HSHPS FACULTY SPOTLIGHT
HSHPS is governed by a Board of Directors that is comprised of university faculty members who have a tremendous degree of instructional and research experience in the areas that most impact the Hispanic community and are therefore a valuable resource to HSHPS and its stakeholders. Each month we highlight outstanding faculty members who have not only worked with our organization to improve programs, but have demonstrated notable contributions to improving the health of Hispanics.
Jane E. Clark, MEd, PhD
Before assuming her role as dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Health, Jane E. Clark, M.Ed., Ph.D., previously served as chair of the school’s department of kinesiology for ten years. Dr. Clark researches the development of motor skills in young children with a special focus on those with movement difficulties. She has edited seven books, written 25 book chapters, published more than 70 peer-reviewed papers, and presented hundreds of professional papers. The National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation have funded her research. Currently, she is on the editorial board of Research in Developmental Disabilities and is the founding editor of Kinesiology Review.
What drew you to physical education and eventually kinesiology?
I wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in the world. What better to have an influence than to ‘”touch the future”’ – teaching children. I chose physical education because I wanted others to enjoy movement (sport and dance) as much as I did. I also observed that many children had coordination problems. This was an interest that lasted across my career. Eventually, I went on to do my doctoral studies in motor development.
Physical education is a professional field within kinesiology. When I graduated as an undergraduate, kinesiology did not exist, but emerged later around the 1990s. Physical education is now a part of the field of kinesiology.
How did you become interested in working with children?
I can’t remember when I wasn’t interested in with working with children. They are just so much fun to work with. They have the optimism, energy, and adaptability that make working with them such a joy!
How did you end up at the University of Maryland School of Public Health?
I came to the University of Maryland in 1981 having worked at Purdue University, University of Iowa, and the University of Pittsburgh. Maryland offered me a great job, a great university to work in, and a great state to live in, and I had the best colleagues and wonderful students. I never found a better place to live and work.
What exactly do you do in your role as Dean?
The Dean of a School of Public Health is the “head” of this academic unit. The University of Maryland has 12 academic schools and colleges. I have the responsibility for all aspects of the School from the students to the staff, from the academics to the finances.
What have you learned throughout your career that you would pass on to future health professionals?
You can make a difference. Be passionate about what you want to achieve. Stay focused and stay patient. Remain a life long learner: In everything you do, there is a lesson to be learned. And remember, you can achieve most everything you want so long as you don’t want the credit for doing it!
What do you know now that you would have liked to know as a student starting out in your career?
School is the beginning – a foundation. You will learn so much more “on the job” if you are open to learning. I never saw the journey I would follow in my career.
Where do you see yourself going from here?
Every day, every year is an adventure. Doors open, opportunities arise. So my plan is to continue to make a difference….