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College of Health and Human Sciences

Harms receives distinguished leadership award from national association

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The American Kinesiology Association, AKA, has selected Craig Harms, professor and kinesiology department head, as the 2020-2021 Jerry R. Thomas Distinguished Leadership Award winner for doctoral degree granting institutions. Harms will be recognized for his achievement at the upcoming AKA Leadership Conference January 27-28,2021.

This award recognizes outstanding administrative and leadership performance of an individual in an administrative unit at an AKA member institution. The selection committee considers many characteristics to determine the winners including the following criteria. As a department chair/director, the individual made significant contributions in at least two or more of the following areas: built innovative curricula to strengthen the undergraduate core of kinesiology; expanded faculty and student research productivity focused on physical activity; established partnerships and outreach activities that significantly impact the unit; achieved success in obtaining new or renovated facilities for teaching and research; inspired others to achieve at a high level; and made significant changes that enhanced the effectiveness and efficiencies of programs and services.

“Dr. Harms’ performance and contributions to the Department of Kinesiology and Kansas State University can be considered substantial and outstanding. His tremendous leadership and dedication continue to move our department forward as our department continues to grow in both our academic programs along with adding new faculty to our ranks,” said Tim Musch, university distinguished professor and nominator.

Harms is credited with helping the kinesiology department's student numbers grow, recruited exceptional faculty, program development, increased extramural funding, enhanced graduate student education, increased undergraduate majors involved in research, and improved department infrastructure. Since becoming department head in 2014, Harms has based his visioning and decision-making on creating an environment for his faculty to be successful and making the department's student experience the best possible. To that end, Harms oversees a department that now has nearly 500 undergraduate majors and 100 minors.

The department's extramural funding has grown by more than $5 million under his leadership, and he has helped recruit high-quality faculty members who have landed major grants from NASA, American Cancer Society, National Institutes of Health and more. Numerous kinesiology faculty members have won teaching and research awards, and faculty publications in leading research outlets have increased significantly. Harms has increased the number of graduate teaching assistantships and scholarships offered by his department, and opportunities for graduate students to travel and present their research at prestigious conferences have increased. He also helped his growing department secure, develop and equip additional classroom and laboratory space.

Under his leadership, the department launched a new degree program this fall, a Bachelor of Science in integrative physiology, and are slated to offer a Bachelor of Science in public health to begin spring 2021.The development of these 2 new degrees are part of the department’s 2025 strategic plan that has resulted in three newly developed curriculum concentrations within the major (Health Science Pre-Professional, Applied Exercise, Physical Activity and Health Promotion) that better prepares students for professional school and careers.

In addition to his department head role, Harms continues to teach, conduct research and is active in service to his profession. He recently served as vice president and was on the board of trustees of the American College of Sports Medicine, which has more than 50,000 members and is considered the global authority for sports medicine and exercise science.

Harms was recognized for his outstanding leadership by the University in 2019 when he was awarded the Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head.

This article was posted on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, and is filed under College News, Kinesiology.