Greetings from the Chair

September 2016

Mike Deschenes

Another New Year Begins!

Hello to all of you wonderful Kinesiology & Health Sciences alumni out there. This is my favorite time of year, the start of a new school year always brings with it a new feel of excitement and re-invigoration. There is always such a buzz around campus with students being energized, well rested, and delighted to see their friends after being separated over the summer break. Just as important, at the start of the semester there is less stress – but don’t worry, that will kick in after a few weeks!

It actually was pretty busy in our department (again, you are life-long members!) during the summer as most of the faculty take on teaching assignments and also can pick up the pace of their research efforts. This, of course, is really made possible by the invaluable help provided by our undergraduate research assistants. In fact, getting research projects completed would be nearly impossible without their help, so thanks to all of you great research partners, both past and present.

As we start this new year, I’m sure that you’ll share my enthusiasm for several new courses that have only recently been added to the Kinesiology & Health Sciences’ curriculum. Prof Ashleigh Queen has added what has already become a popular course titled “Microbes in Human Disease” with an accompanying laboratory course. These offerings will do much to ease the logjam that had previously existed in trying to enroll in the Microbiology course offered by the Biology Department. We were pleased to find out that almost all of the Nursing and Physician Assistants graduate programs in the state have agreed to accept our new course to satisfy their requirement for an undergraduate microbiology course and ours will be unique due to its emphasis on how these potential pathogens lead to specific human diseases.

Another interesting new course that will be offered by the department is Nutrition in Health and Disease. This course was developed by Prof Ken Kambis, and after teaching it as a summer on-line course through the Washington DC office, Ken has received approval from the College’s Educational Policy Committee (EPC) to teach this course in the traditional classroom setting here at the Williamsburg campus. It will be great to offer a course relating to students what the best and most current science says about the impact that our diet has on our health and well-being. Thanks to both Ashleigh and Ken for their efforts to make the courses that we offer even more helpful and informative to the many of us who are keenly interested in the field of Health Sciences. Another of our new courses to receive EPC approval will be added to the curricular offerings within our Public Health track will be Environmental Issues in Public Health. As a special topics course, it had been warmly received by our students and now being designated as a permanent course, we expect it to even gain in popularity and inform us how our surroundings can influence public health concerns. Finally, Prof Ray McCoy will soon petition the EPC to approve his Medical Terminology course as a permanent addition to our curriculum. A medical terminology course is required by graduate programs in Occupational Therapy and thus, it will benefit many of our majors. Thanks for helping out with this, Ray!

We are also thrilled to welcome Prof Sarah Menefee to our full-time faculty specializing in Public Health. Sarah comes to us with a wealth of experience in the field of public health. For the past 10 years she has worked with the College’s Counseling Program focusing on student health. She also served as an Adjunct Professor for us in the past proving what an outstanding teacher she is. Please join me in welcoming Prof Menefee to our faculty. On a similar note, we are starting our search to fill an opening among our tenure eligible faculty, this one with a specialty in public health to replace Scott Ickes, whose former position has been vacant for a year.

Also for the upcoming year we are fortunate to have with us as a Visiting Professor, Dr. Michio Yasukawa who comes to us from Chuo University in Tokyo. Chuo is an elite and highly prestigious university and Dr. Yasukawa (the nicest guy you’ll ever meet) is a Professor in its School of Engineering and Science. Michio’s own training is in Medical Physiology and he will be working with Prof Kambis studying cardiovascular responses, specifically heart rate variability, during rest and exercise in a hypoxic environment. I’m sure that some very interesting and novel findings will be generated by this collaboration.

In other noteworthy achievements by our faculty, Prof John Charles has been named a Fellow of the National Association of Kinesiology for Higher Education. John’s formal induction will occur during a ceremony in Orlando in January of 2017. Congratulations John, this is well-deserved!

Finally, as a real highlight of the new academic year, Homecoming will occur on the weekend of October 13-16. Our own departmental homecoming get together will be held “under the tent” in front of Adair Hall on Saturday the 15th from 10:00 until noon. This will precede other Homecoming events including the football game where the Tribe will lock horns with the University of Delaware at 3:30. Please come to share with us updates on your lives, and then attend the football game in the beautifully renovated Zable Stadium (it is quite something to see!).

Well, that’s it from here in the “Burg, but please remember that you can always check in on the latest activities in the department by visiting our website. At the same time, please remember that we are always anxious to hear what is new in your lives, so please keep us updated by filling out the Send Us Your News form.

Have a wonderful Autumn (I just love Halloween and T’giving!),

Michael R. Deschenes, PhD
Chair and Professor, Dept of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
McLeod Tyler Professor of Integrated Health Sciences
College of William & Mary