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College of Physical Activity
and Sport Sciences

CPASS courtyard view


8 Feb
Mallet Caity Mallet, CPASS sport management graduate, has been accepted as a Queen Elizabeth Scholar for the spring 2016 semester. The internship position includes a cost of living stipend and will allow Mallet to continue her studies within sport management.

“It’s truly an honor to be selected as a Brock University QE Scholar. I’m looking forward to working in a developing nation to bring the sports management knowledge I learned from both Brock University and WVU to them,” Mallet explained.

Mallet is grateful for her time at WVU. “WVU’s program helped me both academically and personally. The professors always encouraged positive conversation in class and were open to meet and discuss matters outside of the classroom. Studying at WVU allowed me to learn about the sport management world from a new perspective and add another dimension to my education,” she explained.

“Two courses I took in particular that helped me tremendously were sport marketing and sport in the global market, with associate professors Floyd Jones and Gonzalo Bravo. These two courses really pushed me to learn about sport in different ways and helped me believe I could pursue sport globally,” she added.

WVU has provided Mallet with an experience she didn’t believe was possible. “Being able to experience NCAA sports was incredible. Being a sport management major and living in Canada – the sports in University just don’t compare. ”

Mallet is thankful a friend recommended WVU. “I chose WVU for a study abroad because I wanted a large NCAA school with an excellent sport management program. A friend who enrolled the previous year brought WVU to my attention. If it weren’t for her I would have possibly missed out on an all-around great experience.”

After she completes the internship program, Mallet plans to pursue sport with a global aspect and hopes to earn her masters in sport management.
3 Feb
1454513270_md A Sport and Exercise Psychology doctorate student is poised to have her research article published in a well-known athletic journal, thanks to the mentoring of West Virginia University professors.

Sae-Mi Lee’s research entitled “Cultural Competence Development in Sport and Exercise Psychology Graduate Programs” will be published in the Athletic Insight this February in Volume 7, Issue 3.

“This article was originally written to meet my research benchmark, which is one of the requirements for my doctoral degree,” explained Lee.

Professors and advisors at WVU helped inspire Lee to get her piece published. The project was originally an extension of a project that Dr. Damien Clement, associate professor in athletic training and sport exercise psychology, completed under Dr. Jack Watson, chair, department of sport sciences.

“Based on my career interests in cultural competence, they graciously shared their study and measures, which I was able to refine and use for my study. I was influenced by the faculty here at WVU and am thankful to Dr. Clement for providing a foundation for me to build upon,” Lee added.

Lee explained the process as longer than expected. “I identified a target journal with my advisor, Dr. Ed Etzel, and submitted my research article online. The journal happened to be going through a transitional period so the process was longer than I had anticipated. However, I received very helpful feedback from the reviewers and got the article accepted after two rounds of revisions,” she explained.

The Athletic Insight is considered valuable resource for those who are interested in the field of sport psychology. The journal features topics such as theory, research and the practice of sport psychology.

27 Jan
Rec field Students in the Physical Education Teacher Education program continue to excel in a nationally required teaching exam in their first attempt. PETE students have posted a 97 percent first-time passing rate during the past five years on the Praxis II exam. During that time, students averaged a score of 159, with more than 160 students taking the test. Students have an overall 100 percent passing rate, along with the 97 percent first-time passing rate.

The Praxis II subject-specific teaching exam is an important part of the licensing and certification process for students who aspire to teach, according to Valerie Wayda, associate professor and department chair, Coaching and Teaching Studies at CPASS. This process is required by more than 40 states as well as many professional licensing agencies.

“Students are not eligible to apply for a teaching license without passing Praxis II exam. Teaching licenses are required to instruct in the public schools,” explained Wayda.

Wayda complimented the PETE program’s preparation for these successful results. “Students are well equipped to take the Praxis II after completing a variety of courses covering physical education content knowledge and professional content knowledge.”

“We’ve embedded it as a requirement to be eligible to student teach. Student teaching is the culminating activity in the PETE major,” Wayda added.

