Professor of Kinesiology
View Jewel’s profile
What drew you to want to teach at GC?
I was teaching in an exercise science department at a Christian liberal arts college in North Carolina when the opportunity to teach at Goshen College emerged. The GC core values resonated and still resonate with me, closely matching my own professional and personal values. I wasn’t unhappy in North Carolina, but when I came to Goshen College to visit, I realized the professors here are very student-centered and dedicated to the mission and core values as well as teaching and learning. I wanted to work with people who strive for excellence, so I accepted the offer.
What do you love most about teaching GC students?
I love the energy and excitement students bring to the subject matter in our “classrooms” inside and out. Observing and participating in their knowledge growth, skill development and maturity in attitude is rewarding and fun for me! Learning is hard work and often requires struggle with challenging material. I appreciate the willingness of GC students to get into that work and stay with it. I also love seeing students I have in class (now or previously), participate in other activities including athletics, concerts, plays, intramurals, student leadership, work study and other activities.
What excites you about kinesiology?
Studying physical activity, exercise and sport is exciting because we are learning more and more about the body, how it works, how to move efficiently and effectively, and how to stay healthy. It is a vibrant and growing discipline, with research-based knowledge greatly impacting the quality and length of human life on earth.
Kinesiology is inherently interdisciplinary in that we study every aspect of human movement: the biology, psychology, sociology, history, mechanics, philosophy, spirituality, art, rhythm, business and other aspects related to the experience of physical activity, exercise and sport. Movement is also naturally an integrated endeavor as it engages and is necessary for the mind, body and soul. I feel deeply privileged to be able to work in the field that has had and continues to have such a great personal impact in my life.
What do you enjoy doing outside of your academic work?
I am never bored. I like running, hiking, cycling, lifting weights and personal training (helping others reach physical goals). I enjoy working with wood: building furniture and other items in my small shop. I enjoy traveling – Hawaii, the Virgin Islands and Switzerland are three of the most amazing places I’ve been. I hope to travel to Greece, New Zealand, Spain, England, Nepal and visit new places in the U.S. Additionally, I relish Thai, Indian and East African food and other cuisine, and I especially love socializing with my friends and family.
How does the college’s vision (international, intercultural, interdisciplinary and integrative) connect or shape your teaching and work?
The kinesiology discipline is interdisciplinary and integrative as I described above. We look at physical activity, exercise and sport from many different perspectives which are informed by other disciplines around us. Our discipline is innately interdisciplinary and integrative.
Additionally, sport and exercise are powerful elements in the human experience and this can bring people together from all over the globe. Amazing examples of this are the Olympic, Special Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is powerful to see people reaching toward the limits of the human spirit and to witness the camaraderie and friendship of athletes from different countries. I am blessed to have students from all different countries and cultures in my classes, creating a wonderful space for us to widen our view of the world. Just a few ways students from other countries and cultures have affected my classes include:
- Incorporating exercises that originated in other countries and cultures – yoga, tai chi, capoeira, free running and others.
- Sharing new games and sports such as dragon tag, rugby, cricket, pickle ball, pole soccer, foot tennis, wheelchair tennis and goal ball to name a few.
- Learning about food and meals common in other countries in our discussions of nutritional eating habits.
How do you strive to make peace through your work and life?
For me personally, making peace is about balancing the demands in my life with times of fun and reflection. When one area gets out of balance, this inhibits my patience and ability to listen and understand others. I have a deep desire to maintain harmony, which can be positive but can also prevent me from speaking out when I should. It has been important to learn that times of discord are not entirely negative because when handled properly, they can lead to accountability, resolution and reconciliation. I have not fully realized the person I want to be in this regard, but “sitting with” or “staying in the midst of” disagreement or friction is worth practicing.
Is there anything else you would like prospective students to know about you?
Even though I am busy at times, the reason I work in higher education is to learn with college students. Come and talk to me if you have questions or are experiencing problems. I have time to listen and will do what I can to help or encourage you.