Colleges and universities increasingly face pressure to take the lead in solving complex problems. Developing and sustaining interdisciplinary research centers that collaborate with community partners can be an effective method of approaching complex challenges. We use the example of interdisciplinary research centers designed to specifically work with tactical athlete organizations (e.g., military, police, fire) as one example of how research centers can be developed and produce important outcomes. A 10-step process is outlined for finding partners, executing projects, and growing research centers which are mutually beneficial to the partner organization and the academic institution. With vision, commitment, and persistence, interdisciplinary research centers can solve complex problems and have meaningful impacts in the community.
Interdisciplinary Research Centers: A Pathway for Solving Complex Problems
JoEllen M. Sefton and Kenneth A. Games
Internship Management, Placement, and On-Site Visits in Kinesiology
Edward Hebert, Ralph Wood, Jayne M. Jenkins, and Charles E. Robison
Internship experiences are currently embedded in a multitude of academic programs to provide students a more seamless transition from university to the professional setting. Research in a variety of academic fields (e.g., business, sport marketing, public health) reveals that internships enhance students’ professional knowledge and skills as well as increase opportunities for employment. Students studying kinesiology intend to enter a variety of professions (e.g., preprofessional, fitness development, physical education teaching), and departments frequently offer students multiple opportunities to engage in field-based learning experiences (FBLEs). As kinesiology programs have evolved to provide several degree programs and grown in the number of students serviced, challenges in managing the internship program have emerged. The purpose of this paper is to share the experiences of three university kinesiology departments in regard to internship management, placement, and site visits.
Lessons Learned About Outreach and Engagement at the Michigan State University Institute for the Study of Youth Sports
The mission of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports (ISYS) is to provide leadership, scholarship, and outreach that “transforms” the face of youth sports in ways that maximize the beneficial physical, psychological, and social effects of participation for children and youth while minimizing detrimental effects. Since its inception in 1978, ISYS has partnered with numerous organizations to promote healthy youth sports participation. In this article, the general steps ISYS takes to form and facilitate partnerships are addressed. Four long-term partnerships are also described. The services provided to these organizations are described and the advantages and challenges of working with partners, in general, are delineated. How these partnerships are used to facilitate the teaching, outreach-engagement, and scholarship components of the Michigan State University land grant mission are also described. The case of ISYS shows that conducting community outreach and engagement projects greatly enhance the scholarly mission of the university.
Moving Forward: Academia, Industry, and Partnerships
David D. Pascoe and Timothy E. Moore
The decline in federal research grant funding and incentive-based budget models to support a university’s mission has necessitated a paradigm shift in the pursuit of available sources of funding. Programs built around federal funding are once again pursuing funding opportunities from industry. Universities are reevaluating their research funding models and career expectations (tenure, promotion) that support a researcher, laboratories, and a defined research agenda. Kinesiology departments are in a strong position to pursue industry funding for fitness, sports, and performance-related research. While grant funding focuses on empirical data-driven research, industry looks for product exposure, validation (empirical data to support claims), and commercialization. Industry partnerships can provide funding in supporting research, developing sponsor-named facilities that benefit both parties. With these cooperative efforts come some unique challenges (financial, proprietary, data interpretation, etc.) that must be addressed.
A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Establishing a Community Wellness Program
Royal E. Wohl, Park Lockwood, and Kathy Ure
Chronic disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. One-half of U.S. adults have at least one chronic disease condition and 25% have multiple chronic conditions that can lead to a restriction in an ability to do basic daily living activities. Low-income adults have a high incidence of chronic disease that increases with aging due to ongoing psychological stress, higher risk exposure, less healthy living conditions, and limited access to health services. Community-based wellness programs, in collaboration with academic institutions, can serve this population by providing access to health services, quality educational and activity-based experiences, and continual assessment and support. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the expertise of numerous faculty, students, and staff can be used to help mitigate a myriad of health conditions presented by this population. This article shares one university’s creation, development, and delivery of an on-campus, multidisciplinary community wellness program for low-income adults.
