As we begin our journey into 2022, I find myself looking back on the year of 2021, I once again turn to words written by another; this time it is those of William Ernest Henley: And yet the menace of the years finds and shall find me unafraid. The entire poem, Invictus, is a masterpiece of uncomplicated motivation to persevere in the face of adversity. But it is these lesser known lines that epitomize the character of the Kinesiology faculty, staff, and students as we fearlessly navigated the unforeseen circumstances of change that continue to impact our world. We have not only succeeded in simply surviving this second year of continued uncertainty – we have, individually and collectively, accumulated numerous successes.
“New” is not an unfamiliar word to Seattle University’s Kinesiology Department, and the past year continues to emphasize our collective need to innovate: new faculty, new staff, new mobile lab, new partnerships…new opportunities. One might even be able to say that for the Kinesiology Department, it is less ‘the new normal’ and more that ‘the new IS normal’.
This fall, the Kinesiology Department welcomed 10 graduate students into our inaugural Master's program. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our new graduate students were resilient, developing and conducting their own research projects as part of their Research Methods course and completing their required lab activities as part of their Advanced Exercise Prescription Course. The students have officially declared the track they wish to pursue in the program with 7 students pursuing the research track and 3 students pursuing the clinical track.
Not only did we begin our new master’s program, but the Kinesiology Department welcomed the inaugural cohort for the fully revised BS, Kinesiology program! Incoming freshmen merged with some of our more experienced upperclassmen in Applied Human Anatomy, the first offering of such a course within the Kinesiology Department. Our other brand new offering, Professional Standards in Kinesiology, was a huge success, with discussions, debates, and guest speakers focused on developing social justice competency as well as more traditional professional preparedness. We are excited about our upcoming course work, as students engage in Applied Human Physiology and Exercise Programming in the Winter Quarter as well as Motor Control and Learning and Physical Activity Across the Lifespan in the Spring Quarter.
The pandemic, and the university’s decision to offer courses in a primarily virtual setting, has a significant impact on an undergraduate program like ours, which values hands-on, experiential learning. Our lab sections were offered in remote or in-person settings, with the Human Performance Lab establishing strict policies to keep in-person students safe. Faculty got creative, and anatomy labs involved a arts and crafts corner-students had to think outside the box when visualizing anatomical models made from legos, playdoh, pipe cleaners, and in the case of the digestive system, food. Internship was also forced to pivot and saw some drastic, but positive, virtual changes. To support our university community and promote a learning opportunity, our senior interns worked with SU faculty and staff members to create exercise programs that these “clients” could do while working at home. Students also gained professional experience in an unusual way: they have been able to work with many notable researchers from around the world on existing projects; some of whom will have publications to their names when they graduate! Research sites in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Belgium, Brazil, and around the United States have taken part in these virtual internships. Students have also created working relationships with professional organizations such as ACSM, Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance and NATA Research and Education Foundation.
The Kinesiology Department kicked off our new podcast, Redhawk Squawk: Exercise for Life. We had amazing speakers from around the world translating their research and experiences into practical knowledge for living a healthy life. Dr Terry Anne Scott (Hood College, Maryland) spoke about Seattle’s rich sport history in the context of social progress. Dr Catherine Sabiston (University of Toronto, Canada) talked about mental health in undergraduate students and the important role of exercise. Dr Julie Steele (University of Wollongong, Australia) helped us learn more about breast health and why it is so important to a woman’s quality of life. Dr Leigh Signal (Massey University, New Zealand) provided helpful information about how to improve sleep hygiene. Mr Gary Keith (retired US Navy) celebrated Veteran’s Day with conversations about physical and mental health as a US veteran. Our local expert panel spoke candidly about healthy eating and navigating societal pressure around the holidays. And our last podcast of the term included a local former athlete, Mr Anthony Washington, who talked about the role of sport in marginalized communities. All of our podcasts can be found archived on our website. We have recently established a feed on Podbean, so you will be able to listen to all of your favorite episodes on your preferred podcast streaming platform. Check out our Events page to see upcoming guests for the Winter and Spring terms!
With all of the changes within our department, we thought it was only right to make sure that our media matched our mission. Over the course of the fall term, undergraduate and graduate students worked with university marketing and communications to produce a suite of action-oriented images that take the science out of the lab and bring it into SU campus life. In each photo, we use a different piece of mobile lab equipment and highlight important parts of campus. The new photos are sprinkled throughout the newsletter, on our website, and in our social media feeds. See if you can spot the location of the shoot, and what is being tested by the equipment in the photo. Can you see science differently?
Not only do we have new images, but we were also able to produce new videos that showcase our master’s degree and undergraduate degree. The videos are on our website and have been included in the marketing materials for incoming applicants. Have a look, see what you think!
As we grow, we need more space for our students to do amazing hands-on research! Our innovative solution to diminished Seattle real estate is to develop a mobile equipment laboratory. The mobile lab takes the science out of the lab. It speaks to the mission of the university and better connect with our community. It speaks to the mission of our department and empower our students to be leaders in exercise. And it expands opportunities for everyone involved in Kinesiology.
We have attached the brochure about our mobile lab to this newsletter; please have a read and see why we think it is such an important piece to our department’s growth and development. You will be hearing from us as part of the SU Gives campaign in February. If you are interested in supporting this initiative, or you know of someone who might be, please email us. We would love to hear from you.
We want to hear what alumni are doing! If you want to share information about your current employment or education, or volunteer to get involved with the department, please contact us by email.
Designate your donation to the program by choosing "Get Up & Move - Kinesiology" from the dropdown menu (the 10th item in the list).