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Faces Of Monmouth

Faces Of Monmouth

James Konopack

View more Profiles: All  |  Faculty  |  Health + Physical Education  |  School of Nursing and Health Studies

Meet James

Maybe he was “born to run,” but James Konopack, PhD, associate
professor in Monmouth’s Department of Health and Physical Education, lives to

Konopack is an avid distance runner, participating in 26.2-mile
marathons and still-longer ultramarathons each year. While the New Jersey
coastal region boasts a vibrant running community, Konopack’s goal is to run a
marathon in all fifty states. “As 2014 draws to a close, I’ve run marathons or
ultramarathons in twenty-nine states, with a few states repeated along the
way,” Konopack said. “I’ve completed most states within a day’s drive of New
Jersey, so travel has become more difficult—and expensive. But my goal of
running a race in each state has been an enjoyable journey that’s kept me
running and visiting parts of the country I might not otherwise get to see, and
I still have a long way to go.”

Born and raised in Hunterdon County, Konopack came to
Monmouth in 2006 after earning his PhD in kinesiology from the University of
Illinois, where he worked in the Exercise Psychology Lab under the direction of
Edward McAuley. He has brought those research interests, which revolve around
how physical activity affects and is affected by social, psychological, and
physiological factors, to Monmouth. Konopack recalls being attracted to
Monmouth, “because of its institutional focus on teaching and because I saw it
as a tight-knit community in a beautiful location close to where I grew up. And
it’s been my professional home ever since.”

Konopack’s love of running is rivalled by his enthusiasm for
teaching. Konopack brings his passion for health and fitness into his
classrooms, treating his students to an engaged, interactive learning experience.

“In my view, it’s not a particular technique or method that
makes for great university teaching,” Konopack said. “Teaching is more about
your command of the subject material and the attitude with which you approach
it. Our students are smart, witty people who crave a robust education and
appreciate a lively discussion. I try to keep sentiments like this in mind in
order to set a positive expectation going into class, which carries over into
my interactions with students. I also frequently think back to the best classes
I had as a student and try to re-create those experiences for my own students,
designing every course as if I were a student in my own class.”

Collaborations that I've been involved with

“I love working with students one-on-one to help them
discover their intellectual passions and connect them with their educational
and professional interests,” Konopack said. “Many mentoring sessions start with
a routine advising talk in my office or over coffee and morph into
bigger-picture discussions of graduate school, careers, and personal
aspirations. Whether by shaping a student's honors thesis or enlisting students
as partners on new initiatives, it's rewarding for me to facilitate our students’

Konopack’s research primarily focuses on health behavior
change and physical fitness throughout the human life span. “I am especially interested
in understanding the psychosocial factors that influence physical activity
participation as well as its psychological and physiological outcomes.”

Why I'm proud of Monmouth

“I'm proud to be part of this community of scholars with a
common love of teaching and learning,” Konopack said. “Monmouth is also special
to me because it's a beautiful place where amazing things are happening, yet
it's small enough that I get to know my students and colleagues from various
disciplines. For me, that makes Monmouth a unique academic community where
friendships as well as professional collaborations can flourish.”

My favorite Monmouth memory

“Commencement is the greatest day of the academic calendar,”
Konopack said. “Talking with students, taking photos, meeting proud family
members, and celebrating the students’ achievements alongside my colleagues all
combine to make this one of my favorite occasions year after year.”

A photo of James Konopack


Associate Professor


Health + Physical Education

Favorite Activity

Long distance runner, Associate Dean of the School of Nursing & Health Studies