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Steven Waller, PhD

Professor and Associate Department Head
Recreation and Sport Management
HPER 325


RSM 430 Organization and Administration of Recreation Services
RSM 511 Personnel Management
RSM 514 Organizational Behavior in Sport Settings
RSM 556 Sport and Religion in Global Society


  • Religious socialization as a constraint to recreation and sport participation; professionalization of sport chaplaincy
  • Structural barriers to career advancement for minorities and women in recreation and sport organizations
  • Institutional evil
  • Professional issues in sports chaplaincy (professional identity development, training and registration/certification)


DMin United Theological Seminary Pastoral Care and Counseling
MDiv Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Pastoral Care and Counseling
PhD Michigan State University Parks & Recreation Administration
MPA University of Michigan Public Administration
MA Central Michigan University Recreation and Parks Administration
BS Ferris State University Recreation Administration & Rehabilitative Recreation

EXPERIENCE (Last 15 years)
Co-Director, Center for the Study of Sport and Religion, CEHHS
The University of Tennessee, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor
Columbus, OH, Federal Empowerment Zone, Vice President, Programs and Operations

The integration of theory and philosophy with “real world” application is critical to the preparation of the next wave of practitioners and academicians. I am big proponent of “transformative learning.” Students are encouraged to develop a “world view” about the profession and their chosen area of practice. Being cognizant of students’ varied learning styles, students are challenged to think creatively and independently to address current and future issues confronting the recreation and sport industry.


  • 2017 Literary Award, Christian Society for Kinesiology, Leisure and Sport Studies
  • Service Award – Board of Directors (2015), Christian Society for Kinesiology, Leisure and Sport Studies
  • Faculty Senate Mentoring Award, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (2015)
  • Meritorious Service Award, Board of Directors, Christian Society for Kinesiology and Leisure Studies (2015)
  • Meritorious Service Award, Knox County, Chairman, Knox County Parks and Recreation Board, 2013
  • Diplomate (Fellow), Sports Pastoral Counseling, International Sports Professionals Association, 2013
  • Madge M. Phillips Professional Service Award, KRSS, The University of Tennessee, 2013


  • An exploration of constraints to career mobility among African Americans in recreation and sport organizations
  • Institutional evil and its impact on the culture of recreation and sport organizations
  • An examination of the relationship between the religiosity and spirituality of black fathers who were former high-performing athletes and the religiosity and spirituality of their children engaged in college sports
  • Compassion fatigue and sports chaplains


  • Chair, Mentoring Committee, College of Education, Health and Human Sciences
  • Board of Directors, Project GRAD Knoxville
  • Board Member, International Sports Chaplaincy Federation
  • Editorial Board: Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Research; Journal of Public Management and Social Policy; Journal of the Christian Society for Kinesiology, Leisure and Sport Studies; The Cyber Journal of Applied Leisure and Recreation Research; International Journal of Sport Management, Recreation & Tourism, Schole’Journal of Hospitality Leisure, Sport, and Tourism Education

Waller, S.N. & Bemiller, J. (2018). Navigating rough waters: Discrimination, the law and public swimming pools. International Journal of Aquatics Research and Education. 11(1), 1-15.  

Beale-Tawfeeq, A., Waller, S.N. & Anderson, A. (2018). Guest editors’ introduction to the special issue, diversity in aquatics. International Journal of Aquatics Research and Education. 11(1), 1-4.  

Waller, S.N. (2018). Does church attendance impede Sunday professional football spectatorship among african american men: A case study. International Journal of Religion and Society, 5(3), 1-16.   

Wozencroft, A.J., Waller, S.N., & Kiernozek, K. (2017). Perceived leisure constraints of parents and caregivers of children with disabilities. Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism and Recreation Research7(1), 2-10.   

Waller, S. (2017). “Fist, feet and faith”: An ‘elite’ interview with ‘Fight Church’ Pastor Jude Roberts-Part II.  Sport in Society, 20(9),1241-1258.  

Picariello, M., & Waller, S.N. (2016).  The importance of role modeling in mentoring women: Lessons from Pat Summitt’s legacy. Physical Culture and Sport: Studies and ResearchLXXI, 5-13.  

Waller, S.N. , Huffman, L.T., & Hardin, R. (2016). The sport chaplains’ role in the holistic care model for collegiate athletes in the United States, Practical Theology9(3), 226-241.  

Waller, S.N. (2016). Chaplain or sports chaplain first? Why identity formation should matter to sports chaplains. Practical Theology9(3), 242-257.  

Waller, S., & Martin, V. (2016). Research note: Religious doctrine and its influence on the choice to gamble as a leisure pastime among african american methodists. Leisure Studies, 0(0), 1-11.  DOI: 10.1080/02614367.2016.1203351. 

Waller, S.N., Wozencroft, A.J., & Scott, J.L. (2016) Compassion fatigue among disability camp staff: An exploratory study. Annals of Leisure Research, 19(2), 1-16. DOI:10.1080/11745398.2016.1162724.