Two kinesiology instructors receive teaching citations

February 16, 2015

Two doctoral students in kinesiology received Excellence in Teaching Citations from Michigan State University on Feb. 10, 2014.

The awards were administered during the annual All-University Awards, in which faculty and teaching assistants were honored for their education and research contributions to the university. The Excellence in Teaching Citations were given to six individuals who distinguished themselves by the care they have given and the skill they have shown in meeting their classroom responsibilities.


Samantha Deere

Photo courtesy of Communications and Brand Strategy.

Samantha Deere

Samantha Deere is described as “Super Woman” by her students for her knowledgeable, caring, engaging and enthusiastic demeanor in the classroom. Deere has taught a variety of classes, including Applied Human Anatomy Laboratory (KIN 217) and Physiological Bases of Physical Activity (KIN 310). This semester, she is not teaching, and is instead focusing on her dissertation–but that did not stop Deere from saying that teaching is one of the things she’s loved most about being at MSU.

“I’ve definitely enjoyed the teaching and working with students here,” she said. She works to create an open and inclusive environment in her classrooms, and asks her students to challenge her and ask questions to better learn the material.

Deere’s advisor is James Pivarnik, professor of kinesiology and epidemiology and director of the Center for Physical Activity and Health. She is also part of the Exercise is Medicine® initiative, which encourages physicians to prescribe exercise as part of treatment for their patients.

Deere’s research is on the relationship between participation in physical activity and college student academic success; she plans to defend her dissertation in May.

Jessica WallaceJessica Wallace

Wallace first started at MSU in fall 2011 and has since gone on to teach “pretty much everything” in the Department of Kinesiology.

Wallace’s love for teaching began before 2011, however, as she had previously taught high school students in Orlando, Fla. It was there that she established her teaching philosophy, which includes getting to know the students and personalizing the class based on their needs.

“I need to ask ‘Is what I’m doing helping you learn?’ and adjust my teaching on that,” Wallace said. “I have expectations of my students, but they also have expectations of me. I want to meet those expectations. I find if I do that, they’ll rise to meet mine for them.”

Wallace researches sports-related concussions in urban high school students under her mentor Tracey Covassin, associate professor of kinesiology and a certified athletic trainer. Currently, Wallace works with 15 high schools in Lansing and Detroit to learn what high school students know about concussions and to see what they do with that knowledge and how they report a possible concussion. It is a two-year project that will continue post-graduation, expected in May 2015, to look at urban versus suburban schools and those with and without an athletic trainer and how that may impact students.