AKA Leadership Institute
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AKA Leadership Institute

The American Kinesiology Association (AKA) promotes and enhances kinesiology as a unified field of study and advances its many applications. AKA does this by advocating for kinesiology at national and international levels, and by supporting member departments through educational opportunities and resource materials, including an annual workshop for university administrators in kinesiology. This annual AKA Leadership Workshop is widely regarded as the nation’s premiere conference for kinesiology department chairs, deans, and faculty who assist with the administration of kinesiology programs.

Building upon the success of the AKA Leadership Workshop, we introduced the AKA Leadership Institute, in 2019. The Leadership Institute utilizes a mentoring model to provide exceptional training and networking for new department chairs, associate chairs, and emerging faculty leaders who aspire to advance toward administrative positions in the near future. This 12-month program includes:

  1. a three-day virtual seminar (half days) in early January,
  2. attendance at the annual AKA Leadership Workshop,
  3. bi-monthly webinars with a speaker on a key topic, and
  4. bi-monthly one-on-one calls with a senior mentor to discuss a case scenario relating to the prior month webinar and to seek input on local challenges and career development. Key resource materials, often in the form of peer-review publications (i.e., Kinesiology Review, Quest, etc.) or case studies, will be provided prior to webinars and other sessions. Mentors are assigned in consultation with each fellow.

Testimonial from Leadership Institute Fellow in Cohort 1,

Mark Urtel, University of Indiana Indianapolis

Application Requirements

To ensure high quality programming, we limit the number of fellows and maintain a ratio of no more than 2:1 fellows-to-mentors. Applications are due May 31, 2024, and application requirements are detailed below.

  1. Cover letter detailing motivation and commitment to the fellowship, and outlining source of funding for the fellowship
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Three letters of support, including one from Dean/supervisor

Cost of Program

  1. $1,000 program fee (includes registration to the Annual Leadership Workshop) will be invoiced once accepted into the institute
  2. Registration/travel to the applicable pre-workshops and workshops

Decisions will be finalized at the summer Executive Committee retreat (i.e., June/July), and the fellowship will officially begin each year in early January with a three-day virtual seminar followed closely by the AKA Leadership Workshop held at the end of January.

If you have questions, please contact AKA Leadership Institute directors Dr. Tim Gavin (gavin1@purdue.edu) and Dr. Heather Van Mullem (hivanmullem@lcsc.edu).

Leadership Institute Directors

Tim Gavin


Purdue University

Heather Van Mullem


Lewis-Clark State College

Example Timeline for Leadership Institute

December – Virtual meet & greet with directors, fellows, and mentors

January – Three-day virtual seminar (half days), and AKA Leadership Workshop (attendance is encouraged, registration is not included with program cost)

February – Mentor/LI Participant call/Zoom

March – Webinar with speaker on key topic

April – Mentor/LI Participant call/Zoom

May – Webinar with speaker on key topic

June – Mentor/LI Participant call/Zoom

July – Webinar with speaker on key topic

August – Mentor/LI Participant call/Zoom

September – Webinar with speaker on key topic

October – Mentor/LI Participant call/Zoom

November – Webinar with speaker on key topic

December – Mentor/LI Participant call/Zoom

January – AKA Leadership Workshop – Present with fellow Leadership Institute participants and receive recognition and certificate of fellow program completion (Registration is included in program cost)

Examples of Seminar/Webinar Topics

  • The Discipline of Kinesiology
  • AKA Undergraduate Core Curriculum
  • Understanding national trends in kinesiology & higher education
  • University structure and unit budget models
  • Personnel: Managing faculty and staff
  • Moving into a new leadership role
  • General leadership characteristics, and the role of shared governance
  • Legal issues and pitfalls including: FERPA, HIPPA, Free Speech, COVID-19
  • Embracing entrepreneurship and innovation in Kinesiology
  • Creating a plan for strategic initiatives
  • Branding and marketing
  • Leadership challenges and solutions
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Promoting social justice – building a climate of inclusive excellence
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