- Letter from the President | Dr. Stamatis Agiovlasitis
- Announcements | NAFAPA Board
- Research Highlight | Dr. Maureen Connolly, Brock University
- Community Spotlight | SNAP at Brock University
- Tips for New Scholars | Dr. Samuel Hodge, Ohio State University
- Reader's Corner | New from outside of APAQ
- Student Highlight | Abby Fines, University of Virginia
- Americans with a Disability Act - 30th Anniversary | Speaker Series
- Message from the Editors | Krystn Orr and Steven Holland
Letter from the President
Dr. Stamatis Agiovlasitis
Greetings from the NAFAPA Board
Dear NAFAPA affiliates,
I hope that you are staying healthy and safe during the COVID-19 crisis.
• We all became saddened by our own decision to cancel the NAFAPA 2020 Biennial Symposium. We are confident, however, that this was the right decision for the safety of our members. The good news is that we will not completely skip our trip to Canada because Dr. Maureen Connolly and her wonderful team will organize our 2022 Symposium at Brock University. Please read more about Dr. Connolly and her work in this Newsletter.
• The NAFAPA Board formed a committee for organizing virtual events that will be taking place this October around the original time of the cancelled Symposium. We are planning activities for students. We will present the NAFAPA awards. We will have a business meeting. And we will hold elections for new officers. Soon, we will invite nominations for new officers and elections will take place online early in the Fall.
• We finalized our mission and vision statements which will be added to the Bylaws, if approved in the business meeting.
• The NAFAPA Board has increased interactions with IFAPA, EUFAPA, and ASAPE. We hope that increasing ties and coordinating our efforts will strengthen the field of Adapted Physical Activity.
Please feel free to contact the Board with your thoughts, ideas, and criticisms.
Fall Virtual Activities
In response to COVID-19, NAFAPA is planning to host a brief webinar series that will be available to the public. The series will include the NAFAPA awards ceremony, business meeting, and an interactive student engagement component. The webinar is planned for October, 2020. More details to come soon. Please follow our Twitter page and/or website for further details.
Opportunity for Submissions
In an effort to support our members and ensure important adapted physical activity information and opportunities are distributed equally, we would like to invite members to submit information regarding employment opportunities, master’s and/or doctoral student recruitment, or other relevant information for publication in the newsletter. Submitted announcements will be featured in this section as space permits and promoted through our Twitter account and website. The newsletter is published three times a year (March, July, and November). Please contact Krystn or Steve if you have any questions or would like to share information to be distributed.
Dr. Maureen Connolly, Brock University
My name is Maureen Connolly and I am a professor of Physical Education and Kinesiology and a member of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University (St. Catharines, Ontario), since 1991. I was born in St. John’s Newfoundland, June 17, 1956, educated in the convent school system and graduated from Holy Heart of Mary Regional High School. I am a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland, having completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees there before undertaking a PhD in Education at the University of Alberta. My passion as a teacher and scholar was forged there, in St. John’s, in the crucible of contradiction made possible by poverty and by the particular forms of neglect and violence it feeds, my early forays into teaching and community service underscoring the disconnect between the content I was absorbing and the world of learners I inhabited. I’ve never forgotten those early lessons, and I hold them responsible for the choices I have made since, choices about how and what I teach, how and what I re-search, how and what I am as a person of conscience.
A former professor (at Memorial University) once informed me that: “you don’t have much talent, but you can out work just about anybody”. I was grateful to learn that talent is to be appreciated, neither feared nor revered. I was equally grateful to learn that work is valuable in and of itself, that excellence is a habit that can be learned and cultivated in self and others, with and without visible talents. I am convinced that my interest in embodiment and its consequent application into curriculum development and adaptive physical activity which has animated my teaching and scholarship over the years, is also at the core of my philosophy of teaching, one which takes up Freirean principles of critical, liberatory pedagogy in its many expressive forms. I did not make these scholarly and pedagogic choices in a socio-political vacuum, and I take perverse delight in the contextual richness that allowed me to take risks of meaningfulness and authenticity. I use the word “risk” deliberately; I have not chosen a path of unobstructed trajectory through my academic career. I moved organically as the opportunities unfolded, and at times my trajectory has been a path laid down in the walking. This has meant that I had to develop skills I had not anticipated ever needing, and that I accepted challenges that a more singularly focused person might have seen as distractions.
