CEHD News Physical Development & Sport

CEHD News Physical Development & Sport

Weiss receives Legacy Award by Girls on the Run International

From the left: Liz Kunz (CEO of GOTRI), Maureen R. Weiss, Allie Riley (Senior VP of Evaluation and Programming)

Maureen Weiss, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology, was recognized with the Legacy Award, the highest honor given by Girls on the Run International at its annual Summit in Austin, TX, in January. Girls on the Run is a 501(c)(3) organization and physical activity-based positive youth development (PA-PYD) program designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological, and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. The program uses running and other physical activities as a platform for teaching life skills and promoting holistic health outcomes for girls in grades 3-8. The organization’s reach is national—in all 50 states with over 200 local community councils, 50,000 volunteer coaches, and over 1.5 million girls served since inception. The organization is committed to diversity—serving girls from all walks of life and backgrounds. Nearly 50% of girls receive subsidized registration fees to enable them to attain the psychosocial and behavioral benefits of participating in each season’s 10-week program.

Weiss’ Legacy Award was based on eight years and hundreds of hours devoted to serving this non-profit organization—as a board member, consultant, speaker, and contributor to curricular development and effective coach delivery—as well as conducting an independent longitudinal evaluation study that demonstrated strong and lasting positive impact of program participation on girls’ life skills learning and psychosocial and behavioral outcomes—confidence, competence, connection, caring, character, and contribution to community and society. The study received widespread attention in a press release last August and Weiss presented the study results at the Summit meeting in a presentation titled, “How and Why Girls on the Run is an Exemplary Positive Youth Development Program.”


Tucker Center releases 2017-18 NCAA Division-I Women Coaches Report

The Tucker Center, in collaboration with the Alliance of Women Coaches, is proud to announce the release of the 2017-18 Head Coaches of Women’s Collegiate Teams: A Report on Seven Select NCAA Division-I Conferences report and infographic. 40+ years after the passage of Title IX, female sport participation is at an all-time high but the percentage of women coaching women at the collegiate level is stagnant. While the number of collegiate coaching opportunities is also at a record high, only 20% of all college coaching positions for men’s and women’s teams are filled by women. One goal of this report is to change that trend. View the report and infographic here…

Lewis is co-author of article on fall prevention and physical activity resources for older adults

LewisBeth Lewis, Ph.D., professor and director of the School of Kinesiology,  is a co-author with U of M colleagues from the School of Nursing, the School of Public Health, and the Department of Psychology, an article in The Gerontologist. “Older Adults’ Utilization of Community Resources Targeting Fall Prevention and Physical Activity”  discusses the effects of older adults knowing about and using local community resources to improve their level of physical activity, which is related to fall prevention in older adults. The study shows that the effects are only short-term and suggests research to identify future strategies.

Leon co-author on Alzheimer’s study

Art Leon, M.D., professor of exercise physiology in the School of Kinesiology, is a co-author of a study recently published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. The article is titled “Determination of Aerobic Capacity via Cycle Ergometer Exercise Testing in Alzheimer’s Disease.” The study investigated older adults with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) to determine individualized aerobic capacity and ability to perform treadmill testing due to balance or gait issues.

First author of the publication is Leon’s former doctoral student Ulf G. Bronas, Ph.D., ATC, associate professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Science, College of Nursing, at the University of Illinois, Chicago.


Strib quotes LaVoi on NFL fan behavior

portrait image of Nicole M. LaVoiIn an article, “Can Philly fans change their image? Yes, but only if they want to,” the Star Tribune quotes Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Tucker Center. LaVoi and others talk about the hows and whys of fan behavior, with some thoughts about what could happen at this year’s Superbowl.

LaVoi to keynote at first-ever WISTCA women4women event

Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Tucker Center, will be the opening keynote for the first-ever women4women event held in conjunction with the 29th Annual Wisconsin Track Coaches Association (WISTCA) Conference held in Madison, WI, February 1-3, 2018. LaVoi’s talk is titled, “Educate.Stimulate.Advocate: Thriving in the Coaching Profession,” and will offer strategies for women coaches as well has how male allies can help.

Inoue secures funding for Japan College Sport Research program

image of Yuhei InoueYuhei Inoue, Ph.D., assistant professor of sport management in the School of Kinesiology, received 20k funding from the Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University.

For the last two years, Inoue is part of the Japan College Sport Research program, where he and the project leads, Dr. Jermey Jordan and Dr. Daniel Funk at Temple University are assisting the University of Tsukuba, Japan with its effort to create a new athletic department and disseminate its newly adopted model of athletics administration to other universities across Japan. The project funds Inoue received as co-investigator will be used to deliver workshops for Japanese university administrators and to develop the organizational structure for the new athletic department at Tsukuba.

