UNCG Campus Weekly

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Laurie Wideman tapped for Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professorship

Dr. Laurie Wideman will be the inaugural recipient of the Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professorship in Kinesiology, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

The overarching focus of Dr. Wideman’s research is the impact of exercise, disease and injury on the endocrine system. Her work examines body composition, heart rate variability and ways that the body can regulate itself. She also looks at sex-specific hormonal influences in injury and disease.

Wideman is board chair of the Office of Research Integrity and helped develop and regularly teaches the responsible conduct of research training at UNCG. She is most recently the principal investigator on the large NIH-funded grant “Pathways from childhood self-regulation to cardiovascular risk in adolescence.” In the last year, she served as co-investigator on four other interdisciplinary, collaborative grant submissions to NIH and as Research Mentor on a large Career Development Grant for a junior scholar.

Wideman graduated from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, with a bachelor of science degree in biology, and received her PhD in exercise physiology from the University of Virginia. She has been a faculty member at UNCG since 2000, where she has received the Research Excellence Award. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Dr. Celia Hooper, dean of the School of Health and Human Sciences, remarked that Wideman’s scholarship has been impactful on how we think of exercise throughout the lifespan. Equally important is her willingness to help so many other faculty and students find their own paths to scholarship, exhibiting HHS’s “culture of care.”    

Dr. JoAnne “Jo” Safrit, a 1957 graduate of Woman’s College, established the Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professorship in Kinesiology to enable the university to recruit or retain faculty in the Department of Kinesiology who are outstanding researchers, scholars, and teachers. She shares the name of the award with Dr. Catherine “Cathy” Ennis, her partner of 32 years, who passed away April 8, 2017.

Safrit, a native of Salisbury, North Carolina, received her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught for 20 years. Safrit serves on the UNCG Alumni Association and Excellence Foundation boards.

Ennis, born in Richmond, Virginia, completed her master of science degree in physical education (now kinesiology) from UNCG in 1977. She completed her PhD at the University of Georgia and held faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Maryland-College Park and UNCG. She was an internationally recognized teacher education, scholar and curriculum specialist.