Distinguished Lecture Series at the SHAPE America National Convention & Expo

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport Lecture

Established in 2006, the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport Lecture provides for in-depth coverage of a research topic and an opportunity to give formal peer recognition to persons who have made outstanding contributions to the research represented in the sections of the RQES.

RQES Lecture: Childhood Physical Activity Effects on Brain, Cognition, and Achievement


There is a growing public health burden of unhealthy behaviors (e.g., physical inactivity, excessive energy intake) among children of industrialized nations. Children have become increasingly inactive, leading to concomitant increases in the prevalence of being overweight and unfit. Poor physical activity behaviors during childhood often track throughout life and have implications for the prevalence of several chronic diseases during adulthood. Particularly troubling is the absence of public health concern for the effect of physical inactivity on cognitive and brain health. It is curious that this has not emerged as a larger societal issue, given its clear relation to childhood obesity and other health disorders that have captured public attention. This research program has investigated the relation of health behaviors (e.g., physical activity, exercise) and their physiological correlates (e.g., aerobic fitness, adiposity) to cognitive and brain health in preadolescent children. The techniques of investigation involve a combination of neuroimaging, behavioral assessments, and scholastic outcomes in an effort to translate basic laboratory findings into everyday life. Central to this translational approach is the identification of etiological substrates of brain regions and networks that are amenable to health behaviors. As such, the overarching goal of this research program is to determine factors that improve cognition, maximize brain health, and promote the effective functioning of individuals as they progress through the lifespan. Findings from these studies have indicated that greater aerobic fitness and healthy body weight are positively related to brain structure and function, cognition, and scholastic achievement. Such discoveries are timely and important for public health concerns related to chronic disease prevention as a function of childhood inactivity and obesity. These findings link pervasive societal concerns with brain health and cognition, and have implications for the educational environment and the context of learning.

The RQES Lecture is sponsored by Taylor & Francis Group.

Charles Hillman is a Professor at Northeastern University in Boston, where he holds appointments in the Department of Psychology and the Department of Physical Therapy, Movement, & Rehabilitation Sciences. He is the Associate Director in the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health, and has published more than 225 journal articles and 13 book chapters. He served the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for American’s Scientific Advisory Committee. His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for the past 17 years, and has been featured in the media including: CNN, National Public Radio, Newsweek, and the New York Times.

SHAPE America Scholar

The SHAPE America Scholar Award is presented in recognition of research/creative activities which enrich the depth and scope of health, leisure, sport, dance and related activities.

Got Physical Education? This is your Brain on Fitness


The clinical trial Fitness Improves Thinking (FITKIDS) was intended to increase the physical fitness of children through participation in developmentally appropriate physical activity to determine the effects on cognitive and brain health. Ten years later, I discuss what an evidenced-based initiative taught us about program effectiveness and the mechanisms facilitating cognitive health. We can reduce the health risk experienced by children through physical activity participation, but comprehensive models are needed if our program effects are to demonstrate reach and sustainability. Recommendations about changing the DNA and gene expression of physical education and teacher education programs will be discussed. Models of systems for moving forward will be shared.

Darla M. Castelli, PhD, is a full professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She has been working with school-aged youth in physical activity settings for 30 years, leading several physical activity interventions in schools (e.g., FITKIDS I & II). As a fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology and SHAPE America, her research focuses on the effects of physical activity on cognitive and brain health in children, which has been funded by the NIH, RWJF, and the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Castelli is the chair-elect of the Whole Communities Whole Health a 10-year funded research project examining the determinants of children’s health. She has authored 100 peer-reviewed publications, 2 books, 10 book chapters, and has conducted more than 150 scholarly presentations. Recently she received the 2020 Catherine Ennis, AERA Scholar Award, 2020 SHAPE America Scholar Award, and 2020 SHAPE America Curriculum and Instruction Award.

Raymond A Weiss Lecture

The purpose of the Raymond A. Weiss Lecture is to support a scholarly presentation by an individual in the arts and sciences who is an outstanding leader and who has made an important contribution to his or her field, and who has ties to one or more of the fields of HPERD.

A Personal and Collaborative Journey through Teacher Education and Socialization: Past, Present, and Future Research


Teacher socialization is a complex dialectical process that is dual directional in nature. Beginning early in life and continuing throughout one’s career, individual teachers play a large role in determining which professional beliefs they will adopt and which they will ignore. Comprised of three primary stages (pretraining, professional socialization, and organizational socialization), teachers’ beliefs and practices are influenced by both personal experiences and socializing agents. The purpose of this presentation is to describe my academic journey investigating different aspects of teacher socialization, including the bumps and turns along the way. In particular, I will discuss how my research line evolved and will focus on preservice teachers, the influence of teacher education, and the direction other researchers interested in teacher education and socialization may wish to take. It will become clear that my personal journey was enhanced by the socializing agents I encountered, and through their association, led me to believe that successful careers are rarely built in isolation but on the shoulders of or in collaboration with others.

Dr. Kim C. Graber is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health and Director of the Campus Honors Program at the University of Illinois. Her research interests include teacher socialization, children’s wellness, and legislative policy mandates. She has over 100 publications and has presented at numerous national and international conferences. She is a Fellow in the National Academy of Kinesiology and SHAPE America. Dr. Graber is a former President of the Research Council and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. She also served as Chair of the Curriculum and Instruction Academy. She is a University of Illinois Distinguished Teacher/Scholar.

C. H. McCloy Research Lecture and Breakfast

The C. H. McCloy Memorial Lecture provides for in-depth coverage of a research topic and an opportunity to give formal peer recognition to persons who have made outstanding contributions to HPERD through their research efforts. The lecture also provides a form of continuing recognition for Charles H. McCloy, one of the great pioneer scientists and leaders of the profession. The C. H. McCloy Research Lecture was inaugurated at the 1980 National Convention and Exposition.

"You’re Not in Kansas Anymore” by Charles H. McCloy


Kinesiology has evolved in ways that were unimaginable at the start of the twentieth century as the physical education profession emerged as a school subject. While McCloy was supportive of other areas such as social development, the importance of physical development was his primary focus, and he was a primary driver behind physical education’s rise to prominence. Together with his colleagues, McCloy brought upon the field an unheard-of level of passion and expertise in what is now referred to as test and measurement and fitness assessment and published until his death in 1959 at age 82. He saw the importance as well of building a strong professional focus in the support for those delivering the subject in schools. Since his passing, the field of physical education has, as in society at large, seen its share of “diversification.” In this presentation I offer what I believe would be McCloy’s impressions of and reactions to several of the trends and issues playing out in the field at this juncture.

The McCloy Lecture is sponsored by Taylor & Francis Group

Hans van der Mars (Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 1984) serves as Program Coordinator for Arizona State University’s Physical Education Teacher Education Program, and its Master’s of Physical Education (M.P.E.) program. He has (co-) authored over 100 refereed research and professional papers, and 28 books/book chapters. He serves on SHAPE America’s Board of Directors, the Editorial Board of Research Quarterly for Exercise & Sport (RQES), and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sport & Nutrition Science Board. Dr. van der Mars is a Fellow in the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK), SHAPE America, the North American Society of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport, and Dance Professionals, and the International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education. He has received several honors and awards from SHAPE America, NASPE, and NAKHE.