HAMMOND – An educator with more than 23 years of kinesiology and health studies experience, Charity Bryan, has been appointed head of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Southeastern Louisiana University.
A resident of Hammond, Bryan most recently served as the director of technology enhanced learning in the College of Continuing and Professional Education at Kennesaw State University and clinical associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education in WellStar College. Prior to her appointment at Kennesaw State University, she had two years of service at Louisiana State University and seven years of service at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her appointment was approved by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.
“Little did anyone know that Charity’s decision to come to Southeastern in the spring semester to get a jumpstart on learning about the programs, faculty and students would actually be a race to the finish line. The finish line in this case was successfully getting as many students to complete the spring semester,” said Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Ann Carruth.
Bryan’s first day at work was the Thursday after Mardi Gras. She spent the Mardi Gras break setting up her office, touring with her parents through Hammond, eating at favorite restaurants - what she thought was easing into the job, Carruth explained. The following week, the College of Nursing was well into planning mode for an inevitable conversion to remote learning using videoconferencing and online teaching strategies.
On her seventh day on the job, Bryan was the keynote speaker for the college-wide training in the Student Union Ballroom. And by day 10, the entire university was closing offices; it was day one of remote learning for faculty and students.
“Charity has handled every challenge with efficiency, grace, humor and humility. There is no one who could have walked into a position of leadership and done as much as she has in eight short weeks,” Carruth said. “She has met with every faculty member and with every program in the department to learn more about where faculty want their programs to be in the short and long term. And the majority of the 1,100 majors have been advised so they can return in the summer or fall. She has not seen her family these eight weeks for fear of not being able to get back to work.”
While at LSU, Bryan served as the inaugural director of LSU Online and as associate dean for Distance Learning and Professional Education for the College of Human Sciences and Education. She also served as associate professor professional practice and taught in the LSU School of Kinesiology. While at UL Lafayette from 2006-2013, Bryan served as assistant professor, department head, and finally as associate professor and director of the School of Kinesiology. She served as president of the UL Lafayette Faculty Senate and held the Vesta R. Bourgeois Endowed Professorship at UL Lafayette.
Bryan is known for her expertise in children’s physical activity, online learning using new and blended learning models, and professional education. She is an active scholar in the areas of physical education pedagogy, as well as distance learning, and has published 22 national peer-reviewed manuscripts, eight international presentations, 45 national presentations, over 75 state/regional presentations, and has over $249,900 in grant funding. As lead author, Bryan and her colleagues received the 2018 Best Paper Award at the national Distance Learning Administration Conference, and she recently received a $25,000 grant from Affordable Learning Georgia to support the use of open educational resources (OERs) in her sport psychology class.
Bryan received her undergraduate degree in physical education from Samford University, master’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and doctoral degree from Louisiana State University.