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National group bestows Emerging Educator Award on UTA faculty member

Thursday, August 16, 2018 • Media Contact: Herb Booth

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A University of Texas at Arlington kinesiology faculty member has received the national Emerging Educator Award from the National Athletic Trainers Association.

Laurie Kunkel

Laurie Kunkel teaching in her lab.

Laura Kunkel, an associate clinical professor of kinesiology and certified athletic trainer who joined the UTA faculty in fall 2017, was the sole recipient of the coveted award, which was presented late June at the organization’s national conference in New Orleans.

The award honors an up-and-coming athletic training educator with a track record of excellence in teaching as well as delivering and promoting athletic training education in various forms at the local and regional levels, according to NATA’s website.

The Carrollton-based National Athletic Trainers’ Association is the professional membership association for certified athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession. The 68-year-old organization has more than 45,000 members around the world.

Kunkel, who was nominated for the award in 2017, said news of the honor took her by surprise.

“It really wasn’t even on my radar,” Kunkel said. “I didn’t even know I was being considered.”

Laurie Kunkel

Laurie Kunkel is pictured with her Emerging Educator Award from the National Athletic Trainers Association.

“Laura is a wonderful addition to our growing roster of talented faculty,” said David Keller, associate dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and chair of the Department of Kinesiology. “She is a rare academic who excels at teaching, scholarship and service. This Emerging Educator Award confirms that. It is a tribute to her work this past decade. It also gives her peers a strong hint of what to expect from her in the coming years.”

Kunkel said her strategy for working with students is to set expectations high and then help them achieve.

“I always tell them the bar is set very high but I will be your biggest cheerleader,” she said.

Kunkel, who holds a doctorate in curriculum instruction, came to UTA from Texas Wesleyan University, where she was on the faculty for eight years and won two major teaching awards, including the president’s Engaging Educator Award.

Her academic interests include athletic trainer education and clinical education in athletic training.

Selection criteria for the Emerging Educator Award include a minimum of three years’ experience as an athletic training faculty member and a maximum of 10 years on the faculty; university work or service that includes committee involvement, capstone/thesis advising, developing and teaching courses and serving as a program director or clinical education coordinator; evidence related to the scholarship of teaching and learning, including publications, platform and poster presentations and workshops.

Other criteria include at least six years of contributions to athletic training education beyond the classroom; and evidence of quality teaching, including teaching awards, student awards and peer observation of teaching.

-- written by Lekan Oguntoyinbo