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CPASS announces new administrative leadership

New administrative roles at West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences will support critical transitions within the organizational structure and prepare the college for new leadership. 

The WVU Office of the Provost announced in April that Jack Watson, professor and interim associate dean, will serve as interim dean. Watson steps into the role following the announcement of the retirement of Dana Brooks, professor and dean of the college, who served in that role for 26 years, with a total of 41 years at the college. 

Having worked at WVU for 19 years, Watson now oversees college operations, providing professional, executive, supervisory and general administrative services, and started this role on July 1, 2019, with a contract that will run through June 30, 2020. Watson has additional ties to WVU, having earned his master’s degree in sport behavior from the university. 

“I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to help guide CPASS onward for the next year. Most importantly, I look forward to working with the college’s outstanding faculty, staff, students and alumni. We have a strong team assembled and we can certainly make great things happen,” Jack Watson, professor and interim dean said.  

According to Watson, the college’s primary efforts will kick off during the “first 100 days” with a focus on growth and development, engaging faculty, staff and students in leadership roles and transforming the organizational structure. “These changes will allow the college to be efficient and proactive,” Watson said.   

The new appointments include Valerie Wayda, associate professor and associate dean for undergraduate and academic affairs; Sean Bulger, professor and associate dean for graduate and online education; and Sam Zizzi, professor, associate dean for research and Dr. Pat Fehl Endowed Professor. 

Among the newly announced associate deans, Wayda holds two degrees from WVU, an M.S. in physical education with an emphasis in sport behavior and an Ed.D. in sport behavior with an emphasis in motor development, research and sociology. Bulger received his Ed.D. in physical education teacher education from WVU while Zizzi holds an Ed.D. in sport and exercise psychology with a minor in counseling from WVU. 

The college has established program coordinators for each academic area: Allison Hetrick in athletic training; Mike Ryan in coaching and performance science; Jeremy Yeats in physical education and kinesiology; Scott Barnicle in sport, exercise and performance psychology; and Gary Lhotsky in sport management; all beginning July 1. 

As keys to the college’s successful future, Watson says CPASS will take strides to strategically support the R1 mission of WVU by creating policies that facilitate research and grant productivity and increase doctoral student production, while considering post-doctoral opportunities. 

“It will be difficult to follow dean Brooks in this area given the growth in our college that has occurred during his tenure as dean, but we will attempt to remain nimble, work hard to strengthen the college’s donor relationships and forge ahead with our online master’s degree programs and new majors” Watson added. 

Watson says grant productivity is at its highest level ever, while student recruitment and retention numbers continue to rise. “Most notably, the college’s on-line master’s degree programs lead the way for growth. Meanwhile, we have identified new majors, reimagined existing programs and established exciting new areas of emphasis and accelerated bachelors to masters programs,” Watson added. With the goal of continuing this trend, CPASS aims to stay ahead of the curve regarding programming options available to students. 

Additionally, the Board of Governors has recently approved a new major in CPASS, opening a flexible track toward health science and non-school based community health related careers. Students in the health and well-being major can tailor a degree program within a diverse field, targeting a variety of roles. In yet another strategic move, the college has announced changes in the athletic coaching education program, with the new title of coaching and performance science, creating a one-of-a-kind major with multiple areas of emphasis available to help students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to reach their career goals. 

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