My intentions during my early development as a scholar in movement and APA were to explore a variety of expressions of physical and emotional distress. I was especially taken with melancholy, distress, and crying since I had experienced dramatic instances of all of these among the children and adolescents with autism with whom I was working at the time. At the outset I had expected that I would engage with a robust body of literature, perhaps have the opportunity to explore with observations and conversations and ultimately to have developed therapeutic and/or pedagogic responses that would be both dignified and helpful for the children and youth with autism, and their families and teachers. This exploration lead to my moving many of my previously discrete embodiment interests into a more consolidated clustering that I have since designated as “stressed embodiment”. This consolidation not only strengthened my theoretical premises, it also opened a range of writing and intellectual possibilities--and a scholarly community – that I could not have imagined. My scholarly and pedagogic pursuits since then have been animated by this move to what I consider to be a more authentic theoretical, praxiological and carnal ground.
I work with/in a qualitative, primarily phenomenological orientation to inquiry. I also engage in arts-based, narrative, poetic and bodily expressive modalities and how these function across scholarly, pedagogic, and other creative outlets. I am a YWCA Woman of Distinction, a university teaching award winner, a 3M National Teaching Fellow (2003), and a 2009 Erasmus Mundus scholar in Adapted Physical Activity. I have extensive experience in facilitation of small and large group process, supervision of theses and dissertations (over 130 successfully completed graduate supervisions) and have pioneered various innovative and applied pedagogies for bodies of varied abilities, sensibilities, and expressive potentialities. My teaching and research interests include curriculum, stressed embodiment, movement education and adaptive physical activity. My commitment to Freirean approaches to teaching and learning is the foundation for the SNAP/s, CHARM, Side By Side, and Summer Movement Camp for participants with Autism spectrum disorder, programs based in community service learning, which have been serving Niagara since 1994-95 and which have received regional, national and international recognition and awards. My theoretical dispositions are semiotic, phenomenological, post/anti-colonial, irreverent and quixotic. I enjoy training, reading, writing, laughing, and authentic interpersonal engagement.
SNAP at Brock University
SNAP (Supporting Neurodiversity through Adaptive Programming) is a developmentally appropriate movement education curriculum offered to children, youth, and adults experiencing disability in the Niagara region. SNAP is a community service learning initiative that has been running since the 1994-95 academic year. In collaboration with all the school boards and several disability services organizations, SNAP offers 1:1, 2:1, and 3:1 facilitated instruction in physical activity contexts one morning a week between October and April. Coordinated by a team of undergraduate students who fulfill an honours thesis credit, SNAP also relies on approximately 200 volunteers per session. Numbers of participants have increased over the twenty plus years of SNAP’s existence with approximately 1600 school-aged children involved during a typical academic year. The past five years have also seen increasing numbers of masters and PhD students involved in various capacities. SNAP allows future practitioners to practice being with kids in meaningful instructional relationships. It allows coordinators to develop their own facilitation, instructional, time management, and organizational skills. At SNAP we implement an embedded curriculum and have a teaching and learning laboratory to see what works and what does not and for whom. We practice phrasing and feedback, we practice observation and analysis of movement, we practice progression and skill building across a variety of different dimensions of movement competency (e.g., stability, loco-motor, quality of movement [time, weight, space, flow], sending-receiving-retaining, and gross and fine motor). We refine what is not working well so that we can continue to provide a developmentally appropriate environment that also affords achievement and dignity. In addition to an embedded curriculum, SNAP engages a station based pedagogy (SBP), which is an approach to learning and teaching based in task breakdown and distributed practice. A basic skill that can be more easily learned in its entirety can be practiced at a station designed specifically for that skill. A more complex skill that presents challenges can be “broken down” into smaller elements or components and each element or component can be practiced at its own station, allowing for greater overall practice of a skill that would be more elusive if practiced in its entirety only. Complex skills that require more elaboration of difficulty can be practiced at stations devoted to increased challenge and/or variation on the skill. These underlying strategies – embedding, task breakdown and distributed practice – are the foundations for developing scaffolding and progressions for learning. SNAP also operates as a site for research, learning, and pedagogy. SNAP provides a research site for undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research. We can track phenomena over time, work with image and video, develop programs, and explore effective practices across broad spectrums of interest. In addition, we work with parents, teachers, EA’s, PT’s, and OT’s and other community partners with shared interests. Research with SNAP has developed specific programs as well as innovative research designs and pedagogies for participants who require 1:1 support and for aging participants who are experiencing disability. We have also developed internal mentoring programs for students who express interest in learning mentoring and facilitation skills.
