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About Us


Kinesiology refers to the study of movement. In American higher education, the term is used to describe a multifaceted field of study in which movement or physical activity is the intellectual focus. (From National Academy of Kinesiology)


Recreation is an activity that people engage in during their free time, that people enjoy, and that people recognize as having socially redeeming values.

Sport Management

Sport management includes any combination of skills related to planning, organizing, leading, marketing, communicating, and evaluating within the context of an organization whose primary product or service is related to sport.


KRSS is home to 28 faculty members and 12 staff members. The department provides near 2,000 undergraduate students an opportunity to major in either kinesiology or recreation and sport management. Approximately 120 Graduate students (MS and PhD programs) can choose to specialize in exercise physiology, biomechanics, sport psychology/motor behavior, physical activity epidemiology, sport management, therapeutic recreation, or socio-cultural studies. In addition to our majors, the department also serves approximately 5,500 students per year in the Physical Education Activity Program.

Message from the Department Head

Dear current and prospective faculty, staff, and students,

Zan Gao, KRSS Professor and Department Head

As the Department Head, I take great pleasure in extending a warm welcome to you and inviting you to explore our department’s website. The Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies (KRSS) is one of the largest departments on campus, with over 2,100 undergraduate and graduate students majoring in Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Management. Whether you are joining our prestigious faculty and staff or starting your academic journey as a student, you are an integral part of our vibrant and thriving community.

At the KRSS, our shared vision is centered on excellence in scholarship, teaching, and public engagement. These pillars underpin our transformative educational experiences and positive impact on the world. Excellence in scholarship is at the heart of our academic pursuits. We pride ourselves on fostering curiosity and intellectual rigor. Through cutting-edge research, innovation, and collaboration, we aim to push the boundaries of knowledge in kinesiology, recreation, and sport studies. Our faculty is dedicated to advancing their disciplines and making significant contributions to the global body of knowledge. As educators, we are enthusiastic about shaping our students’ minds and futures. Our teaching philosophy empowers students to be critical thinkers, compassionate leaders, and lifelong learners. We also strive for excellence in public engagement. Our professional commitment goes beyond academia, as we leverage our expertise, research, and resources to make a positive impact on society. At the KRSS, we actively embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion. The richness that diversity brings is celebrated as we foster an inclusive environment that respects and values the unique perspectives, experiences, and identities of all individuals.

I invite you to join us in our pursuit of excellence. Together, we can shape the future of the KRSS and leave a lasting impact on countless lives, locally, nationally, and globally. Let’s embark on this journey united in our passion for knowledge, teaching, and service to the community.

Zan Gao, PhD
Professor and Department Head

American Kinesiology Association

The American Kinesiology Association promotes and enhances kinesiology as a unified field of study and advances its many applications. Our department has been a member of the American Kinesiology Association since 2011.

KRSS Mission Statement

We prepare scholars, practitioners, and leaders in exercise, sport, and recreation by conducting cutting-edge research and maintaining a commitment to inclusive excellence, social justice, and global initiatives.


Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies
College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences
322 HPER Building
1914 Andy Holt Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996-2700
Phone: 865-974-3340
Fax: 865-974-8981