Robert K. Thomas, Ed.D., has served as the chair of the Health & Exercise Science department at La Sierra University since 2001. Before coming to La Sierra he taught at Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, for 13 years where he also coached their NAIA volleyball team.
Dr. Thomas has served in a variety of leadership positions including President of the Western Society for Kinesiology & Wellness, chair of La Sierra University’s Faculty Senate, chair of several search committees, chair of the Athletic Council at La Sierra, and as chair of the church board at La Sierra University Church.
Dr. Thomas has established two lines of research: 1) Fitness-based research (including fitness and academic performance; the effects of repetition speed on strength development; and fitness levels of students in high schools and college); and 2) history and philosophy of physical education.
Dr. Thomas has given scholarly presentations at several organizations including the Western Society for Kinesiology & Wellness; the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance; the 2nd International Congress for Physical Education at the Adventist University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; and the Seventh-day Adventist Health, Physical Education, Recreation Association. He has also presented at other events such as the Health & Fitness Symposium at Andrews University; for the Summer Institute for Brain Learning at La Sierra University; and for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists K-12 Teacher Convention in Nashville, TN.
Dr. Thomas has been recognized in several ways: receiving the Anees Haddad “Excellence in Faculty Governance” award at LSU; “Faculty of the Year” award for Service-Learning at LSU; Dr. G. Arthur Broten “Young Scholars” award at the Western Society for Kinesiology & Wellness; Who’s Who among America’s Teachers (4 times); the Zapara “Excellence in Teaching” award while at Atlantic Union College; and NAIA District V “Coach of the Year” for volleyball.
He is a member of several organizations including: American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM); American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD); National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); Seventh-day Adventist Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Association (SDA-HPERA); Southwestern District of the American College of Sports Medicine (SW-ACSM); and Western Society for Kinesiology and Wellness (WSKW).
He currently serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of Kinesiology & Wellness, as the Executive Director of the SDA-HPERA, and is writing a book on the history of physical education at the higher education level in the North American Division of SDA’s.
Dr. Thomas enjoys working out, watching Golden Eagle home games (especially volleyball), and researching his family history. He can be contacted via email at rthomas@LaSierra.edu.