PHETE professor wins educator award


By: Sara Banton
Creative Services Student Writer

Kathy McKayKinesiology professor, Cathy McKay, has been recognized as the College/University Health Educator of the Year by the Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (VAHPERD). McKay represents James Madison University by receiving one of the three collegiate-level awards presented in 2018.

“My reaction upon finding out that I was the recipient of the College/University Health Educator of the Year award was one of gratitude,” McKay said. “I am thankful for the recognition, and thankful for my colleagues, past and present, who have supported my growth as an educator through innovation, challenge, and kindness.”

McKay joined VAHPERD over twenty years ago, as a first year teacher. “...I learned early on that membership in professional organizations has many benefits, ranging from staying up to date on best practice, collaboration opportunities, professional development experiences and the ability to share research and knowledge that will benefit students and teachers across the state. I actually learned the value and importance of VAHPERD membership while in undergrad here at JMU,” Dr. McKay said. She acknowledges Jackie Williams as her mentor, who she believes imprinted upon her students the significance of professional development and benefits of involvement in VAHPERD. Williams, now her colleague, was McKay’s undergraduate adviser and professor when she attended JMU.

To be considered for this award, educators must demonstrate a wide range of skills while proving to be effective in their teaching. The award winner must also promote the significance of physical and health education, be professional in their work and serve the students as an upstanding example, among other requirements.

“I’m an advocate for best practice in health and physical education, and believe that through effective teaching, health and physical education teachers can support students in developing the skills and confidence to lead healthy and physically active lives,” McKay said.

McKay serves the JMU community in many ways. As a professor, she teaches her students skills and values that transcend the classroom. For example, through the Paralympic skill lab for KIN 100 students, a program she directs at JMU, meaningful contact between students and Paralympians occurs, offering an avenue for raising awareness and changing attitudes toward people with disabilities.

She also provides her assistance in other programs in the community as well, such as through the Fraternity and Sorority Life Advisory Committee and through her role as a TaP (Teaching Analysis Poll) consultant for the Center for Faculty Innovation. Through the programs she serves with, she provides opportunities for a better understanding of inclusion and diversity and guidance to students.

“I like to be involved with programs and initiatives that somehow connect to and advance positive health behaviors and leadership in the health education domain,” McKay said.

McKay’s recognition as VAHPERD College/University Health Educator of the Year is not only meaningful to McKay as a professor, but to the kinesiology department at JMU as well. Kinesiology Department Head, Janet Wigglesworth, congratulates McKay on this award.

“We are thrilled that Cathy was selected for this prestigious honor,” Wigglesworth said. “This award is an outstanding recognition for the energy and enthusiasm that she brings to our program. The excellence Cathy displays in her teaching and scholarship showcases the work by the faculty in the Department of Kinesiology.”

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Published: Monday, September 17, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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