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Faculty Morale: A Perspective for Academic Leaders

Edward Hebert

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.

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The Effects of Observing a Learning Model (or Two) on Motor Skill Acquisition

Edward Hebert

Modeling, which enhances skill acquisition, is an often-used means of conveying information to learners. While models typically provide a demonstration of correct movements or successful performance, skill acquisition is also enhanced by observing a “learning model,” who practices, receives feedback, and improves. The effect is proposed to be due to the observer engaging in problem-solving, error detection, and strategy evaluation. The purpose of this experiment was to examine the effects of observing one or two learning models in combination with physical practice, and the temporal placement of model observation during physical practice, on the acquisition and retention of a motor skill. College students practiced a 3 × 6 × 3 cup stacking task in groups of three, and had opportunities to observe their peers’ physical practice. Treatment groups differed in the order of observation and physical practice; some participants engaged in physical practice prior to observation, while others observed one or two learning models before practice. Data indicated observation prior to engaging in physical practice enhanced learning. In addition, participants were able to identify strategies they observed that enhanced skill performance. These results support and add to existing research on modeling, and provide insight into the types of cognition that occur during observational learning.

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The Impact of Task Progressions on Students’ Practice Quality and Task-Related Thoughts

Edward P. Hebert, Dennis Landin, and Melinda A. Solmon

A major focus of research on teaching and learning for the past decade has been directed toward developing an understanding of student behaviors and thought processes related to achievement. Using a mediational-processes approach, researchers have identified engagement variables that predict skill learning gains, most notably the quality and quantity of practice and student self-perceptions of efficacy and competence. We sought to extend this correlational research by examining how one aspect of instruction, task progressions, influenced students’ practice quality and task-related cognition. University students enrolled in tennis classes were taught and practiced the serve under one of three conditions, two characterized by easy-to-difficult task sequences, and the third involving practice of the criterion task. Data were collected on students’ practice trials and three task-related cognitions: motivation, self-efficacy, and perception of success. The results indicated student practice and task-related thoughts varied according to entry skill level and the condition under which they practiced. Instructional conditions involving easy-to-difficult progressions resulted in more successful and appropriate practice trials and enhanced student self-efficacy and motivation. These findings parallel those previously reported on the impact of student ability on practice quality and add to an understanding of how instructional conditions affect what students think and do in physical education class contexts.

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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.

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Campus-Community Partnerships in Health and Wellness

Ralph Wood, Edward Hebert, Chris Wirth, Ali Venezia, Shelly Welch, and Ann Carruth

Successful campus-community partnerships provide universities enhanced visibility in the community, and offer university students opportunities to engage in real-world educational experiences through service learning and internships. In addition, the participating community agency/program benefits from an infusion of ambitious students that can help the agency/program further its mission, and increase its visibility and reach. Within the areas of health promotion and wellness, campus-community partnerships have become an essential component in the delivery of prevention services and the development of public health infrastructure. The purpose of this paper is to share the experiences of two universities in their development of campus-community partnerships in the areas of health and wellness.