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Ed Augustitus, Assistant Professor in the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences, holds an experiential personal fitness and teaching philosophy based on the premise that all individuals are capable of making positive changes in their lives, saying, "There's something new to learn every day." He teaches his students ways to create that change, counseling them to enjoy the journey instead of focusing entirely on the destination, and says, "It's a constant progression; an eyes-wide-open premise – I want them to be continually aware of the opportunities around them to learn."
Ed began his career as an athletic trainer. Prior to joining Harford's faculty as an adjunct teaching Anatomy & Physiology in the STEM area in 2002, he worked as a personal trainer and manager at Bel Air Athletic Club. While he teaches the occasional PE class in indoor cycling or mountain biking at Harford, Ed primarily teaches health courses. Lately, he's been focused on the new – and growing – Exercise Science program he and colleague Cindy Kelley developed with the assistance of fellow faculty Sean Wright and Debbie Dorsey. Ed teaches Introduction to Exercise Science, Fitness Assessment & Program Design, and First Aid & Safety in the new program.
The Exercise Science program started just this past fall, and Ed points to its collaborative development as one of the high points of his career. He said, "Cindy and I both have backgrounds in Exercise Science. This program was a year-and-a-half in the making. MHEC approved it last summer, it began with 30 students enrolled in fall 2019, and this spring, it's more than doubled to 69 students who have declared it their major. That is a key accomplishment."
Working to meet the individual needs of his students is a priority for Ed, and he strives to accommodate their demanding schedules by teaching online classes. One example of his preference for experiential learning can be found in his use of an application called "Map My Fitness," which tracks his students' whereabouts, allows them to document their exercise routines with selfie videos, and provides for communication between his students and him. The app also validates their accomplishments by showing their progress. Ed finds opportunities to infuse community service projects into his curriculum as well; his students participate in trail clean-ups, bay restoration work, and recycling campaigns, learning firsthand the impact they can have on the environment and in their community.
His service work in the community has resulted in some long-lasting improvements in the county. The development of the campus trail system grew out of Ed's work with students in his jogging, hiking, and mountain biking classes. Besides community members, the trails are also enjoyed by students and faculty as learning labs in such diverse disciplines as Biology and Earth Science to Literature and more. He has initiated a variety of trail advocacy projects in the county. Ed is active with Bike Harford, which encourages Harford Countians to bike to work to save gas and improve personal fitness while helping the environment. He's especially proud of his work developing this area's stretch of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile route running from Key West to Maine's Canadian border that's designed to foster a safe walking and biking channel through the country’s most populated corridor.
As chair of Faculty Council, Ed says he enjoys the challenges of facilitating the collaboration between its subcommittees. Currently, the council is involved in Middle States Self-Study work and just finished revising the Faculty Handbook, the updated version of which was published last month on OwlNet's Work Life tab. Ed is a champion for the faculty and encourages them to venture outside of their comfort zones to impact real and lasting change at Harford. He's currently interested in working with the council to return the tenure promotion process back to the hands of the faculty.
Ed is thankful for the support he's received from Deans Tony Wohler and Kelly Koermer, saying, "Nothing gets done well without collaboration. Through my interactions with colleagues, other faculty members – I've been lucky to have great Deans – I've had some really great mentors here."
Ed's exceptional dedication and many contributions to his students, the College, and the greater community deserve recognition, so his selection as this month's Faculty Spotlight Feature comes as no surprise to his students and colleagues. Congratulations, Ed!
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