KCH Student Wins Sudman Award

Ben Kern with greenery behind himBen Kern, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, is the recipient of the 2016 Seymour Sudman Dissertation Award from the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Kern’s dissertation titled, “Barriers to and Facilitators of Physical Education Teacher Change,” seeks to fill a gap in knowledge about how to facilitate pedagogical changes that are necessary to optimize physical education in K-12 education and to maximize its lifelong benefits.

According to Kern’s abstract, quality physical education is instrumental in preparing children to be physically active throughout their lives. Many current physical education programs lack the type of instruction needed to fulfill potential health benefits. Research has shown that targeted changes to programs can increase student learning, physical activity levels, and enjoyment of physical activity. However, little is known about how to facilitate necessary pedagogical changes. To better understand the change process, Kern is studying the behaviors of physical education teachers related to changes they have made and intend to make, along with factors that affect their ability to make changes. Among his research methods is a quantitative survey of more than 2,000 physical education teachers from six multi-state regions in the United States. From this initial pool, 30 teachers will be selected for follow-up interviews for a deeper investigation of barriers to and facilitators of pedagogical change. Kern expects his results will begin to fill a large void in physical education research and potentially have a significant impact on the field.

Seymour Sudman (1928–2000) was an eminent scholar in the field of survey research. It is in memory of his contributions both to the field and to their students that these awards have been endowed. As such, Kern’s award includes a generous monetary incentive.

Congratulations, Ben, on this outstanding honor!