Greetings from the Chair

December 2017

Mike Deschenes

Ho-ho-ho!!

We’re quickly coming to that very special time of year!! For sure, this is the best time of year, with all the fun expectations and anticipation for the upcoming end of year holidays; people just seem to be in a better mood. At the same time, I hate to see the fall come and go so quickly. I think Halloween and Thanksgiving are real enjoyable holidays while having fairly low levels of stress associated with them (especially Halloween).

Here on campus, students are getting geared up for finals which will start a full two weeks after getting back from Thanksgiving break this year. We have a new schedule this year, but I’m not sure why. The holiday decorations have started to pop up all over campus and Colonial Williamsburg really adding to the spirit of the season!! The place really looks nice and festive at night when you can see all the colorful lights.

Around the department, things have been going well and keeping us all (students and faculty) busy. Proving that our faculty are not only terrific teachers, but also accomplished researchers, two manuscripts based on projects completed in Adair Hall’s laboratories were published in top notch scientific journals this semester. “Increased Myoendothelial Feedback is Associated with Increased Connexin37 and IK1 Channel Expression in Mesenteric Arteries of Diet-induced Hyperhomocysteinemic Mice” was published in the November issue of Microcirculation. This work was performed in Dr. Robin Looft-Wilson’s lab and five of her undergraduate research assistants served as co-authors on the paper. Also published this fall was “Neuromuscular Adaptability of Male and Female Rats to Muscle Unloading” in the Journal of Neuroscience Research. This paper reported results of work conducted in the lab of Dr. Michael Deschenes and six of his undergraduate research assistants are listed as co-authors. We are so lucky to have such gifted and dedicated undergraduates working (and making possible) our research projects. Their efforts are remarkable and truly appreciated!!

As further testament of the excellence of our students, three of our majors will soon complete the induction ceremony of Phi Beta Kappa. A few weeks ago, Laura Anderson, Erin Heald, and Caitlin Taylor were all named to the newest class of that elite academic society’s alpha chapter here at the College. Big Congrats to each of them, they have much to be proud of.

In addition to very talented students, Kinesiology & Health Sciences is also so fortunate to have an outstanding faculty. This fall, we have welcomed our newest professors – Drs. Carrie Dolan and Iyabo Obasanjo – and they are already making a positive difference around here with their teaching and research efforts. On top of that, we are currently conducting a search for a new tenure eligible faculty member specializing in Nutritional Sciences. The candidate pool looks great and one of them will be joining us full-time in the fall of 2018.

In addition to the improvements in the personnel of our department (it is still your department, too!), we are changing the infrastructural features of Kinesiology & Health Sciences. We recently installed a large screen TV monitor in the lobby of Adair, so that we can better welcome people entering the building and share the achievements of our students and faculty more effectively. The construction of a new elevator to Adair continues (slowly!), as do plans to build a new office to accommodate soon to arrive new faculty members. Moreover, we (K&HS) are being consulted on plans for the construction of phase 4 of the Integrated Science Center (ISC 4) which is to be our new home as early as November of 2021. The presentations that the four architecture firms made on campus in October were all so impressive and it was exciting to see the kinds of buildings, classrooms, and laboratories they had recently built at other universities. It is starting to feel like this is really going to happen and that we will have a building that will adequately house us and meet our teaching and scholarly needs.

Also, this fall we held our annual Homecoming event in the front yard of Adair Hall, this year on October 21st. As always, it was a pleasant affair and it was so much fun for us to catch up with our alumni who were able to make it. I must apologize for not being there, but the 50th wedding anniversary of my in-laws required me to be in Connecticut, and making it through 50 years of marriage these days really is impressive! Pictures of Homing 2017 can be seen on our website.

Well, that’s it for now. Please remember that we always want to hear what, and who, is new in your lives, so please keep us updated by filling out the Send Us Your News form.

Take care and have an absolutely joyous holiday season!!

Mike Deschenes