Texas Tech University

Innovative Teaching

TTU Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management

Kinesiology & Sport Management students Zion Minor and Flavio Calderon study in the Mitochondrial Genetics and Exercise Laboratory at Texas Tech University.

Kinesiology & Sport Management Awarded for Excellence X 2

Department Chair Angela Lumpkin Says Advancements Were a Team Effort.

10.23.2020 | Toni Salama

From the Oscars to the Nobel Prize, awards are given, obviously, in recognition of a job well done. What may not be as readily apparent, though, are the years of work leading up to the honor.

When those advances garner more than one award in the same year, it is a sure sign—not of effort alone but of deep and significant commitment to excellence.

The Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management (KSM) has earned just such a distinction, winning two of Texas Tech University's highest departmental recognitions in 2020: the award for Excellence in Institutional Effectiveness and the award for Departmental Excellence in Teaching.

Kinesiology & Sport Management Chair Angela LumpkinAngela Lumpkin, KSM professor and chair, said the department's transformation has been a team effort.

"The department looks very different than it did a few years ago," said Lumpkin, who this semester enters her seventh year of leading KSM.

During Lumpkin's tenure, the department had a name change, from Health, Exercise & Sport Sciences (ESS) to Kinesiology & Sport Management. The rebranding signaled the launch of more-relevant programs—and a commitment to higher, more precise standards.

"We were the first department in the College of Arts & Sciences with a GPA requirement," Lumpkin said, "and we're raising that requirement next fall."

Today, KSM has a fleet of upgraded minors, as well as a new bachelor's and master's degree in sport management, while the exercise science program recently rebranded as kinesiology. Meanwhile, the first-ever exercise physiology Ph.D. program is now in its third year.

How did they do it?

Rooting for Assessment

KSM's success in both teaching and institutional effectiveness has its roots in the department's stellar regard for assessment, starting from the top. Lumpkin leads KSM's assessment endeavors and in 2019 was recognized for it in the Office of Planning and Assessment's (OPA) fall spotlight.

OPA's citation of Lumpkin's assessment work stated: "We applaud you for your responsiveness to our office's assessment feedback, and we all acknowledge your commitment to improving student learning in all KSM degree programs. We considered many other academic leaders across campus, but we especially note your insistence on the highest of standards in your department's assessment methods, results, and analysis."

TTU Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Michael San FranciscoRegarding the 2020 awards, Lumpkin noted that the OPA's then-most recent evaluation of assessments of four degrees—the B.S. in Kinesiology, the M.S. in Kinesiology, the B.S. in Sport Management, and the M.S. in Sport Management—returned a perfect 4.0 rating in all for areas: student learning outcomes, assessment methods, results, and actions for improvement. For each of KSM's degrees, OPA commented: "Report should be recognized as exemplar for SACSCOC Standard 8.2.a." SACSCOC is the acronym for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

"Dr. Lumpkin and the entire faculty and staff of the Kinesiology and Sport Management department continue to innovate and adapt their programs to the needs of today's students," said interim College of Arts & Sciences Dean, Michael San Francisco. "These two awards further validate the department's efforts to provide a groundbreaking experience for students to explore the science of the human body, and careers in professional sport management."

Award for Excellence in Institutional Effectiveness

The Provost's Institutional Effectiveness Excellence Award comes with a $5,000 prize awarded to departments demonstrating a commitment to improving student learning at the degree program level.

"It's a very focused award and is totally about assessment," Lumpkin said. "Our department has five degree programs, and each has a full set of student learning outcomes that are tied to achievements. We have nine goals for each program, and we measure against those goals when we report to the Office of Planning & Assessment."

Lumpkin said these measurements demonstrate to parents that KSM's programs are value-added and highly accountable.

"KSM is known around campus for our high assessment standards," Lumpkin said. "It means a lot of extra work, but our faculty decided, 'If we are going to do this, let's do it well.'"

Award for Departmental Excellence in Teaching

TTU Ph.D. student Luke Chowning studies a biomechanical analysisThe Teaching Academy Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award comes with a prize of $25,000 granted to departments that have made unique and significant contributions to the university's teaching mission while demonstrating esprit de corps in their dedication to the education of students at every level.

There may be no higher teaching commendation than that of students themselves. Over the five years between Spring 2015 and Fall 2019, KSM students were asked to rank their teachers in three areas: how well they specified and followed course objectives, the degree to which their teaching was effective, and whether the course was a valuable learning experience.

