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Dr. Dawn Norwood Honored as 2022-23 Sport Studies Doctoral Alumni Scholar

The Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies at the University of Tennessee honored Dr. Dawn Norwood as its Sport Studies Doctoral Alumni Scholar for the 2022-23 academic year. Dr. Norwood, who earned her Ph.D. in exercise and sport sciences with a concentration in sport studies and specialization in sport sociology in 2010, is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University.

As recipient of the alumni scholar honor, Dr. Norwood returned to campus Feb. 28-March 2, 2023, to deliver a research presentation, provide guest lectures in courses, and meet with students and faculty. In her presentation, titled “Interest Convergence in Sport: The Price of Progress,” Dr. Norwood discussed a brief history of the African American athlete in the U.S. since 1920, offering a critical discourse on how watershed moments of racial progress in sports, such as Jackie Robinson entering Major League Baseball, have not been without costly residual impacts to the Black community. She also spoke with students in the sport studies doctoral seminar and provided a guest lecture in the course “Socio-Cultural Studies in Sport and Recreation.”

Dr. Norwood, whose research focuses on issues of race and gender in sport and society, has held administrative and faculty positions at Florida A&M University, the University of Southern Indiana, and Wingate University.

“The University of Tennessee holds a very special place in my heart,” said Dr. Norwood. “I was blessed to have an amazing advisor and great professors who helped me tremendously throughout my doctoral studies, and beyond! To be recognized in this way by the department from my alma mater is an honor.”

While completing her Ph.D., Dr. Norwood was advised by the late Dr. Joy T. DeSensi—a former department head and associate dean of the UT Graduate School whose career spanned nearly 40 years at Tennessee.


Sport studies is an interdisciplinary academic field that encompasses such areas as sociology of sport, sport management, sport history, and sport philosophy. The sport studies doctoral degree concentration in the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies (KRSS) prepares its graduates to conduct research and teach in a variety of subjects within the sport studies field. The Sport Studies Doctoral Alumni Scholar award allows the Department of KRSS to recognize a graduate of the sport studies doctoral program who has made substantial contributions to the field of sport studies.

Dr. Norwood is the third recipient of the Sport Studies Doctoral Alumni Scholar honor. Dr. Brody Ruihley was the inaugural honoree in 2017-18, while Dr. Josh Pate was honored in 2018-19.