The program has won several awards. Research on the program’s development, implementation, and ongoing refinement has been and continues to be disseminated nationally and internationally.
Tips for New Scholars
Dr. Samuel Hodge, Ohio State University
Today, an estimated 4.5 million American adults (~2%) hold a doctoral degree (United States Census Bureau, 2019; Wilson, 2017). However, the attrition rate in doctoral-granting graduate schools across the U.S. is about 50% (Petroff, 2011). Success in your graduate program is based not only on your academic performance but also on “recognition and negotiation of ongoing, and, at times, hostile relationships within the academic setting” (Petroff, 2011, p. 133). Fletcher et al. (2011) interviewed doctoral students who were ABD; that is, All, But Dissertation (Degree), and the participants voiced concerns about challenges they believed had inhibited their progression to completing their dissertations. Recurring themes in order of magnitude to the participants were: (a) community lacking within the candidates' academic programs; (b) inert relationships (i.e., sluggish, unmotivated, inactive, or lethargic) with their academic advisors; and (c) a loss of momentum in candidates completing their dissertation research proposals/studies. In light of such challenges, it is important that you find and connect with faculty and fellow graduate students who are available and willing to support your journey in academe.
In this NAFAPA newsletter, I offer advice on how best to navigate your graduate program while progressing toward degree attainment. Here are seven pieces of advice.
A FISH IN WATER
I use the metaphor of graduate students as fish in water. And, as a fish you need to understand water. Cold water, warm water, the claim waters off the shores of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawai’i or the rough waters off the north shores of Honolulu, for example; salt water or fresh water, and so on. In other words, you must learn and understand the culture of your graduate program. Ask and seek answers to such questions as: What are the program expectations? What are the politics? Avoid the politics. What are the interpersonal conflicts, power struggles, and hidden agendas? Avoid those as well. Who are the players? Who are the lead players? Are you moving the water, or is the water moving you?
DON’T JUDGE ME!
Some time ago, I was giving my teenage daughter some fatherly words of wisdom about her behavior in school. She replied, DON’T JUDGE ME! And, I responded, OH YES, YOU ARE GOING TO BE JUDGED! As graduate students—you are continually judged. In fact, that is what this whole experience is built upon—a series of judgment points: admission criteria, GRE scores, Test of Spoken English, course grades, candidacy exams, research proposals, and more. How you respond to these judgment points is important.
JEOPARDY CATEGORY: COMPROMISED | ANSWER: NO, THAT IS NOT ME ON TAPE
We all have watched entertainers, politicians, sport figures, and others caught-up in compromising positions from R. Kelly’s videotapes (Sidner, 2019) to Donald Trump’s vulgar audiotape (Victor, 2017). My point here is that you should avoid compromising positions as a graduate student such as missing deadlines, submitting academic work late, not meeting expectations, or getting caught up in interpersonal conflicts. MAINTAIN YOUR INTEGRITY. This means you should always avoid misleading statements, lying, or not being totally truthful with yourself or others.
DO NOT GIVE AWAY YOUR ADULTHOOD
Assume and maintain responsibility for your academic progress. Listen to good advice from your academic adviser and others; while understanding and owning the responsibility of making important decisions yourself—for yourself. A note of caution, you need to learn to recognize the difference between good advice and bad advice. In general, good advice builds on truth to your situation. Find your voice by speaking your truth. In contrast, bad advice typically is confounded by interpersonal conflicts, politics within the program, or other extraneous considerations.
BRING ME A BOWL, NOT A CUP [Alternate Title: PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS]
In ordering a bowl of oatmeal most week day mornings at Bob Evans Restaurant, I regularly ask for brown sugar and butter with my oats. However, what I receive—more often than not—particularly with a new server—is a cup of oats with brown sugar and milk. What did I ask for? You must pay attention to major and minor details in your academic work, particularly in your writing and research proposals, projects, theses, or dissertations.
SIZE DOES NOT MATTER, UNLESS IT DOES
For those of you thinking about, planning, proposing, or conducting research—you must understand the size of the project is much less important than how big it is in quality. It is not about the size of your research project, it is more about the quality and rigor with which you conceptualize, construct, and carry out your research. My advice, you should take on a small focused piece of research, but do the study in a big quality way.
