The benefits, barriers, and methodologies of the enhancement of undergraduate research have been widely studied in higher education. However, there are limited studies on undergraduate research in the field of kinesiology. The previous studies centered around student or faculty evaluation of existing curricular or extracurricular undergraduate research programs. The extent to which these studies may inform a kinesiology department that does not have an established undergraduate research curriculum or program is questionable. This article provides a general overview of existing undergraduate research enhancement programs in other universities, presents a recent research study on perceptions of undergraduate research in exercise and sports science students at Texas State University, and offers future recommendations on enhancing undergraduate research in kinesiology.
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Isabel Valdez and Ting Liu
Sheri J. Brock, Christina Beaudoin, Mark G. Urtel, Lisa L. Hicks and Jared A. Russell
The goal of university instructional physical activity programs (IPAPs) is to provide quality instruction through best practices to encourage college students to lead healthy and physically active lifestyles. As IPAPs have continued to decline due to enrollment and budgetary concerns, the importance of quality and sustainability has become particularly paramount. Furthermore, it is imperative to the existence of IPAPs that we strive to learn and share with each other in order to independently survive, but more essentially to flourish collectively, as we are better together. In our varied experience, while some IPAPs face unique challenges, many obstacles are common, regardless of institution size and composition. This paper will offer the perspectives of four strikingly different colleges and universities in their quest to navigate challenges in delivery, maintain and support quality instruction, and advocate for IPAPs.
Jared A. Russell
Programs that provide student research experiences at the undergraduate level are an impactful means of recruiting and preparing students for graduate academic programs. Notably, such programs, when combined with faculty mentorship, exposure to graduate-school-level academic curricula, and socialization experiences, are considered crucial to the effective recruitment and retention of students from diverse cultural backgrounds into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-oriented graduate academic programs. This work outlines the strategic efforts of Auburn University’s School of Kinesiology to enhance its graduate student diversity recruitment and retention processes. Highlighted are the School of Kinesiology’s goals and guiding principles related to diversity and inclusion initiatives. A detailed description of the centerpiece of this effort, the Future Scholars-Summer Research Bridge Program, is provided. Additionally, related Future Scholars-Summer Research Bridge Program topics are discussed, including securing donor support, aligning the program with institutional strategic goals, forming institutional or academic program partnerships, and addressing administrative and logistical challenges.
Laurence Fruteau de Laclos, Marie-Josée Sirois, Andréanne Blanchette, Dominic Martel, Joannie Blais, Marcel Émond, Raoul Daoust and Mylène Aubertin-Leheudre
This study compared effects of exercise-based interventions with usual care on functional decline, physical performance, and health-related quality of life (12-item Short-Form health survey) at 3 and 6 months after minor injuries, in older adults discharged from emergency departments. Participants were randomized either to the intervention or control groups. The interventions consisted of 12-week exercise programs available in their communities. Groups were compared on cumulative incidences of functional decline, physical performances, and 12-item Short-Form health survey scores at all time points. Functional decline incidences were: intervention, 4.8% versus control, 15.4% (p = .11) at 3 months, and 5.3% versus 17.0% (p = .06) at 6 months. While the control group remained stable, the intervention group improved in Five Times Sit-To-Stand Test (3.0 ± 4.5 s, p < .01). The 12-item Short-Form health survey role physical score improvement was twice as high following intervention compared with control. Early exercises improved leg strength and reduced self-perceived limitations following a minor injury.
Physical education in recent years has undergone modifications in order to meet the changing demands of students. The traditional paradigm has been to teach physical education from a sport- and skill-based approach, whereby traditional teams and individual sports are emphasized (e.g., basketball, volleyball, flag football). However, this curriculum may be less impactful on student learning than alternatives and is not viewed favorably by administrators because it is perceived as lacking relevance to broader educational goals. The purpose of this paper was to reintroduce a curriculum that has the potential to address student learning in physical education and broader educational goals. The outdoor/adventure education curriculum, while neglected in recent years, is demonstrating promising gains as a viable model.
Steven J. Petruzzello and Allyson G. Box
The status of physical activity in higher education has changed dramatically over the past 100 years. In this paper, we aim to (a) provide a brief history of physical activity on campus; (b) describe how that activity has changed from a requirement to an elective; (c) illustrate how mental health (particularly stress, anxiety, and depression) has changed in college students over the past few decades; and (d) describe the relationships between physical activity and mental health, particularly in college students. The paper culminates with recommendations for how colleges and universities might facilitate better student mental health through physical activity. There is room to improve the physical activity and mental health of college students, realigning higher education with the promotion of mens sana in corpore sano.
Jessica L. Kutz, Melissa Bopp and Lori A. Gravish Hurtack
As the need for qualified medical and allied health professions has grown, so too have the natural feeder undergraduate programs of kinesiology across the country. With an impending “enrollment cliff,” it is necessary to assess the needs of our students and be proactive in addressing curricular issues, initiatives, internship opportunities, and academic advising support. The purpose of this article is to highlight formal and informal data collection strategies and suggest solutions to undergraduate issues that pertain to retention and success. Data from current students and alumni shed light on issues that plague kinesiology programs and present unique challenges to students as they attempt to pursue careers in the medical and allied health fields. Two R1 kinesiology programs identified similarly themed issues using informal and formal data collection approaches. Those themes were undergraduate major identification, career options, curricular issues, financial concern, and emotional fortitude. Suggested solutions and current best practices are provided to address the common themes that hold our undergraduates back from achieving their career goals.
Bradley J. Cardinal
Concerns about college and university student health date back to at least the mid-19th century. These concerns were addressed through the development and implementation of required, service-based physical activity education programs. In the 1920s–1930s, 97% of American colleges and universities offered such programs. Today less than 40% do. However, student health issues persist. This essay asserts that kinesiology departments are best suited to address these needs by delivering physical activity education courses through their institution’s general education curriculum. General education courses are those that every student must take in order to develop the competencies necessary for living a full and complete life and contributing to society. Given the growing costs of higher education, any such requirement must be justifiable. Therefore, implementing and sustaining a physical activity education general education requirement is not for the faint of heart; it requires effort, resources, support, and time. This essay explores these issues.
Ann Pulling Kuhn, Russell L. Carson, Aaron Beighle and Darla M. Castelli
Purpose: This study examined changes in physical education teachers’ psychosocial perspectives after participating in a yearlong professional development about Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programming. Method: Twenty-three intervention teachers attended a workshop in Year 1 and received one academic year of technical assistance and mentorship, and 30 control teachers only attended a workshop in Year 2. Both groups completed pre- and post-self-reported measures on teacher efficacy, work engagement, and affective commitment. Results: At posttest, intervention teachers reported significantly higher levels of affective commitment, and a significant positive relationship was revealed between affective commitment and the degree to which before-school physical activity was implemented. More experienced teachers (>20 years) reported significantly higher levels of the work engagement subscale of vigor at posttest. Discussion/Conclusion: Participating in a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program professional development may positively influence teachers’ job commitment levels and invigorate more experienced teachers, which may relate to Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program implementation.