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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.

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Jeffrey T. Fairbrother and Jared Russell

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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.

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Alyssa Abreu, Jessica Thompson, Danielle N. Cofield, Mark D. Faries, and Eric J. Jones

Physical inactivity is common among women and a quarter of college-aged women are classified as overweight or obese, making this population an important target for obesity prevention. Fitness testing is commonplace, and practitioners can hold an underlying belief that discrepancies will promote positive responses. However, little research has examined the affective responses to fitness testing in adults. The purpose of this study was to assess the affective responses to common fitness testing, while examining relationships to physical self to help elucidate why some respond to such testing and others do not. Forty-eight college-aged women were presented with their discrepancy from a normative standard across six fitness tests. Findings support previous conceptualizations on discrepancies and affective responses, in that greater negative discrepancies from normative standards were associated with greater changes in negative feeling states. In addition, the results suggest that only certain discrepancies pose a threat to perceived satisfaction with one’s physical self (i.e., self-concept)—mainly though subdomains related to body appearance and aerobic fitness. In other words, the greater the perceived satisfaction of self, the greater negative emotional response was experienced to the specific test discrepancy. The notation of “threats” to important domains of self-concept might help explain why fitness testing that alerts individuals where they are discrepant produce behavioral changes in some but not others. Professionals should consider the impact of providing fitness test discrepancies on negative affective responses, with the possible impact on motivation and future behavior choices to reduce the discrepancy.

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Alex Jane Smethurst and Iain Stuart Findlay

Bike fitting is a rapidly developing profession in the field of sport and well-being. The profession is governed by the International Bike Fitting Institute, which recently announced the creation of a common education syllabus. Although this is a positive step forward, to ensure the integrity of the profession, it is important that the content of the syllabus be evidence based. This, however, may prove challenging as there is currently a paucity of research regarding certain aspects of the bike-fitting role. One area that appears to have been largely neglected is the relationship and importance of communication between the bike fitter and client. This scholarly commentary presents research from other professions that demonstrates both the importance of this omission and the necessity to include training on communication and interpersonal skills in the International Bike Fitting Institute’s proposed education provision.

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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.

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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.