STEPHENVILLE — Kayla Peak, EdD, has been named Dean of Tarleton State University’s School of Kinesiology, effective June 15, pending approval by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
The nationally recognized school will join the School of Nursing and the inaugural School of Health and Service Professions later this summer to make the realigned College of Health Sciences and Human Services — to be called the College of Health Sciences.
In its special session last fall, the 87th Legislature approved $25 million to expand Tarleton’s Fort Worth campus and $65 million to construct and outfit a new College of Health Sciences building in Stephenville. A $2 million appropriation last spring will develop new physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician assistant programs.
Dr. Peak joined the Tarleton faculty in 2006, working her way up to Associate Dean of the School of Kinesiology (currently part of the College of Education and Human Development) and her current role as Interim Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services.
“Dr. Peak is innovative and energetic and exactly why the School of Kinesiology is one of the best in the country,” said Dr. Diane Stearns, university Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. “As Associate Dean she helped coordinate new program offerings and created the first study abroad for kinesiology students — just two examples of her strengths as an administrator.”
Tarleton’s kinesiology program last fall celebrated 100 years of preparing students for occupations in such fields as sports management and recreation and careers as physicians and chiropractors.
In 1905, while the university was a two-year college, students already were enrolled in physical training classes. In 1921 those classes officially became the Department of Physical Training, which graduated its first student in 1923. The name changed through the years to become the School of Kinesiology in 2018.
“A school, a university, is only as good as its people,” Dr. Peak said, “and I couldn’t ask for better colleagues. We have achieved great things. Together, we will do more.”
Dr. Peak earned her EdD (college teaching of health, physical education and recreation) from Texas A&M University-Commerce and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in physical education from Tarleton.
The Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance named her College Administrator of the Year in 2017 and University Physical Educator of the Year in 2012. She is a three-time recipient of The Texas A&M University System Excellence in Teaching Award, and she earned Tarleton’s Jack and Louise Arthur Award, recognizing classroom excellence, in 2011.