Kinesiology – Innovation Grant

Creating a (K)Inclusive Culture

Faculty Lead: DeAnne Brooks

In the Spring of 2023, the Department of Kinesiology began hosting weekly events for their students. With funds provided through an Innovation Grant, the department has been able to bring on part-time student workers, including graduate students who plan and coordinate events. These have ranged from structured gatherings with invited guest speakers to informal open-play activities using the department’s sports equipment in the gym.

Through providing frequent opportunities to gather, the Department of Kinesiology hopes to foster a strong sense of community amongst students and between their students and faculty. Professors are aware that though many students would like to find ways to connect with their peers and make friends, it can be difficult to make those connections especially for students who are shy. These coordinated events are aimed at creating a low-pressure environment where all students feel welcome, which invites them to get to know one another.

Surveys conducted with students, and faculty observations, show that this has been extremely successful. It has become noticeable that more students know one another and encourage each other to attend events and spend time together outside of class. Some students who are less apt to speak in class have become more open as a result of the sense of peer support created by developing an inter-departmental social network. Perhaps most visibly, students have begun to frequent the Kinesiology lounge space and can be seen hanging out and doing homework together before and after their classes. Dr. Brooks, who has overseen the development of this program, says that having students in the building makes it feel like the department has a “home.” Students say that these events have been very positive, and they would like them to continue.

The Kinesiology Department is dedicated to maintaining and growing the social network which these events have allowed them to build. They hope to continue to host events for the foreseeable future, as funding allows, and would ideally like to dedicate more staff hours to planning and coordination. Another way in which they plan to support the development of this project is by partnering with the Kinesiology Club, whose leadership will be given the opportunity to plan future events.  The success of the Department of Kinesiology’s programming shows that UNCG students are eager to connect with one another and that building a positive social network can create a stronger sense of community and a supportive culture within a department.

Want to Learn More?
Visit the Department of Kinesiology’s website or contact DeAnne Brooks (