KSM's student evaluation scores showed a five-year average of 4.593, outperforming average rankings for both the College of Arts & Sciences at 4.399 and Texas Tech at 4.407 over the same five-year period.

The Graduate Review Process for 2018-2019 returned a "very good" overall rating for the master's programs in kinesiology and in sport management. Importantly, Lumpkin pointed out that no graduate courses are taught by part-time faculty. In KSM, all tenured and tenure-track faculty teach both undergraduate and graduate courses and mentor graduate students.

"We consistently hear positive comments from students about the quality of teaching," Lumpkin said.

TTU math professor W. Brent Lindquist; photo by Toni SalamaHowever, the award for Departmental Excellence in Teaching depends on far more than student evaluations. KSM had to prove itself in five other areas: programmatic quality, efforts to improve teaching, departmental contributions to teaching scholarship, the variety of departmental pedagogical approaches, and planned use of the $25,000 prize.

W. Brent Lindquist, who was dean of Arts & Sciences when KSM was being considered for the award, described recent KSM innovations as revolutionary. Speaking to program quality, he especially noted curricular changes that strengthened science content; revised minors; and launched new degree programs, including approval for two dual degrees: the J.D./M.S. in Sport Management, in cooperation with the School of Law, and the M.B.A./M.S. in Sport Management, in cooperation with the Rawls College of Business.

Departmental Teaching Workshop

TTU kinesiology professor Diane NicholsKSM offers its full-time and part-time faculty an annual three-hour teaching workshop that helps attendees acquire instructional strategies proven to engage students in active learning. Recent workshops have featured sessions on topics such as studying and testing strategies, instructional delivery, learning progressions, in-class quizzes, and learning analytics.

"These workshops are more like 'good coaching' for success in the classroom," said instructor Diane Nichols. Her comment was included in the award application.

KSM faculty are evaluated annually if pre-tenured, and all new faculty are routinely evaluated during their first several semesters. The evaluation process includes a review from a class observer, along with the faculty member's reflections on the observed class. Lumpkin said numerous faculty members have commented that the process affirms the department's commitment to continuous instructional growth.

Preparing Next-Gen Teachers

Training graduate students in teaching methods was, and is, an essential component in KSM's strategy to improve departmental teaching overall. As faculty members continue bringing graduate part-time instructors (GPTIs) and graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) into the fold, they're making new practices a positive habit.

TTU kinesiology professors Joaquin Gonzales and Audra DayFor example, Joaquin Gonzales, an associate professor of kinesiology, facilitated a peer-mentoring strategy to help GPTIs develop new knowledge and skills for teaching labs. He meets with the GPTIs weekly to review and practice lab activities to be presented to students the next week. He also communicates with the GPTIs regularly about course reminders, grading questions, and issues related to student absences or other behaviors.

Audra Day, an assistant professor of practice in kinesiology, had GPTIs design lab presentations and quizzes to expose them to the requirements of teaching. Once they complete their lectures and quizzes for each week, she reviews the material and gives individual feedback.

TTU kinesiology professors Karla Kitten and Grant TinsleyKarla Kitten, coordinator of the Personal Fitness and Wellness (PFW) Program, provides a teacher training session to GTAs, then monitors and evaluates their work, offering teaching tips and suggestions along the way.

The department further benefits from professors who have been recognized as outstanding teachers.

In 2019, Grant Tinsley, an assistant professor of kinesiology, received a Texas Tech Alumni Association New Faculty Award recognizing his quality of teaching and research.

Lumpkin received the President's Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019. Melanie Hart, professor and vice provost for eLearning & Academic Partnerships, received the Chancellor's Council Distinguished Teaching Award in 2013. Last spring, the two co-taught a course for Ph.D. students who are serving as GPTIs this semester.

Outside the Lines

TTU vice provost and kinesiology professor Melanie HartKSM has cultivated a culture where faculty members develop, learn, and share new pedagogy and scholarship that actively engage students and strengthen their learning.

Variety is the guide.

For instance, Vice Provost Hart teaches face-to-face, hybrid, online, and regional site classes; and she makes the most of technology. Unique in her toolbox is a telepresence robot that teaches the classes when Hart must be away from campus. The robot allows Hart to virtually move around the classroom and interact with students—thus she is still "present," though not in person.

