Greetings from the Chair

February 2017

Mike Deschenes

Hi to all Kinesiology & Health Sciences alumni,

I hope this finds you all doing well and ready for a little more spring-like weather (still a bit cold here)! I am a little worried though since Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow a couple of weeks ago indicating six more weeks of winter. Oh heck, what does he know anyway, he’s just a silly groundhog!!

Let’s see, what news items do I have to share with you guys?! Oh, I know, the new exhibit for “Scholarship on Display: Kinesiology & Health Sciences" officially opened in Swem Library on Friday, February 3rd, and it really is impressive to see. The artists at Swem did an outstanding job of displaying our department in its entirety, including physiology, public health, anatomy, ethics, Activities program, work in Africa, etc. Importantly, the folks at Swem placed the exhibit in an ideal location to bring attention to our department and what we do. Anyone leaving the library by the main entrance cannot help but see it and it will remain in place for a year. I, and the department, must issue a big congrats and thanks to Prof Bob Kohl for the instrumental role he played in pulling this all together. Thanks Bob for your vision and perseverance in getting this exhibit organized and presented, and thanks to the Swem crew.

At that opening of the exhibit the newest, and cutest, member of our department was there. Matthew Neff McHose, who was born just a few days earlier, January 31st to be exact, was there to participate in the festivities (alright, he did sleep most of the time). I’m sure that you’ll join me in congratulating Prof Evie Burnet and her husband on having such a sweet, beautiful baby boy! And if you can believe it, you will if you know her, Evie was out running just a few days after giving birth, now that’s dedication! On a similar note, Prof Sarah Menefee has recently announced that she is now pregnant (I always said that we had a productive department). Sarah, a big congratulations to you and we all hope that you have a smooth and enjoyable pregnancy,

You may recall that we have been doing a formal search for our open faculty position in Public Health. We brought four outstanding candidates on campus for interviews; all of them do really interesting work which would add much to our department. In fact, these candidates were so good, and enrollment pressures were so high (read busting at the seams) in our courses that we were given permission to bring two new members on board to join our faculty. Yay, we can finally increase the number of our tenure-eligible faculty, this is important progress for us.

Another welcomed indication of progress for us was the recent purchases of vital pieces of equipment that the Vice-provost in charge of research allocated funds for us to use. Prof Brennan Harris now has a cutting edge, brand new metabolic cart and ECG monitor that will allow him to increase the sophistication of his cardiovascular research with people who complete long treks and pilgrimages. Prof Ken Kambis received a device that assesses with high precision heart rate variability while at rest and during exercise, and Prof Robin Looft-Wilson was able to purchase a new water purifier – an essential piece of equipment for her work using molecular biology techniques. To do good research, good equipment is needed and we thank Associate-Provost Dennis Manos for his help.

I always like to inform you of any special awards or recognition allotted to our faculty and students. The most notable accolade for the department since I last reached out to you is that Prof John Charles has been named a Fellow of the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education. His induction ceremony was held in January and he becomes only the 19th fellow of that organization. Quite an honor, congratulations, John.

Prof Charles is not the only one to have earned some bragging rights recently. Prof Bob Kohl was identified by the Parent and Family Council, which is composed of parents of undergraduate students and serves in an advisory capacity to the College. Bob was asked to go to a luncheon meeting of the committee to acknowledge his outstanding teaching and support of students. Nice work Bob!

Now a bit of sad news. Dr. Michio Yasukawa, a visiting professor from Chuo University in Japan, has spent the last year or so collaborating with Ken Kambis to study the effects of hypoxia on physiological responses to exercise. Unfortunately, his sabbatical from Chuo is to soon expire and he will have to return home. Michio has been a delight to have around and has been very productive in the lab. I’m sure that he and Ken will be co-authoring some important papers and presentations based on the data they have been collecting over the last year. You’ll be missed, Michio!!

In what has become a successful annual event, the College will be holding its “One Tribe, One Day” advancement drive this year on March 28th. The key to this is to get as many people as possible to pledge a donation of any amount, and to any department on a single day. It has been a rousing success in the past and is a part of the College’s For the Bold campaign to raise $1 billion. Please consider making a pledge for whatever amount you can at:

In closing, please let me remind you to please keep us up to speed on what is new in your lives at

And you can find out in greater detail what has been going on in Kinesiology & Health Sciences by checking in with us at

Take care and keep in touch,

Michael R. Deschenes, PhD

Chair and Professor, Dept of Kinesiology & Health Sciences

College of William & Mary