Ward retires after more than two decades of service
to the Department of Kinesiology
Ann Ward, who spent more than two decades teaching, advising and overseeing a range of programs within the Department of Kinesiology, retired over the summer.
“I started to realize that there were a lot of things I was having to say no to, in terms of projects I enjoy outside of work,” says Ward. “I help coordinate a food pantry garden and want to do more golfing, biking, running and those sorts of things. It was time.”
The number of ways in which Ward’s work touched students, faculty and staff across the department was truly remarkable.
A sampling of Ward’s contributions include:
• Providing leadership for three Department of Kinesiology undergraduate majors — Physical Education Teacher Education, Exercise and Movement Science, and Athletic Training. In this role, Ward developed curriculum and revamped the undergraduate majors to better serve students, oversaw applications for admission, and put in place a tracking system to ensure that students graduated on time.
• Overseeing undergraduate advising for students across the department. In addition to managing four advisors, Ward provided academic and career advice for approximately 100 students each semester.
• Coordinating field experiences for student practicums and guiding the expansion of these invaluable experiences. Practicum placements for students within the department exploded from about three per semester to 50 per semester during her tenure.
• Teaching nine different graduate and undergraduate classes during her time on campus, in addition to developing three advanced undergraduate/graduate courses.
“Ann was deeply committed to, and involved with, this department in so many important ways,” says Professor Dorothy Farrar-Edwards, chair of the Department of Kinesiology. “She has really been the advocate and the moving force behind all of our curriculum updates over the years, making sure that what we’re teaching is the best, most important information. She was very much in tune with the needs and concerns of our students, and really represented the strength of our undergraduate programs with her across-the-board dedication to the Department of Kinesiology.”
Ward earned her Ph.D. from UW– Madison in 1984 in biodynamics and exercise physiology before spending a year conducting post-doctoral work with the University of Wisconsin Medical School. After spending seven years at the University of Massachusetts’ Medical School in Worcester and another year at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Ward returned to UW–Madison for good during the 1992–93 academic year as a visiting associate professor with the Department of Kinesiology.
Over the years Ward took on increasing responsibilities, being named undergraduate program coordinator in 1998 and being promoted to faculty associate in 2007.
What most students and even some faculty and staff may not realize is the range of extensive and influential research work that Ward conducted over the years.
Ward, who is recognized nationally as an expert in exercise testing and training, and the role of physical activity in improving health, conducted numerous clinical trials evaluating the effects of exercise on weight loss, hypertension, heart disease and breast cancer. She authored 90 research publications, 12 book chapters and four books and booklets. Much of her research provided the foundation for the American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. She not only developed one of the most widely used methods for estimating percentage body fat, but also developed two of the most widely used tests for assessing aerobic fitness.
“I really enjoyed conducting research,” says Ward. “But I was ready for a change when I came here and I never looked back.”
When asked what she’ll miss most about working in the Department of Kinesiology, Ward says, “The students. They have so much energy and are so enthusiastic and really looking forward to their careers. We truly have great students here, and I’ll definitely miss them.”