Beth Lewis became the new director of the School of Kinesiology in June. She brings a love of leadership to the position.
“I enjoy so many aspects of the leadership role—I like building relationships, decision-making, managing conflict. And I love looking at budgets!” she laughs. “I have a vision about where this great department will go.”
Kinesiology is a burgeoning field, particularly in light of current issues around obesity and its public health effects. Student demand to major in the school’s programs is up. Lewis says the school is in a unique position to provide greater education and community outreach. She plans to lead a schoolwide dialogue on issues related to growth.
“Growing our enrollment takes creativity, considering our number of faculty, space, and labs,” she says. “As a school, we need to talk about where we’re going and how we can best leverage our expertise in physical activity and wellness for teaching and further research funding.”
Lewis, whose background is in clinical psychology, joined the faculty in 2007. Her current research examines how physical activity can help in treating perinatal and postpartum depression in women. She will draw on her significant experience with multi-year federal grants (she is currently leading one funded by the National Institutes of Health and another from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) to guide tenure-track faculty.
“My role is to help everyone in the department to continue to do great things,” says Lewis. “We have phenomenal researchers, excellent teachers, and an outstanding staff. I want to make sure they can continue their good work and ensure they have the resources to do so.”
Lewis succeeds professor Li Li Ji, who served as director of the school since 2011 and has returned to the faculty full time.
Story by Marta Fahrenz | Photo courtesy of the School of Kinesiology | Fall 2017