It’s not every day that a social worker decides to get a doctorate in kinesiology.
But for Eric Tucker, there’s a natural connection between physical activity and social work. That’s one reason he’s in the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Kinesiology program at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, designed for practicing professionals seeking a doctorate in kinesiology focused on leadership, advocacy, and teaching.
Using kinesiology personally and professionally
Physical activity, Tucker says, can help manage stress and prevent burnout in his field.
“I think seeing the connection between kinesiology and social work has always been a very seamless and natural process for me,” says Tucker, a social worker in private practice in Raleigh, N.C., and adjunct professor in the North Carolina State University Department of Social Work.
He also sees kinesiology as part of his mission to “help people across the entire wellness continuum, from the biological, physiological components to the larger psychosocial issues.” Getting his doctorate in kinesiology, Tucker says, is just his way of tying everything together.
Others have started noticing the connections between physical activity, kinesiology, and social work too. This is thanks to Tucker, who authored the National Association of Social Workers–North Carolina Chapter Health and Wellness Position Statement. In addition, Tucker has given invited talks to social work leaders and students about the benefits physical activity has on burnout, as well as presenting about health and wellness with other human service professionals.
A curriculum focused on the whole person
Coming into the online EdD program with a social work background wasn’t without challenges. Even though kinesiology wasn’t new to Tucker—he almost majored in exercise science in college before deciding social work was a better fit—there was a learning curve.
Now that he is finishing his third year in the EdD program, Tucker truly sees the connection between the two fields and is pleased with his decision to earn a doctorate in kinesiology.
“One way that being in this program has helped me as a clinician is by strengthening my ability to apply best practice interventions for clients and families as it relates to the biopsychosocial model,” he says.
In looking at the whole person, he better understands how biological, psychological, and social factors interact to affect individuals’ health and wellness. “I have become a stronger advocate for my clients and my profession,” he says.
The benefits of earning your doctorate online
The flexibility of online learning allows Tucker to fit assignments into his unpredictable work schedule since he often meets clients based on their availability.
“It’s really three plus years of looking at what needs to be done, looking at your schedule, and making it work,” he says.
Ready for the next step in your career?
Are you a practicing kinesiology professional ready to further your career? Learn more about UNCG’s online EdD in Kinesiology program.