Each state determines its passing score. West Virginia’s cut off score is 150 which is ranked as the seventh highest cut off score in the United States. Additionally, each licensing organization may set its own passing score requirements.
27 Jan
TWalcott Faculty connections have opened doors for a WVU Athletic Coaching Education student. Tariq Walcott has landed a position with the prestigious U.K. Elite soccer club. Walcott will coach all age levels during his initial assignment, ranging from six-year-old age groups through high school students.

CPASS ACE faculty members Dr. Kristen Dieffenbach, associate professor, and Dr. Roch King, teaching assistant professor, referred Walcott to the soccer club. Walcott’s original contract will run from July to November. Walcott hopes to extend his assignment and continue his work with them.

Walcott credits WVU ACE for his success. “The ACE major has given me many chances to see what coaching is like on a day-to-day basis, not only from the sport aspect, but from safety, administration and all other facets of the profession.”

Walcott is thankful for the networking opportunities he received through the ACE program. “I was referred for my position from professors. We have a great faculty that works with many national organizations. I feel that we not only get the information to become better coaches, but also the connections to help us get a big break.”

Walcott’s interest has always been soccer. “I have played it since I was five and it has always been my favorite sport.” Prior to his position with U.K. Elite, he gained coaching experience with the Mountaineer United Soccer Club, which he learned about through his club soccer coach as well as his professors at WVU.

U.K. Elite offers soccer camps for children between the ages of three through age 18. These camps include classroom sessions as well as on-field sessions. U.K. Elite offers camps in seven different states along the east coast.
5 Jan
Megan Byrd_ ASP_1 While there have been many advances in the detection and treatment of athletic-related concussions, WVU graduate student Megan Byrd says less has been done to try to understand the emotional impact.

Byrd, in her fourth year in the Sport Exercise Psychology doctoral program at WVU’s College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, has received a one-time research grant from the NCAA to help fill that gap.

“If we can better understand how athletes are experiencing and making sense of their emotional responses to concussions we can better treat and, hopefully, prevent the occurrence and severity of mood disturbances,” Byrd explained.

Byrd foresees the $2,250 grant supporting her long-term goals. “I would love to have a future position that would allow me to continue working in the field of concussions as well as consulting with athletes. The grant allows me to explore both of these worlds further, as well as makes me more marketable for faculty and research positions.”

Currently an SEP graduate teaching assistant with CPASS, Byrd needed three letters of recommendation for the application. Byrd turned to CPASS faculty members Sam Zizzi and James Hannon, as well as Anthony Kontos with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center concussion clinic. She received her master’s degree in sport behavior and performance from Miami University.

Byrd says her experiences at CPASS have directly led to her research-related success. “First, my advisor and dissertation chair, Dr. Zizzi, has supported my topic from the initial conception, even when I questioned its feasibility. At times, when I found myself feeling lost and overwhelmed in the literature forest, he was always available for guidance,” she explained.

“My other two CPASS committee members, Dr. Damien Clement and Dr. Ed Etzel, have both encouraged me to pursue my topic and have been instrumental in the development of my research question and ability to complete the grant application process.

“My committee has never rejected an idea, regardless of how far-fetched it seemed. I am grateful to them for that. In dissertation seminar, Dr. Hannon motivated me to apply for a grant and didn’t hesitate to write me a letter of recommendation. His words of wisdom, ‘You can’t get a grant that you don’t apply for’ stuck with me and pushed me to apply for the NCAA grant,” Byrd added.

In-classroom learning provided critical information. “Dr. Zizzi and Dr. Peter Giacobbi taught me how to write a grant proposal and what pertinent information to include. Dr. Dana Voelker listened to my grant application concerns on a late summer afternoon and offered suggestions for me to move forward,” she said.

“Lastly, without the consistent positivity and assistance of Dr. Jack Watson I don’t know that I would have had the wherewithal to withstand the application process. All of the faculty at CPASS do a tremendous job supporting and encouraging student research endeavors. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to showcase their success through my own,” Byrd concluded.

