The first few days of a new academic year are hectic with people adding courses and searching for classrooms, but at the same time it is energizing to see everyone’s excitement as they come to their #HomeontheHill. I know our faculty is also excited to resume working with our students in the classroom, laboratory, and field settings. Personally, I am enthused to continue working towards implementing and achieving the various objectives and priorities laid out in our recently completed strategic plan. I would invite you all to review our strategic plan and see where the department is going this academic year.
Our overall goal is to increase the public impact of Exercise and Sport Science. We believe we can achieve this goal through three different areas. First, we must maintain a high-level of academic quality and achievement for our and be a role model for our peers in providing the best educational experiences. We are on the right trajectory to meet this objective based on data from last year’s graduates.
We are particularly mindful of providing high quality educational experiences given the rapid rise in our student numbers. In 2014, we graduated 235 students from EXSS. This represents the 8th largest number of graduates across the College of Arts & Sciences, and 3rd largest in the Natural Sciences. Our current student numbers further indicate that we are a department on the rise. We estimate there are currently over 1,300 majors in EXSS and recent data indicate that EXSS is one of the top 10 intended majors for the incoming freshmen class #UNC18. Thus, providing an impactful educational experience is a top priority and we continue to explore multiple ways to ensure we deliver.
A second key objective is to increase the impact of research conducted in EXSS. To achieve this objective we are working to increase the amount of external research funding by EXSS faculty. This will allow us to conduct larger, more impactful studies and provide more research experiences and support for our students. We have made strides toward this objective as EXSS faculty submitted 58 research grants during the 2013-14 academic year, resulting in nearly $1,000,000 in external research funding. In addition, our faculty published 127 scientific articles, 3 books, and 16 book chapters, and participated in 155 presentations. We are poised for even greater success this academic year and we are excited to involve our students in these activities.
A final objective is to better inform our students, colleagues, and the general public about the various ways that EXSS impacts society. To make this happen we have made a significant effort to utilize social media and further engage with our students. I would encourage everyone to follow us on facebook (uncexss) and instagram (@uncexss), like us on twitter (@uncexss), and subscribe to email updates from our departmental blog (uncexss.wordpress.com). We have a plan to regularly share the latest in EXSS news and events through these various social media sites. We are committed to keeping our students and alumni informed, so please send us any great stories or happenings. Feel free to email me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any information you think would be good to share with our faculty, students and alumni.
I am excited to see all of the impactful accomplishments our faculty and students will achieve this year and I look forward to sharing these successes with you. I hope that you a great start to what is certain to be a year to remember in EXSS. Let’s make this a year to remember and make an #EXSSimpact!
Darin A. Padua, PhD, ATC
Professor and Chair, Department of Exercise and Sport Science
P.S. For all our undergraduate students who are interested in serving on the EXSS Student Advisory Council this year, be sure to see last week’s blog post