For more information about this project and Inoue’s involvement, see The Japan Times article “Japanese collegiate sports study ends Phase 1.”

LaVoi discusses Character Development in Sport on MomEnough podcast

Nicole M. LaVoi

For the recent issue of the MomEnough parenting podcast, Nicole LaVoi, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Tucker Center, discusses character development in sport, reflects on expectations, and parental issues. She also provides practical tips for supportive parenting.

Visit the podcast’s website and listen to the audio titled “Youth sports, child health and character development: Candid reflections and practical tips from Dr. Nicole Lavoi of CEHD (U of M).”


LaVoi’s edited book, Women in Sports Coaching, an international best-seller

The book “Women in Sports Coaching“, published 2016 by Routledge and edited by Nicole LaVoi, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Tucker Center was selected by Choice magazine as one of their Outstanding Academic Titles (OAT) for 2017.

The book is part of the Routledge Research in Sports Coaching series which provides a platform for leading experts and emerging academics to present ground-breaking work on the history, theory, practice, and contemporary issues of sports coaching.

A total of 24 titles (over 7,000 books are published by Taylor & Francis/Routledge) are selected by Routledge and CRC Press as Outstanding Academic Titles (OAT), awarded by Choice Magazine from 2012-2017.

Lewis blogposts on exercise principles in CEHD Vision2020

Beth Lewis, Ph.D., professor and director in the School of Kinesiology, is published in a CEHD Vision 2020 Improving Lives blog article entitled, “Research-Based Principles to Help You Stick to a Regular Exercise Program.” Citing research, Lewis touches on four principles to “help you keep your commitment to exercise.”

Gao serves as co-investigator on NIH-funded R01 project

Zan Gao

Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory, together with researchers from the U of M, has successfully secured a 5-year NIH R01 research grant for $3.68 million. He is serving as co-investigator on the study.

The project titled “Measurement of glucose homeostasis in human brain by NMR” (2R01NS035192-17) will be led by Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D. and Gulin Oz, Ph.D., both professors in the School of Medicine. The goal of the study is to investigate how hypoglycemia leads to impaired awareness of hypoglycemia in individuals with type 1 diabetes using magnetic resonance spectroscopy and neurochemical approaches. Gao will serve as the physical activity specialist on the team to lead the measurement and analysis of patients’ physical activity behavior, sedentary behavior, and sleep patterns.

LaVoi speaks at NCAA Convention Inclusion Workshop

Nicole M. LaVoi

Nicole LaVoi, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Tucker Center, spoke at the NCAA Convention Office of Inclusion Workshop & Sessions Women in Athletics: Initiatives for Progress. Her talk was titled, “Athletic Director Best Practices for Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining Women Coaches.” Her session examined women’s progress in athletics and focused on areas needing improvement, such as increasing the representation of women—particularly women of color—in coaching and administration. Dr. LaVoi spoke especially about research around recruiting, hiring and retaining women coaches.


Lewis publishes article on sleep pattern changes and postpartum depressive symptoms

Beth Lewis, Ph.D., director and professor in the School of Kinesiology, has published the article “The effect of sleep pattern changes on postpartum depressive symptoms in BMC Women’s Health, a peer-reviewed, open access journal with a focus on the physical, mental, and emotional health of women.

The study finds an increased risk for depressive symptoms later in the postpartum phase if sleep problems with postpartum women worsen or show only minimal improvement over time. One conclusion recommends a six-week postpartum clinic visit to educate women about potential worsening of sleep patterns and to provide strategies for preventing sleep-related problems in order to decrease the risk of postpartum depression.

One of the co-authors is Katie Schuver, Ph.D., research associate in Lewis’s Exercise and Mental Health Laboratory.

Kinesiology’s Morgan Betker nominated for Midwest Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award

Morgan Betker

Morgan Betker, Ph.D. student in the School of Kinesiology, was nominated by the U of M Graduate School for the prestigious Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Excellence in Teaching Award. As the only doctoral student nominated, Betker will represent the U of M at MAGS’ 2018 regional competition. The award will be presented at the MAGS 74rd Annual Meeting, April 4-6, 2018, in Grand Rapids, MI.

MAGS Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes and encourages graduate students for future service as college and university faculty. It supports the Council of Graduate Schools’ (CGS) efforts to promote Preparing Future Faculty to meet needs in academia.

Betker is pursuing her Ph.D. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise physiology, advised by Dr. Beth Lewis.



