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Assistant professor helping round UHV kinesiology program into shape

Raymond Tucker Jr. was drawn to the University of Houston-Victoria because of the opportunity to build a kinesiology program from ground up.

Raymond Tucker Jr.

“Because of the interest in health and fitness, there are many possible careers today that begin with earning a kinesiology degree,” said Tucker, a UHV assistant professor since fall 2015. “Personal training and fitness relate to kinesiology.”

This semester, Tucker is teaching several face-to-face classes, including “Scientific Principles of Strength and Conditioning” and “Teaching Early Childhood and Elementary Physical Education.”

“With kinesiology, a face-to-face classroom experience is more valuable to our students because it gives them the experience of developing relationships with other students in their major,” Tucker said. “It also gives faculty members a chance to share our work experiences with our students.”

Tucker has a lot of work experience from which to draw. In the past, he has worked as a sports specialist in a correctional facility, strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate level, and a teacher and coach in the public school system.

Tucker has been a national champion powerlifter and is the former state and regional record holder in the 220-pound weight class. He also assisted former Minnesota Vikings scout John Fitzpatrick with performance testing of free agent Matt Ross when he was completing his strength and conditioning internship at Texas Lutheran University.

His father, Raymond Tucker Sr., was a sports director in the U.S. Army for 22 years and served as his inspiration. Tucker Jr. was born in Nurnberg, Germany, and has traveled to many places around the globe.

“I grew up in the gym and around amateur sporting events,” he said. “My father sparked my interest, and I learned from him.”

Tucker said he enjoys being a member of the UHV faculty because of interactions with fellow colleagues and the support staff in the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development.

“We are all on the same page to see this program grow,” Tucker said. “Kinesiology is still fairly new here, and we are in the process of building this program.”

In February, the National Strength and Conditioning Association recognized UHV in its Education Recognition Program. The university is one of just five in Texas accredited for strength and conditioning. The program recognizes regionally accredited academic institutions for their educational programs that have met educational guidelines.

Different career paths within the area of kinesiology include physical education teacher, personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, exercise specialist, athletic trainer, physical and occupational therapy educator, and fitness club owner.

Tucker said the department is working toward developing three more areas of specialization within the current degree plan to be better serve students’ career interests and to prepare them for the workforce.

Outside of UHV, Tucker is involved with several sports performance organizations and consults with high schools about strength training programs. He also has published several articles about enhancing athletic performance in the Texas High School Coaches Association and Stack magazine.

Faculty Feature is an online feature highlighting faculty members from each of the University of Houston-Victoria’s three schools. To nominate a faculty member, contact Jeremy Shapiro, UHV communications manager, or call 361-570-4296.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as a teaching center in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities, and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.