To apply for the grant Byrd submitted a detailed proposal outlining the issues and theories addressed in her research, methodology, the significance and potential implications, surveys and instruments to be used and budget. Athletes will complete questionnaires at three time points following concussion and then participate in follow-up interviews.
29 Dec
Zizzi An E article focusing on how to regain fitness at any age while rebounding from the psychological impact of discovering an out of shape physique, sought out a WVU CPASS faculty member to ensure a successful fitness program. The piece offered suggestions on how to become healthier and stronger while enjoying training. talked with Sam Zizzi, PhD, professor, sport and exercise psychology at CPASS, for advice.

“The connection to CPASS is that we want our faculty to be go-to people for how to start and maintain a physical activity program. This website is read by tens of thousands of people. It’s good recognition that a teacher/researcher can use their knowledge in a more far-reaching medium than a journal article,” said Zizzi.

“The good news is that you can regain fitness at any age,” he explained in the story. “But you may not be as fast or as strong as you once were. So you need to keep up your motivation in the beginning by thinking, ‘I’m going to start slower, but I’m not going to quit.’”

According to the Zizzi, the danger of measuring current performance by old achievements is that an individual may experience disappointment. “If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick with it,” he said. Zizzi offered tips to get into a new workout plan quickly and safely.

Former athletes might recall how good it felt to cross the finish line during the first big race — but might have forgotten all the hard work that went into getting there. That’s the same work it might take to get back there. “You need to realize you’re at a new point, and that’s where you should begin from,” added Zizzi.

He suggests not evaluating initial progress for at least 30 days. “Can you treat it like a science experiment and wonder, ‘Let’s see what I’m capable of,’ instead of rushing to beat yourself up?’” he suggested. It’s easier to settle into a regular routine when you’re not so critical of your performance.

Weekend warriors often have different responsibilities than when they last competed in a half-marathon, or boasted serious biceps. So it should make sense that their motivation for wanting to get fit again also would have changed.

“When people think of those new reasons, it helps them stay motivated,” he said. “Maybe you want to stay healthy for your family, or you want to be an active father.” Articulating those new reasons will help you accept the shift in your identity, he said. You’re forced to think about how fitness fits into an expanded perspective of your life.

23 Dec
Kuklick The Mountaineer family has distinct qualities. Mountaineers have purpose, are loyal and support each other. Mountaineers work harder, reach further and climb higher. The “Climb Higher” campaign is a campus celebration of the way faculty and staff exceed expectations and make West Virginia University better.

Clayton Kuklick was recently selected for his contributions to the college and university. He was nominated by Stephen Harvey, associate professor, physical education teacher education.

“Clayton has brought energy, dynamism and enthusiasm to his interactions with colleagues and students in the Coaching and Teaching Studies department. He is an innovative faculty member, who truly cares about the education of his students. Clayton also makes his classes challenging, but at the same time fun, through his engaging teaching style.

“Although employed as a teaching professor he has helped on multiple research projects with colleagues and is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure his colleagues, both faculty and staff, and students reach their goals. He truly is the epitome of one who climbs higher.”

Each week in Mountaineer E-News the university announces faculty or staff members who are going the extra mile to help WVU grow in impact and stature.

President E. Gordon Gee believes that organizations are built around people. According to Gee, at West Virginia University we have great people doing great things.

“West Virginia University is rapidly advancing from excellence to eminence,” Gee said. “I am proud of everyone on our campus who is helping us climb higher.”
16 Dec

ACE student expands coaching portfolio

Jessica | December 16th, 2015

A first year Athletic Coaching Education master’s student will coach at the 2016 International Bowl for USA Football. This the second year that Williams has been selected to coach at the bowl game.

Williams will serve as the defensive backs coach and oversee all instruction, evaluation and performance by the cornerbacks and safeties. He expects to coordinate the passing game defensive strategy and coverage as well as other collateral duties, most likely having a significant role in coordinating the special teams.

“The selection process this year was fairly simple. The largest issue was waiting for the NCAA to give clearance to USA Football to use D1 (Power 5 – Football) coaches in the games,” Williams explained.

