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.
NiCole R. Keith and Jared A. Russell
This article describes the characteristics of diversity within academia and professional organizations in general and specifically within Kinesiology departments and Kinesiology-related organizations. While other types of diversity exist, this article refers to diversity in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, age, physical capability, socioeconomic background, and/or sexual orientation. Two Kinesiology departments, within the context of their universities, in two different regions of the United States are presented as models of best practice to improve institutional diversity. Also presented are one detailed example and several general examples of methods by which Kinesiology-related professional organizations have developed intentional strategies to improve diversity in membership and leadership. Presented models could, at least in part, be used by administrators and leaders to improve diversity within academic institutions and professional organizations.
Robert Russell, Jared Porter, and Olivia Campbell
This study examined the interaction between a skill/extraneous attentional focus and an internal/external focus of attention using a dual-task paradigm. Thirty-two low-skill participants completed a primary dart-throwing task with their dominant arm while simultaneously performing a secondary arm-stabilizing task with their nondominant arm. Two aspects of the participants’ attentional focus were manipulated: skill versus extraneous focus and external versus internal focus. Participants completed 120 trials across four conditions created by combining the dimensions of the two variables. Performance on the primary task was assessed by measuring throwing accuracy and the kinematics of the throwing action. Results indicated that accuracy improved under the external, skill-oriented condition relative to all other conditions; no differences between the remaining conditions were observed. These findings suggest that an external, skill-oriented focus of attention is needed to facilitate performance improvements in novices.
Jared Russell, Danielle Wadsworth, Peter Hastie, and Mary Rudisill
The purpose of this paper is to describe the precursors to and development of the School of Kinesiology's portal, which is used to deliver multimedia content to the approximately 7,000 students annually enrolled in physical activity and wellness program courses. Grounded in research, the paper addresses the initial rationale for changing the physical activity program focus, the implementation of a new delivery system of course content, and the benefits to students and instructors that have been realized. Research possibilities are also outlined. The paper concludes with an examination of issues that faculty at other institutions might consider when developing an online component within their physical activity and wellness programs.
Sheri J. Brock, Jared A. Russell, Brenna Cosgrove, and Jessica Richards
The School of Kinesiology at Auburn University has a large Physical Activity and Wellness Program (PAWP) that services approximately 8,000 students each academic year. The roughly 470 courses offered annually include aquatics, leisure, martial arts, fitness, and individual- and team-sport offerings taught predominantly by graduate teaching assistants. Overall, Auburn University has experienced a great deal of success in providing a PAWP program that students enjoy and often wish to repeat although these courses are not required as compulsory credit. Delivering high-quality undergraduate educational experiences is paramount to the overall instructional mission of the School of Kinesiology. This paper outlines administrative strategies to ensure that PAWP instructors are prepared and supported in their instructional responsibilities.
Cory E. Dixon, Peter A. Hastie, and Jared A. Russell
Purpose: Acknowledging the growing ethnic and cultural gap in diverse teacher and student populations, this study examined the pedagogical experiences of undergraduate physical education teacher education seniors following a teaching experience at a youth development center. Method: A phenomenological case study approach was employed in which preservice teachers taught and participated in over 45 secondary physical education lessons. The primary data sources were reflective journals and semistructured interviews. Results: Two major themes were constructed that describe the journeys of the physical education teacher education seniors teaching at both the youth development center field experience and in their internship placements the following semester. Initially, the preservice teachers experienced nervousness, uncertainty, and concern but, across time, experienced a degree of change and growth that saw them becoming particularly aware of and appreciating the personal biographies of their students. Discussion: The extent to which the physical education teacher education seniors’ experiences at the youth development center were transferred into their internships is discussed in addition to implications for introducing culturally relevant pedagogies in nontraditional settings.
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.
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.
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.
Danielle D. Wadsworth, Mary E. Rudisill, Jared A. Russell, James R. McDonald, and David D. Pascoe
The School of Kinesiology at Auburn University unites teaching, research, and outreach efforts to provide access to physical activity for local, statewide, and global communities. This paper provides a brief overview of the programs as well as strategies to mobilize efforts for physical activity outreach within an academic setting. School-wide efforts include youth initiatives, physical activity assessments offered through our TigerFit program, and the United States Olympic Team Handball training center. All programs provide service-learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students as well as outreach outcomes. Furthermore, the programs provide a platform for scholarship in the form of publications, partnerships for grant submissions, and student research projects. Merging teaching, outreach, and scholarship has provided longevity for the programs, thereby establishing long-term social ties to the community and providing continued access to physical activity to promote public health.