Professor, Physical Education Pedagogy
Dr. Kim Oliver is a Professor of Physical Education Teacher Education in the Department of Kinesiology & Dance at New Mexico State University where she directs the Physical Education Teacher Education concentration. Dr. Oliver holds a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Administration from California State University, Chico; a Master’s degree in Physical Education from California State University, Fresno; and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Tech. Previously she held faculty positions at the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama. In 2018, Dr. Oliver received the American Educational Research Association Research on Institution in Physical Education Distinguished Scholar Award.
Dr. Oliver has published widely in the field of physical education and education in general. Her published books include Bodily Knowledge: Learning about Equity and Justice with Adolescent Girls, co-authored with Rosary Lalik, and Girls, Gender and Physical Education: An Activist Approach, co-authored with David Kirk. Dr. Oliver’s work is found in journals such as Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, Teachers College Record, Journal of Curriculum Studies, and others (see Selected Publications). She has been principal investigator for a 3-year $1 million grant, The Las Cruces Health and Physical Activity Initiative, through the Department of Education, as well as a grant from Paso del Norte Health Foundation, Youth on the Move. Dr. Oliver chaired the American Educational Research Association Special Interest Group on Research on Learning and Instruction in Physical Education from 2007-2010. She also served as the Pedagogy Associate Editor for six years for Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport and is currently an Associate Editor for Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy.
Dr. Oliver’s line of research stems from developing and studying curricular topics and instructional strategies for teaching aspects of health-related physical education to adolescent girls. Working in the traditions of feminist, critical, and activist research and pedagogies, her interest is in learning how teachers can assist girls in exploring, critiquing, and transforming personal and cultural barriers that hinder their well being. Specifically her research focuses on helping adolescent girls learn to explore, critique, and transform personal and cultural barriers that limit their health and physical activity opportunities.
Dr. Oliver has also developed an activist approach to teaching physical education (Oliver & Kirk, 2015) and has shared this approach in Scotland, Norway, across the United States, and in her own courses. An activist approach to teaching integrates student-centered pedagogy, inquiry-based learning centered in action, a commitment to students’ embodiment, and listening and responding to students over time. This approach helps students identify barriers to their interests, motivation, and learning in physical activity or physical education and works collaboratively with the students to negotiate the barriers they identify in order to increase their physical activity engagement.
In recent years in Dr. Oliver’s pedagogy lab, she has worked collaboratively producing activist research with colleagues and graduate students in various contexts connected to PE classrooms, after school clubs, and community based physical activity programs both stateside and abroad. This research team has produced research investigating the use of an activist approach in physical education teacher education courses, middle school and high school physical education settings, after school sports and dance programs, and socially vulnerable population settings.
If you are considering graduate work (doctoral only) at New Mexico State University and are interested in studying with me as your major advisor, you should carefully read several of our manuscripts to determine if you are interested in an activist approach to teaching activity and/or student-centered teacher education in physical education. If either of these two areas interests you, please send me your vita/resume and a statement of interest.