Dr. Tara Tietjen-Smith named NAKHE Fellow

Dr. Tara Tietjen-Smith, head of the Department of Health and Human Performance and professor of health and kinesiology at Northwestern State University, has been named a Fellow of the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education. Tietjen-Smith received the honor at the association’s recent annual meeting in Phoenix. She is one of only 49 individuals in the field to receive the honor.

A NAKHE Fellow is one of the acknowledged leaders in the field of kinesiology who has the added distinction of providing outstanding service to NAKHE through a variety of contributions. Selections for new Fellows are made by a committee composed of current NAKHE Fellows. All nominations recommended by the NAKHE Fellows Committee are approved by the NAKHE Board of Directors.

Those selected must have made significant contributions to NAKHE, including but not limited to sustained and active membership of 10 years or more, leadership on NAKHE committees, editing NAKHE publications, holding senior NAKHE leadership positions (secretary, vice president, president or other posts) or other significant contributions. Fellows should have made significant contributions to the field, including but not limited to scholarly productivity, leadership in the field of kinesiology or one’s home institution or other contributions listed in the nomination and award process and earned the academic rank of associate or full professor.

Tietjen-Smith is the outgoing president of the NAKHE and has served the organization in a number of capacities in recent years, including vice president, national conference chair and co-chair and co-creator of the Department Head Certification Program. Tietjen-Smith delivered the 54th annual Amy Morris Homans Lecture at the 2020 National Association of Kinesiology in Higher Education (NAKHE) conference in Palm Springs, California. This invited lecture is one of the highest honors accorded to a professional in the field of kinesiology.

Tietjen-Smith joined Northwestern State’s faculty last August after serving as a full professor and head of the Department Health and Human Performance in the School of Nursing & Health Sciences at Texas A&M University at Commerce for six years. She was co-founder of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, which included securing funding for and participation in planning of a $54 million building for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences which opened in January 2020, and the Academy for Health Potential, an entrepreneurial non-profit working in the East Texas community. Tietjen-Smith also served as a member of the Planning Council, Healthy Hunt County, for Hunt Regional Medical Center, chair of the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and president of the Council of Academic Department Heads.

Tietjen-Smith is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES). She earned a Doctor of Arts in Health and Physical Education from Middle Tennessee State University as well as a Master of Arts in Health Promotion and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Northwestern State University.