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Last modified: Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Legacy of Leadership

HPER Dean and Professor of Kinesiology David Gallahue retires

June 28, 2007

David Gallahue

David Gallahue

Print-Quality Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- When David Gallahue came to Indiana University Bloomington's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation as an undergraduate, and even when he returned as a professor, he didn't imagine he would one day be the school's dean.

"I never anticipated this or had this as a career goal," said Gallahue, who retires from that very position on June 30, after serving as dean for 5 years. "But it's been very gratifying in so many ways. I get a great thrill out of helping others achieve their goals."

Gallahue's tenure as dean represents one of the most successful periods in the school's 61-year history. HPER is now the third-largest academic unit at IUB, after the College of Arts and Sciences and the Kelley School of Business. From fall 2001 to fall 2006, HPER's undergraduate and graduate student enrollment increased by 49 percent to 2,135 students. During the same period, the school's total credit hours increased 21 percent to 84,711 and grants and contracts grew to $5.2 million, an increase of 61 percent.

In addition, Gallahue led efforts to highlight and enhance HPER's contributions to the life sciences, which have become a major focus at IU, and to expand the school's research and laboratory space. The school has also been recognized for diversifying its faculty.

"David Gallahue was a faculty member in the School of HPER for 32 years prior to becoming dean, so he had a complete command of the issues relating to HPER and IU," said David Skirvin, assistant dean for administration. "He led the school during an era of tremendous growth, and managing that growth was a premier focus of his administration."

Gallahue is quick to credit faculty, staff, and everyone who's worked at HPER for the school's success. As he steps away from the school that's been his academic home for 37 years, he says he is optimistic that HPER's success will continue.

"I have real confidence that HPER will ratchet it up even further than it has," Gallahue said. "It's been a genuine joy to be a part of the process."

Gallahue will be succeeded by Robert M. Goodman, who comes to IUB from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was professor and chair of the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences in the Graduate School of Public Health.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Gallahue first came to HPER as a student in the early 1960s. He and his wife, Ellie, met in Bloomington and, after graduating in 1964, moved to Fort Wayne. Gallahue began his career as an elementary school physical education teacher, but that changed shortly after his boss gave him a copy of The Slow Learner in the Classroom, written by Purdue University professor Newell Kephart.

"Kephart talks about the importance of physical activity as an avenue for helping children develop their perceptual motor skills—body awareness, spatial awareness, directional awareness—and how that has an impact on learning in the classroom," Gallahue said. "I read that and thought, 'This is really intriguing.'"

After earning master's and doctorate degrees at Purdue and Temple University, Gallahue returned to IU in 1970 as an assistant professor, eventually becoming an expert in motor development and movement skill learning of children and youth, particularly in physical activity and sports settings

Early in his career, Gallahue pioneered HPER's classes in motor development. He wrote a bestselling textbook that's now in its sixth edition, Understanding Motor Development: Infants, Children, Adolescents, Adults. The other textbook he co-wrote, Developmental Physical Education for All Children, is in its fourth edition. His textbooks and other work have been translated into languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Gallahue has spoken or taught at more than 300 universities and conferences in more than 20 countries. He's consulted for the National Institute for Fitness and Sport, several school districts, and two governing bodies of the U.S. Olympic Committee: USA Gymnastics and USA Skiing. His leadership roles have included terms as president of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and chair of the Council on Physical Education for Children. Within HPER, he has served as assistant dean for research and development and associate dean for academic affairs and research.

An avid outdoorsman, Gallahue has gone on hikes, climbs, and ski trips all over the world. He survived a storm on Denali (also known as Mount McKinley) that killed 10 climbers. In 2001, he led the Great Wall Walk, an event that brought together about 70 participants from HPER and Beijing Sport University to hike several wild sections of the Great Wall of China.

"My goal is to climb as many of the 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado as my body will allow," he says. He already has climbed 13 -- and has 43 to go.