The department's online courses are unique in that they have all completed the rigorous process of course development guided by eLearning staff, and each course's design is certified as excellent. The upshot: More than 40 of the department's online courses meet, and often exceed, the highest national standard for online courses, including accessibility.

TTU kinesiology professors Heather Vellers and Aaron AreolaIn her KIN 3305 Exercise Physiology course, Heather Vellers, an assistant professor of kinesiology, has found it useful to take the pragmatic approach—including an explanation of how and why all levels of Bloom's Taxonomy are essential to learning. She requires that students discuss challenging points with peers, then assesses her teaching effectiveness by asking students to provide feedback each class. Further, after a single semester of implementing student-provided daily key points and daily group quizzes, Vellers found student learning was greatly increased, based on exam grades and students' comments.

Lumpkin reported that Aaron Arreola, an assistant professor of practice in kinesiology with years of experience and a wealth of expertise as a physical therapist and athletic trainer, helps connect students to the many graduate health sciences programs students segue into once they complete their baccalaureate.

Arreola requires students in KIN 3346 Anatomical Kinesiology to job-shadow, where they observe potential career choices first-hand. These experiences outside the classroom help students put course content into practice and enable some to obtain jobs, internships, and validation for their post-college plans.

Not Your Average Textbook

KSM faculty members have authored or edited several of the textbooks used in the department.

TTU kinesiology professors Marc Lochbaum and Jacalyn McCombMarc Lochbaum, professor of kinesiology, wrote Connect Get Active 3.0 (McGraw-Hill Higher Education). This e-textbook provides quality text, videos, learning experiences, and assessment materials to students and GTAs and is used not only in TTU's Personal Fitness and Wellness (PFW) Program but also by several other institutions. Lumpkin identified Connect Get Active 3.0 as the largest collection of such materials in higher education, noting that it is modestly priced for students.

Jacalyn McComb, a professor of kinesiology, is the editor of Health Issues for the Active Female, the textbook used in KIN 5330, whose course name mirrors the book title.

Lumpkin herself has authored several textbooks, including Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport (McGraw-Hill, 11th edition). This volume was chosen by the faculty for use in KIN 1301 Introduction to Kinesiology. Two other Lumpkin textbooks, Modern Sport Ethics: A Reference Handbook (2nd edition) and Practical Ethics in Sport Management, have been used in SPMT 5325 Ethics and Morality in Sport.

Follow the Money

TTU student Flavio Calderon and kinesiology professor Heather Vellers in the mitochondrial genetics labThe $25,000 Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award will go toward transformative learning.

Part of the funds—$15,000 of it—will be used to equip and supply a health screening clinic for local adults. This clinic will operate as a new component of the KIN 3368 Exercise Testing and Prescription course, which is required for all kinesiology majors. Students will be trained to conduct free health assessments and provide educational materials as a portion of their lab time. The funds will cover disposable supplies such as test strips and cartridges, and equipment such as blood lipid and glucose analyzers, stethoscopes, scales, blood pressure cuffs, skinfold calipers, and privacy screens.

Unfortunately, the clinic's opening has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was going to launch this fall," Lumpkin said "Now our next target is to open in fall 2021.

The remaining $10,000 will go toward reimbursing Sport Management students for some of the expenses incurred by attending learning opportunities, such as the annual National Sports Forum in Atlanta, Ga.

Looking Ahead

TTU Ph.D. student Nigel Jiwan demonstrates proper technique for dead liftIn fall 2019, KSM consisted of 1,712 undergraduate majors, 1,347 of them in kinesiology and 365 of them in sport management. It also enrolled 33 students pursuing a master's in kinesiology, 41 pursuing a master's in sport management, and 12 pursuing a Ph.D.

Continuing growth is part of the department's plan.

"The quality of each program feeds into the next," Lumpkin said.

With so many fundamental changes already in place, KSM is now positioned to invest considerably more in research.

"The department is just beginning to get grants and conduct the kind of research that will attract the best graduate students," Lumpkin said.

"In a sense, higher education is always evolving. We have two new programs on the horizon," Lumpkin said. "We're raising our GPA requirement next fall, and we continue to build out the department. KSM's goal continues to be that of graduating as many students as possible who are as well prepared as possible."