History Report of the Doctoral Program Evaluation
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History Report of the Doctoral Program Evaluation

The initial impetus for the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education (AAKPE*) to evaluate doctoral programs came in 1995 from then AAKPE President Robert Singer. He formed a committee Doctoral Program Evaluating Committee (DPEC) chaired by Mike Wade. Their brief was to determine the nature and scope of a doctoral program evaluation. In 1996 the AAKPE Executive, led by President Rainer Martens, charged the DPEC, chaired by T. Gilmour Reeve, with developing criteria and process for a doctoral review.

In 1997 AAKPE President Jack Wilmore expanded the DPEC to nine members to reflect the diversity of the academic disciplines. T. Gilmour Reeve continued to chair this committee. The DPEC identified doctoral programs, quality indicators and program profiles, and an implementation plan. At the 1998 AAKPE Conference the DPEC presented its report, and the AAKPE approved the initiation of a pilot program to evaluate doctoral programs in kinesiology.

At the 1999 AAKPE Conference the DPEC presented results from the pilot study. Twenty nine programs expressed an interest in participating in the study, with 20 programs eventually participating. At the AAKPE Business Meeting members supported the continued involvement of the Academy in evaluation of doctoral programs. The DPEC, with new chair Deborah Feltz, was charged to (a) decide on the final indicators to be used in the final form of the survey, (b) design the final form of the survey for presentation at the 2000 conference, (c) develop a list of potential participating program, (d) decide on how the data would be used (i.e., result in rankings, result in tiers, be just descriptive, use weightings of indicators, etc.), and (e) review comments from respondents.

The pilot study results were presented at the 2000 AAKPE meeting, this led to a discussion of what items to retain, delete, or add to the survey. The discussion included whether to consider impact factors, ISI criteria, journal reputations, differentiation of types of external funding, and whether different procedures and criteria used by other agencies should be used. The final criteria and survey were accepted and approval was given by AAKPE, led by President Gary Krahenbuhl, to go ahead with data collection on a national scale.

In 2001 the DPEC initiated the first National doctoral evaluation of kinesiology programs. The outcome of the evaluation were to remain anonymous, pending a vote from the AAKPE to permit public release of a programs results with program approval. Twenty six programs participated, with 55 invitation letters sent. The results were released by AAKPE President and DPEC chair Deborah Feltz to the 26 participating programs. Eventually 22 of the participating programs had their results released publically.

In December 2001 the Executive Committee of the AAKPE recommended a change in the bylaws to make the DPEC a standing committee of the Academy and to conduct the next doctoral program evaluation in 2005. The Executive Committee also voted to require that invited institutions agree to have their data made public as a condition of their participation. At the 2002 AAKPE Conference at the business meeting, the membership approved: (a) that survey results will be publically available, (b) the review will be conducted on a 5-year cycle, (c) that a presidential committee explore the use of a single ranking with the current data, and (d) to make the doctoral program evaluation committee (DPEC) a standing committee. AAKPE President Richard Magill appointed Jerry Thomas to chair the DPEC.

Each DPEC has reviewed the collected data, scholarship, and feedback from the NAK fellows and executive committee to revise the evaluation program. Click here for the latest DPE report published in Kinesiology Review (Challis, 2021). To date, the NAK evaluation of doctoral programs has occurred four times with participation reported in this table.

Table: Summary statistics of Past Doctoral Program Evaluations.

Review Published Review Period Number of Programs Participating
2005 2000-2004 32
2010 2005-2009 36
2015 2010-2014 52
2020 2015-2019 43

In 2021 the DPE proposed small adjustments to the DPE for the next survey. First, the period of review would be reduced to the last three calendar years. Second, besides the traditional ranking and reporting of standardized results, descriptive statistics of all raw data collected will be shared with participating programs for their own benchmarking and evaluation purposes. Both ranking and informational descriptive data may be used only by NAK and participating doctoral programs. Third, the criteria and their weighting used to create the DPE rankings (adjusted for faculty size and unadjusted for faculty size) were slightly adjusted for a more holistic (inclusive of diverse kinesiology subdisciplines) and comprehensive assessment consistent with scholarship on program and research quality. The specific weightings are listed in the Frequently Asked Questions.

*In 2010 the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education (AAKPE) voted to change the organization’s name to the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK).