Alumni and Friends

Alumni and Friends

Greetings from the Department Head

Dr. Barry Braun

The Department of Health and Exercise Science is in great shape; with much of that success built on a strong foundation attributable to great faculty and staff and far-sighted leadership by former department head, the late Dr. Gay Israel. The “message from the department head” would typically be to trumpet our many recent accomplishments; making sure I express the appropriate humility in maintaining that all these great things happened with very little input from me.

And it’s true, terrific things are happening; we are teaching almost 1,000 students/week in our new teaching facility, we have completed an exciting restructure of the entire undergraduate curriculum to make it serve the needs of our students for the next 10 years, we’ve had some big successes in obtaining research grants, our faculty and graduate students are winning awards for teaching, research and outreach, new faculty and staff hires are enhancing our ability to provide transformative teaching and groundbreaking research.

And it’s also true that much of that success does not directly result from any magical formula I sprinkled into the water coolers (I’m working on that).

But that’s not what I want to talk about. The lifeblood of this department is not “stuff” but the core belief that people matter more than programs or curriculum or grants or classrooms or awards. Our undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni and “friends of the department” are the fibers that bind us together and the way we treat each other determines our success. Anyone who spends time here invariably remarks that we seem like a family, and that is absolutely true. Meaning we celebrate each other triumphs but call each other out when we aren’t pulling our weight. We set very high standards for ourselves and each other but we are the first to offer a helping hand or kind word if that is what’s needed. At a time when some college campuses are being divided by a failure to communicate and to disagree in a respectful and constructive way, we are not. We are headed relentlessly upward and forward; but frequently looking back to make sure nobody gets left behind.

I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback. Please contact me by phone: (970) 491-7875 or e-mail:

Barry Braun