Three College of Education Faculty Honored By National Academy of Kinesiology

Oct. 7, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas — Two University of Texas at Austin College of Education faculty members were elected Fellows of the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK) and a third was given the organization’s highest honor at a special banquet and ceremony during the September conference.

Jody Jensen and Jan Todd, the newly elected Fellows, are professors in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education.

Jensen, who joined the College of Education in 1997, specializes in children’s neuromotor development and is co-founder of the Autism Project, where she studies the interactions between exercise and the symptoms of autism.

Todd, who began teaching at The University of Texas at Austin in 1985, is an expert in the history of sport and exercise and is co-founder and co-director of the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports.

The induction of Todd and Jensen brings the total number of University of Texas at Austin Fellows in the honorary organization to six.

Professor Emeritus Waneen Spirduso was honored at the conference with the H. Clarke Hetherington Award, the NAK’s highest accolade.

Spirduso, who is a former chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education and was interim dean of the College of Education, founded The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute of Gerontology. She is a former president of the NAK and has served in numerous leadership roles since her own induction as a Fellow in 1983. She was honored in 2009 by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness for her decades of significant work in the area of physical activity and aging, and she was the first woman to receive the university’s Civitatis Award for her outstanding service to the university community.

“It’s very rare for one department to have this many faculty in the academy,” said John Ivy, chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, “and it makes me extremely proud to be the head of such a distinguished group. I’m particularly delighted that Dr. Spirduso received the Hetherington Award.

“Hetherington founded the academy and the list of award recipients represents a ‘Who’s Who’ of our profession. Dr. Spirduso’s research has been seminal to the establishment of the field of exercise gerontology, and no one whom I know has done more to advance knowledge on that subject. I’m so proud of her, as well as Dr. Jensen and Dr. Todd.”

The NAK is composed of elected active, emeritus and international Fellows who have made major, long-term contributions to kinesiology and physical education. The academy’s purpose is to encourage and promote the study and educational application of the art and science of human movement.

For more information, contact: Kay Randall, College of Education, 512 471 3151.