Meritocracy continues to dominate conventional thinking in the postmodern West. Yet, recently, an increasing number of critics have highlighted how meritocracy has gone wrong. One such critic is Daniel Markovits, author of The Meritocracy Trap. In this article, we highlight the major themes of Markovits’s book, identify how the ideology of meritocracy has infiltrated kinesiology and sport, and then propose how to reconceptualize and redirect kinesiology toward a more humane and morally sound discipline, which can avoid the pitfalls of the meritocracy trap. Most notably, we propose that kinesiology should (a) recognize the frailty and temporality of humans, (b) embrace the wide middle of human skill performance capabilities, (c) value mid-level jobs and occupations such as physical education teaching and YMCA and/or city recreation department positions, and (d) redefine what counts as success.
The Meritocracy Trap and Kinesiology
Gregg Twietmeyer and Tyler G. Johnson
Volume 11 (2022): Issue 4 (Nov 2022): 2022 American Kinesiology Association Leadership Workshop: Leadership for the Future—Vision, Values, and Practice
Exemplifying Inclusive Excellence: How Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis Leads by Example in Kinesiology
Mark Urtel, NiCole Keith, and Rafael E. Bahamonde
This article documents the highlights achieved by the Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis over the span of 25 years that culminated with their being awarded the Inclusive Excellence award as sponsored by the American Kinesiology Association. Furthermore, this journey was presented using the special issue focus on leadership. Presented experiences occurred within the typical faculty understanding of teaching, research, and service. Recognition was given to the university and campus that hosts this department as it related to the overall diversity and inclusion culture developed on the broader scale, as this is important to acknowledge. This journey could inform or inspire other similar units as they strive to enhance diversity and inclusive excellence in their respective institutions.
Leadership for the Future—Vision, Values, and Practice
Jeffrey T. Fairbrother and Jared Russell
A Tale of Two Communities: Improving Student Engagement Through Experiential Learning
Sarah P. Shultz, Julius Moss, Lisa L. Hicks, and Robert B. Brubeck
Community engagement creates evidence-based, experiential learning opportunities for kinesiology programs seeking to enhance student experiences through meaningful connections. We argue that increasing community engagement through hands-on experiential learning opportunities should serve as a model for effectively creating a stronger sense of belonging among kinesiology students. Two cases explore kinesiology program initiatives at private universities emphasizing activist learning models with established community-service pedagogy. Both cases conceptualize research activities, including the design and implementation phases, as well as relevant outcomes developed on the respective campuses. We discuss how experiential learning and community engagement enable students’ sense of belonging and improve student engagement outcomes for kinesiology programs.
Leading at the Edge During COVID-19: Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Pandemic Preparedness
Steven J. Elmer and Kelly B. Kamm
In this paper, we describe how the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology at Michigan Technological University assembled a COVID-19 pandemic response team to help protect the health of the campus and rural community. Specifically, our team worked to (a) enhance public health messaging, (b) manage the university contact tracing program, (c) expand health science curricula, (d) promote and facilitate physical activity as a key mitigation strategy, and (e) provide professional development opportunities for students. We also consider strategies to prepare for subsequent COVID-19 surges and future health emergencies. Leveraging our broad-based training in health science and “leading at the edge” was a critical asset for the campus and community and may serve as a model for other kinesiology departments and rural colleges and universities.
Mental Health and Perceived Stress in Kinesiology Graduate Students
Elizabeth M. Mullin, Anna Bottino, Danielle D. Wadsworth, Steven J. Petruzzello, and Tiffanye M. Vargas
While the negative psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been noted in the general population and among undergraduate students, little is known about the impact on graduate students. We surveyed kinesiology graduate students (N = 272) enrolled in American Kinesiology Association member institutions regarding their well-being. Overall, graduate students reported poor mental health and high perceived stress. Cisgender women reported worse outcomes than their counterparts. No significant differences were found among sexual orientation or racial and ethnic identity. In open-ended responses, graduate students identified both increased and decreased well-being and delineated methods that helped or would have helped their well-being during the pandemic. Faculty and administrators must put intentional effort into recognizing mental health disparities, provide open and clear communication, and increase access and visibility of resources to support the mental health and well-being of graduate students.
Reimagining Sport Management Programs Within Kinesiology and Public Health
Thomas R. George, Armin A. Marquez, Cassandra J. Coble, and Antonio S. Williams
The growth of Sport Management programs in the United States over the past 50 years has sparked debate about where they should reside on college campuses. However, it has also provided significant opportunities for collaboration and integration with other academic programs in Kinesiology and Public Health. This paper explores relevant literature and current issues that highlight the intersection of sport management, physical activity, and health and then describes two academic programs that were redesigned to better integrate sport management and the health sciences. The Sport Marketing and Management program at Indiana University provides students with the opportunity to expand their business training, with particular emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, through coursework in health and movement-related programs in the School of Public Health. The School of Kinesiology’s Applied Exercise Science program at the University of Michigan offers students the option of pursuing a management elective track that incorporates courses from the school’s Sport Management program. This paper provides leaders in Kinesiology with explicit examples of integrating kinesiology and public health with sport management and serves to encourage leaders to promote and support greater collaboration within units of Kinesiology and other health science programs.
Designing for Cross-Cutting Skill Development and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in a Foundational Kinesiology Course
M. Melissa Gross, Kairos Marquardt, Rebecca E. Hasson, Michael Vesia, Anthony R. King, and Peter F. Bodary
Pedagogical strategies continue to improve and evolve with the primary purpose of preparing learners for life and career challenges. The focus on discipline-specific content and individual assessment has dominated higher education practice, including those in kinesiology. Although there is a clear vision to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in kinesiology curricula, we also need to improve important foundational skills (e.g., quantitative literacy, information literacy, teamwork skills) that our students need to succeed in our programs and beyond. Our narrative review highlights how we tackled these two challenges in an intentional redesign of our foundational kinesiology course. In addition, we outline how we integrated our siloed content and moved to coinstruction of a large, team-based-learning class that employs a diverse set of learning assessments and is supported by near-peer learning assistants.
Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion—Utilizing Student Voices During Strategic Decision-Making Processes
Jared Russell, Matt Beth, Danielle Wadsworth, Stephanie George, Wendy Wheeler, and Harald Barkhoff
Kinesiology administrators make a myriad of strategic decisions throughout their time in leadership. Effective leadership, particularly inclusive excellence leadership, is highlighted by the ability of an individual to utilize a diversity of constituent viewpoints, perspectives, and “voices” to guide their respective decision-making processes. This manuscript includes two students’ stories, as well as main points of discussion by American Kinesiology Association Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workshop leaders. These perspectives provide not only foundational background information, including student identities, but also strategic actions that are necessary to develop all-inclusive and individualized programming that can successfully overcome systemic barriers. The main identified themes are (a) ease of access to accommodations, (b) a culture of inclusivity, (c) advocating, (d) establishing trusting relationships, (e) welcoming of Indigenous perspectives, and (f) flexible practices and community support.