ChicoProfessor of Kinesiology
In the 2014 documentary, “No Excuses,” Cathrine Himberg, Ph.D., visits teachers and administrators in California, South Carolina, Washington and West Virginia, learning how quality physical education (PE) and physical activity throughout the school day can be used as tools to improve students’ academic success, behavior in the classroom, motivation to learn and overall wellness.
The advocacy film’s message to policymakers and school officials is that implementing quality K-12 physical education in the U.S. should be a major priority.
“There are still a lot of principals and teachers and administration that do not know what quality PE is and what effect it can have on a school. That’s where we’re really trying to hit it,” says Dr. Himberg, an alumna and professor of kinesiology at California State University, Chico, who was honored with the 2015-16 Outstanding Professor Award.
“Real teachers don’t babysit kids. Real teachers do the right thing every day as best they can with the resources they have. It’s not easy, and we need support for them.”
At CSU Chico, Himberg teaches future physical education teachers, as well as dance and yoga for all students. She’s also active in the community and developed a physical education program curriculum for Inspire Charter High School in 2010 and has provided dance lessons and workshops in Chico-area schools every semester since 2005.
In 1998, Himberg founded the nonprofit Center for Advancement of Standards-Based Physical Education Reform (CASPER) based at CSU Chico; she remains executive director of the center, whose mission is to challenge PE programs to be a part of the solution to the problem of physical inactivity in society. The center hosts the SupportREALteachers.org website, which is used by teachers around the globe as a curriculum resource.
“I started CASPER because I was frustrated about seeing so many inappropriate practices being used in physical education classes,” says Himberg, who earned a Ph.D. at Virginia Tech, an M.A. at CSU Chico and B.S. at Eastern Carolina University. “Teaching is the heart and soul of my work as a professor. I am inspired every day by my students, who make positive changes in their own lives and beyond.”