must accomplish. It discusses personal and positional culture, organizational culture, and the leadership needed in kinesiology to create institutional environments that support and sustain inclusive cultures of belonging for faculty, staff, and students. In so doing, it illustrates the need for the philosophical/ideological and managerial focus on people-centered leadership that normalizes cultural inclusion.
Navigating a Professional Minefield: Service Workload, Identity Taxation, and Department Culture
K. Michael Rowley, M.P. Jenny O, and E. Missy Wright
Faculty with personal and professional identities that are marginalized in higher education experience identity taxation, which is the experience of greater physical, mental, emotional, or psychological labor beyond what is experienced by faculty members with dominant-group identities. Inequities in service work contribute substantially to this taxation. Here, we describe persistent inequities in service work in academia, the impacts and consequences of those inequities, and strategies from the literature and our own experiences to make service work more equitable. We then detail two case examples for how we implemented some of these strategies in our kinesiology department, including (a) adopting an equity-based model of service work for required department and college service committees and (b) applying an equity lens to a faculty search committee. Finally, we reflect on our successes and areas for improvement.
Creating and Retaining an Inclusive Graduate Program in Kinesiology
Ting Liu, Michelle Hamilton, and YuChun Chen
Over the past decade, enrollment in the exercise science graduate program at Texas State University has shown consistent growth. However, the program’s level of diversity has been low, as indicated by the college’s equity audit report. In response to the imperative of social justice and equity in the field of kinesiology, this article presents one recruitment strategy and two retention strategies aimed at fostering inclusivity in the graduate program. The recruitment strategy describes the steps to establish a partnership with Huston-Tillotson University (a historically Black university). This partnership serves as a means to create a pathway for underrepresented students to pursue graduate studies in exercise science. The two retention strategies explain how a peer-mentoring program and alumni connect can be used to foster an inclusive experience for current students and recent graduates and to promote student success and retention. The benefits of each strategy and suggestions to implement the strategies are also described.
An Equity-Focused Approach to Graduate Student Recruitment and Retention
DeAnne Davis Brooks, Lauren D. Griffin, Teah Rawlings, Rennae W. Stowe, and Dawn Norwood
Kinesiology programs seeking to prepare an inclusive workforce are committed to recruiting and retaining graduate students who represent the demographic diversity of our country, communities, and undergraduate universities. Plans for enhancing diversity, including partnerships between historically Black undergraduate institutions and graduate programs located on predominantly White campuses, must incorporate equity-focused strategies. In this article, four Black women with various experiences as students and faculty at predominantly White institutions and historically Black colleges and universities offer their advice on equity-focused approaches to graduate student recruitment and retention. This article is meant to provide nuanced understandings of the benefits and challenges of such approaches for students and faculty of color.
A Cultural-Equity-Centered Guide to Inclusive Curriculum Change in Higher Education Kinesiology
Inclusiveness in higher education has received increased attention, as institutions are seeking to be more proactive in meeting the needs of a diverse student body. While university departments have noted inclusive excellence as a goal for their programs, how this is realized is often unclear or difficult to assess. Equally troubling is the scarcity of ideas on how curriculum can be enhanced for transformative change, radical possibility, antiracism, and social justice. This article attempts to rectify these issues by presenting thoughts on curriculum change and program development in higher education kinesiology using a cultural equity approach.
A Resource for Promoting Personal and Social Responsibility in Higher Education: A Call to Action for Kinesiology Departments
Karisa L. Kuipers, Jennifer M. Jacobs, Paul M. Wright, and Kevin Andrew Richards
In recent decades, emphasis on helping postsecondary students develop personal and social responsibility has increased in higher education. The purpose of this conceptual paper is to propose a kinesiology-based model to assist in defining, implementing, and evaluating personal and social responsibility education with postsecondary students. In the paper, a general overview of the higher education landscape as it relates to personal and social responsibility is presented. Then, the teaching personal and social responsibility model is presented as a model that is already familiar in kinesiology and may assist in defining, implementing, and evaluating structures and strategies for promoting personal and social responsibility in higher education. The alignment of this model and the personal and social responsibility priorities of higher education are analyzed. Recommendations for implementing specific strategies and resources associated with the teaching personal and social responsibility model into higher education are shared, and next steps for integrating these resources are acknowledged.
Toward a General Theory of Classroom Teachers’ Movement Integration
Collin A. Webster
The use of regular classroom time during school to increase children’s and adolescents’ daily physical activity—a practice known as movement integration (MI)—has gained substantial traction in research internationally as an evidence-based strategy for enhancing students’ health and academic performance, yet it remains underutilized and largely subject to teachers’ discretion. Understanding and explaining teachers’ use of MI are, therefore, key areas of focus for researchers, teacher educators, and interventionists. Research on MI implementation is informed by multiple theoretical lenses, but the discipline lacks cohesion. The proposed unifying framework in this article coalesces three relevant strands of inquiry: (a) stages of influence on MI, (b) factors of influence on MI, and (c) conceptualizing MI. The framework reflects the burgeoning knowledge base related to MI implementation and is an attempt to advance the field toward a general theory that can more clearly and coherently guide research and professional practice.