DO NOT LIVE BELOW YOUR PRIVILEGE
Expect, and if necessary, demand respect. Expect, and if necessary, demand fairness. A word of caution, some of you will find yourselves in a battle against stereotypic and racist views. Understand that it is better to be marginalized and right in principle, than to be popular and find yourself on the wrong side of history. What are your principles? Maintain your principles.
In summary, it is important that you learn and understand the culture of your graduate program, which includes a series of judgment points. As an adult, make informed decisions, while paying attention to details. Do high-quality research. Lastly, maintain your principles of integrity.
Fletcher, E. C., Gies, M., & Hodge, S. R. (2011). Exploring persistence, challenges, and barriers of doctoral students. Multicultural Learning and Teaching, 6(1), 1-23.
Petroff, L. (2011). The politics of graduate school. National Social Science Journal, 35(2), 133-138.
Sidner, S. (2019, February 24). CNN has seen tape Avenatti says shows R. Kelly having sex with underage girl. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/14/entertainment/r-kelly-investigation/index.html.
United States Census Bureau. (2019, February 21). Number of master and doctoral degrees doubles among population. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2019/education-degrees-double.html.
Victor, D. (2017, November 28). ‘Access Hollywood’ reminds Trump: ‘The tape is very real’. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/28/us/politics/donald-trump-tape.html.
Wilson, R. (2017, May 3). Census: More Americans have college degrees than ever before. Retrieved from https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/326995-census-more-americans-have-college-degrees-than-ever-before.
Abby Fines, University of Virginia
Abby is beginning the third year of her doctoral program in Kinesiology for Individuals with Disabilities at the University of Virginia. Abby also completed her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Virginia. She earned her master’s degree through the Erasmus Mundus Master in Adapted Physical Activity program at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium and the University of Limerick in Ireland.
Abby is a member of the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity and a student ambassador for the North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity. Prior to the start of her doctoral program, Abby worked as a program director for a Paralympic sport club and, most recently, as a consultant with Special Olympics International. Abby has experience as both a wheelchair basketball and goalball coach.
Abby’s experiences have influenced her research interests, which are centered around sport development for athletes with physical disabilities. Abby recently published an article about collegiate adapted sport in Sport, Education, and Society and served as a contributor for the Special Olympics’ Fitness Guide for Schools. Her works-in-progress are centered around collegiate adapted sport and coaching. Abby’s long-term goals involve the development of adapted sports programming and teaching.
Americans with a Disability Act's 30th Anniversary
We are collaborating on a series of online talks in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the ADA. The first talk is Tuesday, July 21st at 12pm ET.
The first speaker is Ann Cody. Ann oversees the International Disability Rights portfolio at the U.S. Department of State. She is responsible for the Department’s engagement to combat discrimination and abuse against persons with disabilities globally and to promote the rights, respect, and full inclusion of all persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.
If you would like to learn more or would like to secure your FREE spot in the discussion, please visit our Eventbrite page.
With the upcoming NAFAPA Board of Directors elections this fall, this newsletter is our last as editors. As student representatives on the NAFAPA Board of Directors, we have been delighted to curate and serve our community for the past two years. We encourage other students in (or wishing to join) the NAFAPA community to consider running for a student representative position and to take on the tri-annual newsletter. We also realized that we never introduced ourselves when we began in fall 2018. Below are our brief biographies.
Krystn Orr, University of Toronto
Krystn Orr is in the process of defending her doctoral research at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, and Mental Health and Physical Activity Research Centre. Her research examines the social environment and the role of peers in the recreational sport experiences of emerging adults (18 – 25 years) who identify with a disability. Krystn has accepted a Mitacs Canada funded postdoctoral fellowship in partnership with McMaster University’s Faculty of Social Work and Special Olympics Ontario. Her postdoctoral research will aid Special Olympics Ontario in the development of interactive online coach and volunteer training to promote high quality experiences throughout the program offerings of Special Olympics.
Steven Holland, Old Dominion University
Steven Holland is beginning the third and final year of his doctoral program in Health and Sport Pedagogy at Old Dominion University. Steve’s doctoral training is funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant as part of the Multi-Institution Adapted Physical Activity Mentorship Consortium. Steve’s research interests and projects include disability representation in sports media, adapted physical education teacher socialization, and the lived experiences of individuals with disabilities in physical education and sport contexts. Steve’s dissertation research focuses on physical education and school-based sport experiences at the intersection of trans/non-binary and disability identities. In May, Steve and his wife welcomed their first child, Thatcher.