Tucker Center’s Kane, LaVoi publish in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal

Nicole M. LaVoi
Dr. Mary Jo Kane

Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., Tucker Center director and professor in the School of Kinesiology, and Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., Tucker Center co-director and Kinesiology senior lecturer, have published an article in the Human Kinetics journal,  Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal. The article, “An Examination of Intercollegiate Athletic Directors’ Attributions Regarding the Underrepresentation of Female Coaches in Women’s Sports,” describes a Tucker Center research study surveying college athletic administrators to determine current-day perceptions regarding the underrepresentation of female head coaches.

Tseng publishes on Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) in Journal of Motor Behavior

Juergen Konczak, Ph.D.
Dr. Konczak
Y-Ling Tseng
Dr. Tseng

Yu-Ting Tseng, Ph.D. (2017), former advisee of Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, is primary author on an article recently published in Journal of Motor Behavior.  The article is titled “Position Sense Dysfunction Affects Proximal and Distal Arm Joints in Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder. ”
Co-authors are Chia-Liang Tsai (National Cheng Kung Univeristy, Taiwan,), Fu-Chen Chen (National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan), and Jürgen Konczak.

Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects up to 6% of all school-age children. Children with DCD have problems with coordinating  movements, may have balance problems and show poor motor skill learning. This study assessed wrist joint position sense in a cohort of Taiwanese middle school children with DCD and related it to the observable motor deficits. Results document that children with DCD is associated with proprioceptive dysfunction of the wrist/hand complex, which likely contributes to the motor problems in children with DCD.

Yu-ting Tseng is currently a post-doc at the Division of Child Health Research, Institute of Population Health Sciences in the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) in Zhunan, Taiwan.

Testing wrist proprioception in children in Taiwan


Gao and colleagues publish in BioMed Research International

Dr. Zan Gao
Nan Zeng

Zan Gao, Ph.D., School of Kinesiology associate professor, has published an article with colleagues in BioMed Research International.  This study synthesized literature concerning casual evidence of effects of various physical activity programs on motor skills and cognitive development in typically developed preschool children. Of the five studies, four (80%) showed significant and positive changes in language learning, academic achievement, attention, and working memory.

Nan Zeng, lead author on the article, is a Ph.D. candidate in Kinesiology and is advised by Dr. Gao.

The full citation:
Effects of Physical Activity on Motor Skills and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: A Systematic Review.” N. Zeng, M. Ayyub, H. Sun, X Wen, P Xiang, Z. Gao. BioMed Research International, 2017.



Wiese-Bjornstal and former advisee Hayley Russell publish article in Quest

Diane Wiese Bjornstal, Ph.D.Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Sports Medicine Psychology Laboratory, and former advisee Hayley Russell, Ph.D., have published an article in Quest with two other colleagues.

Physical Activity in Former Competitive Athletes: The Physical and Psychological Impact of Musculoskeletal Injury”  investigates the impacts of injury on the physical activity of competitive athletes after retirement.

Dr. Russell, who received her Ph.D. in 2014, is assistant professor of Health and Exercise Science at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN.



Stoffregen and colleagues publish in Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance

School of Kinesiology professor Tom Stoffregen, Ph.D., and co-authors Chih-Hui Chang, Wei-Ching Kung, and Fu-Chen Chen, have published an article in Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. The article, “Effects of Physical Driving Experience on Body Movement and Motion Sickness During Virtual Driving,” studied body movement and motion sickness reactions of individuals, separated by age/experience driving physical automobiles, during driving of virtual automobiles in a video game.

Dr. Chen and Dr. Chang are both School of Kinesiology Ph.D. graduates, and Dr. Change was a visiting scholar in the School in 2012.



Lewis and McAvoy are featured in December 2017 issue of Connect

Connect, the magazine of the College of Education and Human Development, features two School of Kinesiology faculty/emeritus faculty in the December 2017 issue.

Beth Lewis, Ph.D., School director and professor, is featured in “Healthy Moms,” a story about her research in the areas of motivational interventions for physical activity and the relationship between exercise and mental health, and her pivotal studies focused on the role of exercise in preventing postpartum depression. She is also working on a new research project on postpartum depression prevention beginning during pregnancy and continuing through the postpartum phase.

Leo McAvoy, Ph.D., professor emeritus of recreation, park, and leisure studies in the School, was presented the Outstanding Achievement Award last July, the highest honor presented to a University alumnus.  “Everybody outside!” recounts his many years as an inspiring, involved, and beloved professor and scholar, driven by deep commitment to and respect for the power of nature and his belief in the value of hands-on education.