If only indirectly and by comparison with other, supposedly more consequential, social undertakings, sport and athletic commitment continue to be denounced as trivial in contemporary society. Against the backdrop of this abiding trivialization, this paper explores the value found in committing to athletic excellence or, using the terminology of the 2019 National Academy of Kinesiology’s annual conference, in pursuing optimal athletic performance. The author introduces and explains 6 kinds of value found in this commitment and pursuit. While these values can be conceptualized independently, they need not be thought of as mutually exclusive. Not only are the values comparably significant, but they might also overlap and combine in various forms and to different degrees. In some cases, they might develop concurrently. Before introducing the values, the author briefly conceptualizes both optimal performance and sport, because sound analysis depends on conceptual clarity.
Cesar R. Torres
The overarching purpose of the current article was to examine the status of sport psychology as a profession in 4 ways. First, the author characterizes the profession of sport psychology as an illusion because there is so little demand for sport psychology services and because there are so few full-time practicing sport psychologists. Second, paradoxically, it appears that many people assume that applied sport psychology is a healthy and viable profession, so the author comments on why this is the case. Sidestepping the lack of jobs does a disservice to graduate students who believe they can easily become practicing sport psychologists. Third, it is clear that few athletes or teams want to pay for sport psychology services, so some reasons why this is the case are presented. Fourth, the author speculates about the future of the sport psychology profession, followed by some recommendations that would rectify his claim that the field’s relative silence on this issue does a disservice to students.
Karen S. Meaney and Sonya L. Armstrong
Bullying in any context adversely affects individuals and organizations. Although bullying is typically conceived of as an issue specific to children in schoolyards, adult bullying is widespread, and the literature on workplace bullying continues to emerge as a scholarly focus. More specifically, academic bullying in higher-education institutions has been identified as an area of particular interest. Considerable literature exists that addresses definitions, characteristics, and effects of faculty bullying; however, the literature is scant regarding effective practice and policy that explicitly aim to prevent academic bullying. Furthermore, although this is a topic often discussed informally on university campuses, it does not appear to be addressed explicitly in formalized institutional policies. In this manuscript, the authors provide the findings of the initial stages of a content analysis aimed at exploring extant policy at public doctoral-granting universities. Implications and recommendations for policy development based on the results of this policy review are provided.
Derek T. Smith, Tannah Broman, Marcus Rucker, Cecile Sende, and Sarah Banner
Effective academic advising in kinesiology is paramount to student success, contribution of the discipline to global health, and preparation of the workforce’s future leaders. Enrollment growth in kinesiology and its curricular breadth impose challenges that are unique from many other academic majors. The American Kinesiology Association convened a preworkshop titled “Advising in Kinesiology: Challenges and Opportunities” in January 2019 to begin dialogue related to advancing effective advising practices in kinesiology. Twenty-six attendees, all of whom were engaged in advising in different roles, participated in presentations and group discussions. This paper summarizes the preworkshop primary findings and offers some best-practice considerations. While it is clear that effective advising is positioned to advance the quality of kinesiology programs and our graduates, there is a dearth of supporting evidence, and addressing this through research is a needed priority.
Philip E. Martin, Mary E. Rudisill, Bradley D. Hatfield, Jared Russell, and T. Gilmour Reeve
One of the most important and yet more challenging and stressful tasks completed by a department chair is evaluating faculty. Regardless of its importance, though, department chairs often receive little or no training for this critical task. This paper contains three sections, all of which focus on faculty annual evaluations. The first section discusses a number of recommendations for conducting thorough and meaningful annual evaluations. The second section highlights a real case scenario at Auburn University in which all university departments were tasked with changing their evaluation procedures, criteria, and expectations for faculty performance to better align with the revised strategic goals and mission of the university. The third section highlights an innovative peer-based faculty performance-evaluation system employed in the department of kinesiology at the University of Maryland that is designed to engage all tenure-track faculty in the evaluation process.
Faculty morale plays an important role in academic life. Morale influences faculty behavior, productivity, and quality of teaching; ultimately affects student learning and program quality; and is predictive of faculty turnover. It is an often overlooked but worthy challenge for academic leaders. This article examines faculty morale, its meaning, and factors that influence it and explores strategies for promoting it in a university department. Faculty morale is a cognitive, emotional, and motivational approach toward the work of the department and may be reflected by a sense of common purpose, group cohesion, and a sense of personal value in the organization. Research shows that faculty morale is affected by various aspects of work life including workload, supportive resources, and recognition. However, evidence also suggests that 2 of the strongest variables influencing morale are relationships with colleagues and perceptions of the abilities and actions of the department leader. Strategies are suggested for promoting faculty morale that are derived from the research, a survey of department chairs, and experience.
Jason R. Carter and Nancy Williams
Duane Knudson, Ting Liu, Dan Schmidt, and Heather Van Mullem
The scarcity of tenure-track lines in most kinesiology departments supports the need for the implementation of faculty mentoring programs. This article summarizes key elements of mentoring programs for tenure-track kinesiology faculty at 3 kinds of state universities. Mentoring at a bachelor’s college or university might emphasize support to enhance a new faculty member’s teaching effectiveness and student advising strategies and assist new faculty with a positive integration into the campus community. A comprehensive university mentoring approach may place equal emphasis on both formal (e.g., orientation and mentoring committee) and informal (e.g., collegial and self-selected mentoring) interactions. Helping new faculty members understand their role as an important part of the departmental team and organizational mission is a consistent theme. Mentoring at a research-intensive university might emphasize clarifying scholarship, tenure, and promotion expectations relative to support; guidance in portfolio presentation; retention, tenure, and promotion evaluation; and strong communication that promotes mutual professional development and improves or sustains faculty retention.
Jared A. Russell, Sheri Brock, and Mary E. Rudisill
Bias, an automatic—usually unconscious and unintentional—inclination, preference, or favoring of an individual or group over another, is an inherent aspect of an individual’s academic leadership and decision-making processes. Bias alone is not a detriment to building an inclusive and supportive environment for faculty. However, oftentimes an academic unit leader’s biases result in the justification, rationalization, and facilitation of exclusionary processes and practices toward faculty, particularly those from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. This article discusses the impact of bias, specifically implicit bias, on academic leadership. Moreover, the impact of a leader’s biases toward diversity attributes (e.g., gender, sexual orientation/affinity, age, ethnicity, race) of faculty are highlighted. Specifically, key areas of academic leadership are explored: faculty recruitment (hiring), retention (evaluation), and advancement (promotion and tenure). Recommendations, promising practices, and strategies for minimizing the impact of implicit bias are provided.