Promoting Diversity and Inclusion: Developing Partnerships Between Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly White Institutions
Sarah Price, Richard H. Williams, Christopher Wilburn, Portia Williams, Danielle Wadsworth, Wendi Weimar, Jared Russell, and Mary E. Rudisill
This article presents an overview of how faculty in the School of Kinesiology at Auburn University (AU) are working with minority-serving institutions in similar disciplines to promote diversity and inclusion. Florida A&M (FAMU) and Albany State University (ASU) are both Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), and AU is a Predominantly White Institution (PWI). Part of this initiative has been accomplished through the development of AU’s Future Scholars Summer Research Bridge Program in partnership with south-eastern HBCUs. Success has been measured as an increase in student recruitment and increased opportunities for students from underrepresented groups seeking graduate opportunities. The partnership between FAMU and AU has also provided opportunities for faculty and students to promote diversity and be more inclusive through research collaborations. These partnerships are addressing this important need to be more purposeful in our efforts of establishing greater diversity and being a more inclusive discipline.
Sexual Harassment and Internships: How Do We Protect Our Students and Program?
Anne C. Russ, Dani M. Moffit, and Jamie L. Mansell
Sexual harassment is a sensitive and pervasive topic in higher education. Programs and institutions have the responsibility to protect the students from sexual harassment under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, 2011). While much attention has been focused toward on-campus interactions (i.e., professor/student, student/student), many students participate in off-campus fieldwork and internships associated with coursework, where the students are still protected under Title IX. The purpose of this discussion is to define sexual harassment, summarize research regarding sexual harassment in a fieldwork setting, consider how sexual harassment affects students, and identify resources to help programs identify and respond to sexual harassment.
Sustained Engagement Experiences in Kinesiology: An Engaged Department Initiative
Brian D. Clocksin and Margo B. Greicar
Community engagement is commonly imbedded in the ethos of institutions of higher education and has been identified as a High Impact Practice for student learning and retention. The Sustained Engagement Experiences in Kinesiology (SEEK) program at the University of La Verne is a curriculum-wide approach that moves students through four stages of community engagement: Respect, Participating with Effort, Self-Directions, and Leadership. The stages are developmentally sequenced across the curriculum and provide opportunities for learners to move from passive participants to active engagement scholars. The engagement experiences serve to enhance students’ abilities to transfer what they learn in the classroom to real-life problems, foster an asset-based approach to community engagement, and facilitate a transition from surface-to deep-learning.
Utilization of Collaborations to Engage Children in Physical Activity: A Community-Based Research Approach
Sheri J. Brock, Danielle Wadsworth, Shelby Foote, and Mary E. Rudisill
Institutions of higher education have a responsibility to prioritize the needs of society and local communities. One essential need prevalent in all communities is to address the rise of obesity and health risks due to lack of participation in physical activity. In the United States, children spend a small percentage of time engaged in physical activity, and engagement decreases further in adolescence and adulthood. Collaborative partnerships between kinesiology faculty at universities and community organizations are one avenue for engaging children in physical activity. Partnerships must be multilevel and community wide to evoke change and have long-term impact and sustainability. Within the context of community-based research, we propose a three-step framework for establishing collaborative partnerships: (1) determining the needs of partners; (2) discussing expertise, services, and philosophy; and (3) providing a quality product. In addition, we outline and illustrate our experiences when collaborating with community partners to promote physical activity.
Bridging Research and Practice in Kinesiology: A Case for Concept Mapping
Brian J. Souza
Enhancing translational research in kinesiology requires utilizing diverse research methods. Concept mapping (CM), an applied, participatory research method, brings together stakeholders to address problems. CM involves preparing a project, generating answers to a problem, then structuring, rating, analyzing, representing, and interpreting the data. The results are visual depictions of the stakeholders’ collective thinking about a problem that help facilitate decision-making. In this paper, I describe CM, review CM physical activity projects, discuss opportunities for CM in kinesiology, and detail the limitations of CM. Professionals from the kinesiology subdisciplines can implement CM to facilitate collaboration and generate real-world solutions to real-world problems.