Timothy Davis, assistant professor of physical education at SUNY Cortland, has been named the 2010 Outstanding Professional Award recipient by the Adapted Physical Activity Council (APAC) of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD).
A nationally respected SUNY Cortland faculty member since joining the College in 1998, Davis will be recognized on Thursday, March 18, during the AAHPERD convention in Indianapolis, Ind.
“He embodies the concept of a truly selfless, compassionate professional, always taking the time to help others,” noted University of Florida Professor Christine Stopka, in her nomination of Davis for the honor.
“In fact, his mission has been to improve the quality of physical education services for children with disabilities through the development and promotion of highly qualified adapted physical education teachers, one teacher at a time. He believes strongly that empowering individual teachers can have a profound effect on the quality of lives of children with disabilities.”
The APAC award recognizes an exceptional member who not only has provided leadership to the organization and who has contributed to scholarly publications in the field of adapted physical education, but also someone who has “made a significant mark on the lives of others through teaching, athletics, entertainments, serving in public office, or in some other way enhancing the positive image of people with disabilities in society.”
Davis, who presided over APAC from 2000-02, has been a role model and an indefatigable adapted physical education leader in both service and scholarship for years, noted Stopka.
The chair of the Adapted Physical Education National Standards (APENS) Project for the past eight years, Davis is the anonymous “expert” behind the organization’s PE Central “Ask the Expert” online service.
“Dr. Davis receives 15-20 e-mails and messages a week asking for information ranging from disability to state licensure and beyond,” explained Stopka, adding that he answers those requests “in a meaningful and personal manner” and “without receiving credit whatsoever for his time and effort.”
He has promoted APENS through a Web site, online links and enhanced visibility at AAHPERD regional and national conferences, she noted.
“More recently, he was interviewed for an article in Education Weekly, where he was asked to speak on behalf of the field of adapted physical education and national standards,” Stopka explained.
"Dr. Davis’ scholarly activity speaks to his passion in the field,” she continued. “He has been represented in all of the leading physical education journals. His list of international and national presentations is formidable. Dr. Davis exemplifies the professional who ‘talks the talk and walks the walk.’ He connects with practicing physical educators through his writing as well as through his presentation. He has a national reputation as being a ‘go-to’ person for answers that require practical application.”
Stopka said that Davis has been instrumental in the three-year expansion of the national mentoring program, “I Can Do It! You Can Do It!” for youth with disabilities developed by the Office on Disability in the Department of Health and Human Services. He is one of nine national directors promoting the mentorship of children with disabilities to increase physical activity and nutrition. He is targeting his upcoming research on addressing perceptions of physical education teaching majors with disabilities, an underrepresented area in literature for many years, said Stopka.
She singled out his commitment to the local community as director of the Cortland Homer Afterschool Mentorship Program (CHAMP), a five-days-a-week, state-approved, afterschool daycare program. In addition, Tim has developed many service learning opportunities for his students. These include Skill Builders and Challenger Sports for children with disabilities birth to 21 years, Thursday night wheelchair sports, Project LEAPE, and most recently Project DREAM serving at risk youth and those with disabilities ages 13-21.
A native of Reno, Nev., Davis earned both a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s degree in adapted physical education and early intervention from California State University, Chico. He has a Ph.D. in adapted physical education and early childhood special education from the University of Virginia.
From 1991-94, Davis was an adapted physical education instructor and director of the Ability Challenge Sports and Recreation Program at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.
At SUNY Cortland, Davis received the 2009 Rozanne M. Brooks Dedicated Teacher Award and was honored by the College with its Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Outreach Award. In 2007 and 2008, he was presented by the College with its Distinguished Faculty Service Learning Award. In 2008, SUNY Cortland earned the Adapted Physical Education Program of the Year Award from AAHPERD.
Davis was presented with the prestigious William A. Hillman Distinguished Service Award in 2006 by the National Consortium on Physical Education and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities. He has received several other Professional of the Year Awards from state organizations in New York and outstanding service awards while working in both New York and Indiana.
A member of several College committees, across his career he has successfully written grants for nearly $600,000 in sponsored research associated with adapted physical education. Most recently, Tim has developed the School Partnerships in Physical Education Program creating funded teaching opportunities for graduate students majoring in adapted physical education.
Within the community, Davis presided over the board of directors for Access for Independence of Cortland County, an independent living center servicing adults with physical and developmental disabilities. He has been active with local Little League organizations and serves as faculty advisor to the national powerhouse SUNY Cortland baseball team.
For many years, Davis was a big game guide in the province of Alberta for the Canada Division of Forestry, having served a year as a guide in the Yukon Territories. Since 2003, he has taught Inclusive Outdoor Education, a graduate course at SUNY Cortland developed specifically to address the needs of diverse populations in outdoor education experiences.
He and his wife, Lisa, have two children, Chase, 13, and Peter, 10, and reside in Homer, N.Y.