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Kathleen M. Kinkema

Kathleen M. Kinkema

Emeritus Professor of Exercise & Sport Science
Paul Wright Gym 233


Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Exercise and Sport Science, 1998
M.S., University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Exercise and Sport Science, 1987
B.A., Grand Valley State University, Physical Education, 1979


Kathleen Kinkema, Ph.D., joined the faculty at Western in 1998 after six years as a faculty member in Exercise & Sport Science at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina. Dr. Kinkema’s professional and scholarly interests are in sociocultural sport studies and physical education pedagogy.

She is passionate about ensuring social justice in physical activity and sport settings as well as in the role of physical activity in lifelong wellness. Her physical activity passions include road biking, ice hockey, hiking, skiing, canoeing and pickleball. Dr. Kinkema served as Chair of the Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science Department from 2009-2015; she joined the staff in Academic Affairs in 2015.

How did you discover Western?

I was hoping to relocate from racist, homophobic, rural North Carolina after finishing my Ph.D. and saw a job posting in The Chronicle of Higher Education. One of my golfing buddies from my prior institution had vacationed here a lot with her husband and said it was beautiful. I fell in love with the area when I came for my interview. I also wanted to teach at a smaller institution that prioritized undergraduate education, turning down a higher-paying position at a much larger, more prestigious institution.

What are some of the highlights of your career?

Impacting the lives of the students I work and have worked with, seeing them flourish in their careers and in life post-graduation. I was proud to be a faculty honoree for an Alumni Award of Excellence recipient. My commitment and love for teaching were validated several years ago when I was nominated for (by Western students), and subsequently received, the College & University Teacher of the Year award by the Colorado Association for Health and Physical Education.

What most excites you about your field?

The ability to positively impact people’s lives through the promotion of lifelong physical activity. I can’t think of another skill (aside from reading) that is more important than that of being a skillful mover, capable of engaging safely in a wide range of physical activities over the course of a lifetime.

What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?

I value being able to participate in the physical activities that I love without having to travel: ice hockey, cycling, skiing, kayaking and hiking. The size of the community makes it easy to develop strong social connections and to have opportunities for meaningful community engagement. I have served as President of the Board of Directors for Gunnison Mentors, volunteer in the community as a Master Gardener, and currently serve on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee for the City of Gunnison.

Courses Taught

  • ESS 210-213: Skill Development & Analysis
  • ESS 350: Instructional Assessment in Physical Education
  • ESS 392: Methods of Secondary Physical Education
  • ESS 353: Health & Physical Education in Elementary School
  • ESS 490: Sociology of Sport & Physical Activity
  • ESS 495: Senior Seminar in Exercise and Sport Science

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