“Last year I was coaching at a D2 program. We had already received clearance for that level. Once administrators were informed of the clearance, they got in touch with me and we worked out a position,” he added.

As a student in the Athletic Coaching Education graduate program, track 2/3, Williams is scheduled to graduate in December of 2017. He is assigned as a defensive graduate assistant (off-the-field) with WVU Football. His main focus is as an analyst and in quality control, working with the defensive line and linebackers. Williams plans to continue coaching at the college level.

The involvement with USA Football has helped Williams expand his network.

“Every event I have worked with USA Football has provided connections with fantastic coaches and great recruits. It is helpful to share information and tactics with the top coaches from around the country. With this experience, I would expect to become a coordinator or head coach for the 2017 games,” said Williams

Williams gives credit CPASS faculty members Kristen Dieffenbach and Ryan Flett for their support and expertise.

“Dr. Dieffenbach and Dr. Flett have been influential in my coaching development. Dr. Dieffenbach is excellent at helping me consider my development as a coach and to make sure I am focused on developing myself, not just my players,” he added.

“Dr. Flett is experienced in my sport and has been great on several levels. It is rare in my sport to find coaches who are interested in sport psychology. Being able to talk to him has been a help to me personally. I’m looking forward to continue my relationship with them and getting to know the rest of the CPASS professors,” Williams explained.

16 Dec
SHarvey Stephen Harvey, West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences associate professor, has received the Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy Journal Reviewer of the Year Award for 2015. The award was announced at the British Education Research Association Special Interest Group meeting earlier this fall.

Harvey was also nominated for the Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy Journal Paper of the Year. He has served on the journal editorial board for the past five years.

“It is important that journals recognize the contribution and hard work of the reviewers. I am truly appreciative of those at the Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy journal for their acknowledgement of my involvement,” Harvey said.

The Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy Journal is widely recognized as one of the premier journals in physical education and sport and is the official journal of the Association of Physical Education in the United Kingdom. The journal publishes research that reports educational practices in school physical education, club sport and active leisure programs.

Harvey’s research centers on improving teaching and coaching practice with focus on behavior and the impact on physical activity, motivation and learning.

His latest co-authored book is titled Advances in Rugby Coaching: A Holistic Approach. Harvey has also been involved in enterprise activities and is co-developer of the Coach Analysis Intervention System, a systematic observation tool that permits coaches and researchers to code their behavior both ‘live’ and from videotaped records of coaching sessions.
16 Dec
iFather The College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences has partnered with the WVU Extension Service, College of Education, Department of Special Education and the Monongalia County Early Childhood Program to improve the “father factor” in childhood development through nine iFather events in Monongalia County.

The iFather sessions will take place at various area schools from October 2015 to April 2016. Byron Towner, CPASS clinical instructor, has teamed with Eric Murphy, WVU Extension Services, and Bernard Jones, College of Education, to help develop the program.

“They wanted to get a person with a physical education background who could help with activity programming that would be developmentally appropriate for children in the pre-k through second grade range,” Towner explained.

“Specifically, I recommended certain physical activities and games that fathers could play with their children that would appeal to both groups while encouraging bonding,” he added.

According to Towner, the program strives to get fathers into the schools and understand the importance of their involvement in their children’s lives.

“We have a broad focus of ways to get dads involved in their children’s lives, from physical activities to teaching dads how to read aloud. Most importantly, how to listen to their kids,” said Towner.

Through the collaboration, the group attempts to emphasize the importance of fathers and their need to help carry the load and be an integral part of children’s development. They hope to increase fathers’ participation in all aspects of their children’s lives. “Too often, the importance is left solely on the mother,” said Towner.

The community model allows fathers to interact with their children at the school that they attend. So far, the group has held iFather programs at Eastwood, Ridgedale and Mountainview Elementary Schools. In the spring, they will organize programs at Mylan Park, Cheat Lake, Brookhaven, North, Suncrest and Skyview Elementary Schools.

“This program can benefit CPASS students by encouraging members of the Coaching and Teaching Studies club to get involved and put their education to use, while bringing fathers closer to their children,” Towner added.