We hope this newsletter finds you and yours staying safe and healthy during these tumultuous times. The second half of the academic year (and subsequently, the first half of 2020) was unlike anything we would have predicted, and that may be understating it a bit. But amidst the uncertainty, there were opportunities for the department to continue to grow, progress, and adapt, and to make a difference to our students and to our greater community. I hope you will read on to see what changes were made in the past six months. Please consider following us on FaceBook to stay up-to-date on all of our events and developments!
At their April 2020 meeting, the SU Board of Trustees approved our proposed revised undergraduate curriculum. The approval was the culmination of over a year’s worth of intentional work to improve our program and increase the opportunities that our students will be prepared to embrace. The revisions start with a name change: incoming students will now be part of a BS in Kinesiology. The change aligns the undergraduate program with the department and the master’s program under the same terminology. We believe the word kinesiology is more encompassing of human function and all that it involves, rather than a more narrowed focus on sport and exercise. An honor’s degree was included in the revisions, and will provide students with the opportunity to explore research more deeply during their senior year. The course revision and restructuring sees a shift to department-led major courses, with a tiered approach to learning. New foundational courses will provide our incoming students with immediate engagement in our curriculum, and stronger theoretical application will better prepare students for life after graduation. View our website for more information on the new degree requirements, and the graduate profile that drove all of the decision making.
While we successfully recruited a full inaugural class for our new master’s program and worked towards approval of the fully revised undergraduate program, we also made some marked changes to our faculty.
A successful tenure track search was completed with the hiring of Brittany Walters. Brittany joins us after completing her PhD in neuromechanics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research interests include understanding age-related changes to fine motor control, with the goal to increase functional independence and quality of life in older adults. As a motor control specialist, Brittany feels a previously vacant gap in our faculty areas of expertise.
The new master’s program afforded us a new hire to direct our clinical track. After another successful faculty search, Nicole Wood was hired as clinical graduate director and exercise physiologist. Nicole completed her PhD at University of Northern Colorado before taking a visiting professor position at University of Puget Sound. Nicole researches ways that exercise can be used to increase quality of life and reduce impairments in populations suffering from various diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc). She will be a fantastic addition to our master’s and undergraduate education.
As was the case for most of the world, COVID-19 hit us hard and left us scrambling. The Spring Quarter was unlike any other, and we sought to maintain connections with our students through the required distance. As a department, we were able to coordinate several online events. Our career panel, held annually in the Spring, transitioned smoothly to the virtual world and allowed close to thirty of our undergraduate students to engage with professionals across diverse fields. We welcomed Dr Ray Browning, CEO of BioMotum and former lab director of Nike, on to our virtual campus by holding a public lecture in May. Dr Browning spoke to over fifty students and faculty across Seattle University, University of Washington, and VA Puget Sound. We connected with our students through two journal club discussions and a very enthusiastic Quiz Night. At the end of the Quiz Night we celebrated our seniors and their many accomplishments.
If the beginning of the quarter brought the anxieties of a pandemic, the end of the quarter compounded the stress with the ongoing protests for racial equity. Many of our students participated in the protests, while also juggling final exams, end of quarter projects, and the business of transitioning out of another academic year. We supported our students in their desire to protest and continue to stand by all of our students. To that end, we adapted an open source poster (credit to Sammy Katta) to underscore our commitment that Exercise is for EVERYONE, and Exercise is for life. The poster will be displayed in our department and lab when the campus reopens. You can find the poster, and download the .pdf file, on our website.
In February, seven students from the Kinesiology club and two faculty members attended the ACSM Northwest regional conference in Boise, Idaho. Students had a great time attending research talks and networking with other students and faculty in the field of Kinesiology from all over the northwest. Students shared their experiences from the conference on the Kinesiology Club's Instagram Page - check it out at su.kinesiology.club
In June, our Exercise is Medicine Club was awarded silver status through the American College of Sports Medicine for conducting on campus education about the benefits of physical activity and hosting a number of events to increase awareness of physical activity on campus to get students, faculty and staff moving! We are so proud of all of our students' hard work in achieving this prestigious honor!
We are excited to welcome our first cohort of graduate students this coming September who will be pursuing their Master degree in Kinesiology. We have 11 students coming from all over the country and internationally. We look forward to having these students in our program and the amazing work they will do as they work on their Master's degree.
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).