Kinesiology Research: Putting Plans into Action
At the end of June 2014, the Research Leadership Chair (RLC) position I have held since 2006 will come to an end. When I reflect on what the Department of Kinesiology has accomplished over this time, I am very proud. I am most proud of the fact that we achieved what the RLC program was intended to do; we enhanced our research culture and fostered our research base at all levels. Years of careful planning and hard work has translated into a more prominent role for Kinesiology in research at the university level, which has involved research advising, strategic planning and awards adjudication. We have also established new research labs, increased our graduate student enrolment, developed a novel PhD program, and formed two research Centres: the International Centre for Sport and Leisure Studies (iCSL) and the Centre for Human Performance and Health (CHPH), a joint initiative between the Department of Kinesiology and the Division of Athletics and Recreational Services (ARS). In this edition of Research Notes, the CHPH and our newly approved PhD program will be highlighted as examples of how Kinesiology will put our research plans into action over the next few years.
In 2012, the Faculty of Human Kinetics secured a Strategic Priority Fund grant from the University of Windsor to develop a Centre for Human Performance and Health. The purpose of the CHPH is to provide a framework for research driven community initiatives and experiential learning opportunities for students, while generating revenue for the Faculty. This will be done by centralizing, enhancing and developing programming related to sport performance, active and healthy living, and workplace training, injury prevention and safety. This important and long awaited initiative will capitalize on existing faculty and staff expertise within Human Kinetics to provide exceptional applied learning opportunities for students which will benefit the communities in which we operate. Leslie Van Zelst, a graduate of the HK program (BHK ‘03) and former basketball player for the University of Windsor, was recently hired to coordinate the CHPH and develop relevant programming. Leslie brings with her a wealth of practical experience working with the community and doctors in cardiac rehabilitation. She has already begun the task of meeting with our internal stakeholders and developing a plan to bring the CHPH to life. We are all very excited about the Centre’s potential, and showcasing what it has to offer the community and our students in the near future.
Kinesiology’s longstanding commitment to the community is central to the missions of both of our research Centres and to our new PhD program, which will accept its first students in January 2014. As part of the course requirements of the PhD program, students will have to complete a community-based internship. Similar to the popular option at the Master’s level in both Sport Management and Applied Human Performance, the internship at the doctoral level will provide students with a hands-on research experience which will help them develop practical skills while assisting community partners solve problems through research. The outcomes of the internships may take on a number of forms, but there will be a central focus on developing publishable quality products that address the needs of the cooperating professionals, translate relevant knowledge, and inform evidence-based change. This type of internship experience is unique in Canada and has already attracted a considerable amount of interest from top students in Canada and internationally.
The CHPH and PhD program in Kinesiology are just two examples of how Kinesiology is putting our well conceived and executed research plans over the last few years into action. I am really looking forward to seeing these initiatives flourish and I am honoured to support the RLC mandate through to its completion in 2014.
Yours in research,