Professor wins Mabel Lee Award for performance in research, leadership

Professor wins Mabel Lee Award for performance in research, leadership

February 04
22:05 2013

Daniel Bissell / Staff Writer

Dr. Tao Zhang, assistant professor of kinesiology, health promotion and recreation in the College of Education, received the Mabel Lee Award from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD).

Zhang will accept the award Apr. 25 in Charlotte, N.C., at the 2013 AAHPERD National Convention.

“It is a big and real honor,” Zhang said. “I was excited to know I won this award. It encouraged me to work harder to get a better performance in the near future in the field.”

According to AAHPERD, the Mabel Lee Award provides the means through which the Alliance recognizes its younger members who have demonstrated outstanding potential in scholarship, teaching, and professional leadership.

Zhang said he will receive an undisclosed amount of cash and national recognition for the award. He was nominated for the award by two professors in his field, he said. The decision was based on his past performances in research, teaching and professional leadership, he said.

“To create a student-centered learning environment in which students value and achieve success, I have regularly utilized a variety of different learning strategies and tools to facilitate students’ learning,” Zhang said. “I incorporated mini-teachings, class observations, and service learning projects into my classes through collaborating with local community agencies to provide students with hands-on experiences.”

Dr. Jerry Thomas, dean of the College of Education, said the college was proud of Zhang’s accomplishments.

He said Zhang’s efforts and recognition will benefit the field in which he works.

“Dr. Zhang receiving this points to his national visibility and leadership as a scholar in Kinesiology and Physical Education Teacher Education,” Thomas said. “He has published extensively and given a number of papers at national meetings that resulted in this award. Certainly it raises the visibility of KHPR [Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation] nationally.”

Since he began working for the university in 2009, Zhang said he has authored or coauthored 29 peer-reviewed articles – 13 in American and 17 in Chinese publications – to date.

He said he has also received 9 research-related grants and delivered over 60 presentations at international, national and state conferences in the U.S. and China.

Under his mentoring, two graduate students won graduate student research awards of Texas Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) in 2010 and 2011, respectively, he said.

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