Greetings from the Chair

November 2016

Mike Deschenes

Hello to all you Kinesiology & Health Sciences Alumni out there!

            I hope this finds you in good spirits, as soon the holiday spirits will be with us. Don’t you just love this time of year? In the next few days we’ll be on our Thanksgiving break, which seems to be really needed this year after tensions have flared on campus following the recent presidential election. It is a stressful time of the semester every year and this year it just seems to be multiplied compared to years past. Certainly, the overall fatigue that sets in at the end of the semester can’t be helping matters either. It is time for all of us – students and faculty – to get away for a few days to rest, eat turkey and pumpkin pie, and especially to rejuvenate. I hope that all of you will also get a chance to catch up on some rest, eat too much - it is OK this time of year - and be reminded of the truly important things and people in your lives.

 Since we last communicated, Kinesiology & Health Sciences hosted the newest iteration of our annual Homecoming celebration. This year we got together on Saturday, October 15th from 10:00 am until noon. As always, it was great to see the faces of former students and current friends, and even better to hear such impressive personal and professional stories of success. You guys, both those of you who came and those who were unable to, have so much to be proud of!! The weather for Homecoming this year was cooperative, although for a while it looked as though it wouldn’t be. Weather, however, might not be such a concern in planning our Homecoming festivities in the future. In recognition of our pending move from Adair upon completion of the newest addition to the Integrated Science Center (ISC 4), we may house our Homecoming get together in ISC, possibly as early as next year. This would allow us, along with other departments located in ISC, to take advantage of a large, modern indoor facility. This area really does look well suited for this type of event and alleviates any concerns about bad weather interfering with our Homecoming gathering. Please stay tuned as I will be sure to let you know in a timely manner if we are, in fact, going to celebrate Homecoming at ISC next year. In the meantime, please check the following link to see photos of this year’s Homecoming get together.

Other important matters include our ongoing search for a new tenure-eligible faculty member in Public Health. To date, this process is moving forward smoothly, and we have been very impressed by the number and quality of our applicants. Maybe word has gotten out about what a fine department we (that includes you) have here at W&M. This new person is expected to be fully on board to start with us next fall, and we’re all looking forward to it.

 No big surprise, but our students continue to achieve great things and to make us want to puff out our chests. We recently learned that two of our current students – Matt Adan and Rachel Rapp – have been selected to the exclusive academic society of Phi Beta Kappa. The induction ceremony, which is quite something I’m told, will be held in Phi Beta Kappa Hall in December. I’m sure that you’ll join me in congratulating Matt and Rachel for representing Kinesiology & Health Sciences so well and making us all proud.

As we all know, our faculty are also a pretty noteworthy group. As but one example, Prof Ken Kambis presented some of his latest research findings on physiological responses to hypoxic conditions at the Experimental Biology conference recently held in San Diego. Five undergraduate research assistants working with Ken served as co-authors of this presentation and abstract, along with Dr. Michio Yasukawa, a visiting professor from Chuo University in Tokyo who is here for a year working in Ken’s laboratory. Great work guys and congratulations to all of you!!

Prof Alison Scott has been very busy as well. In October, she helped host Dr. Tamer Farag, a W&M alum himself, who was participating in the College’s new COLL curriculum as an expert in international relations. He oversees a global surveillance program to monitor child health throughout the world and shared with us on campus some of his important results. And in November, Alison presented to the Williamsburg Health Foundation’s Chronic Care Collaborative reporting on the challenges of low wages and public transportation shortcomings faced by diabetes patients in the Williamsburg area. 

 Profs Ray McCoy and Michael Deschenes have co-authored a chapter titled “Skeletal Muscle Anatomy and Biomechanics” which will appear in the textbook Essentials of Tactical Strength and Conditioning. This book will be published by Human Kinetics and is to be released in early 2017. And in a remarkable feat of endurance, Prof Kim Whitley finished an unsupported bicycle tour across the country pedaling 4,300 miles over the course of two summers!! I’m tired and have sore muscles just thinking of this.

 On a final note for this update, please join me in congratulating Prof Evie Burnet as she has announced that she is pregnant and due to deliver during the upcoming spring semester. We will miss her terribly while she is out on family leave next semester, but we can all understand why she will be taking some time off and we wish her well during the upcoming months.

That will do it for now, let’s all get our final preparations for Thanksgiving taken care of; soon the Christmas Holidays will be upon us. (Anyone nuts enough to venture out on Black Friday?) Remember, we love to hear what is going on in your lives, so please share any news that you might have with us.

 Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!

Michael R. Deschenes, PhD

Chair and Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology & Health Sciences