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Letter from the Chair 2018

Kristine JankovitzI stepped into the role of chair in April 2016. As an alumna of this program, it’s a great joy for me to welcome a new generation of Mustangs, including my former classmates’ children. In taking on the challenge, I looked to the legacy of all of those who have led the department over my time at Cal Poly and often rely on what they taught me along the way. There are many times I say to myself, “What would Dr. Head do about this?” 

Some of your favorite faculty members are making a tremendous impact in new roles. Kellie Green Hall and Camille O’Bryant were promoted to associate deans of the College of Science and Mathematics, and Kevin Taylor was appointed director of the School of Education.

We’ve also had a few departures. David Hey retired, and Heather Starnes relocated when her husband obtained a new position. She continues to teach some online classes for us. Fortunately, a number of enthusiastic and talented new faculty members have joined us.

Other exciting changes include a new name. We are now the Kinesiology and Public Health Department. This change is reflective of the growth and direction of our teaching and scholarship over the past several years. To serve the increasing interest in public health careers, we’ll welcome the first students into a new bachelor’s degree in public health this coming fall. Kinesiology majors interested in fitness, sport and coaching careers can now concentrate in sport science. 

STRIDE, the universitywide center for health research housed in the department, has been growing. During the past year, STRIDE faculty, staff and students have published 46 manuscripts, delivered countless professional presentations, and received more than a dozen externally funded grants totaling more than $2.5 million. Director Suzanne Phelan received the prestigious Wang Family Award for Excellence in Scholarship from the California State University this year and Cal Poly’s Distinguished Scholarship Award in 2017.

A new Learn by Doing opportunity will arrive this spring with STRIDE’s state-of the-art Women and Infants’ Mobile Health Unit. The unit, which was made possible through donor support, will provide free health outreach and counseling services to underserved populations on the Central Coast. Students will get hands-on experience working with medical professionals and faculty researchers.

This coming summer, 20 kinesiology and public health students will work on real-world research with faculty mentors thanks to a generous gift from Cal Poly alumnus William Frost and his wife, Linda. The Frosts’ gift also supported the purchase of new equipment that opens the door to new educational and research opportunities.

We are so fortunate to have the ongoing support of our alumni to provide high impact Learn by Doing experiences for our students.

Please take good care and keep in touch. Your college days may be over, but Learn by Doing never ends!

Kristine Jankovitz
Kinesiology and Public Health Department

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