Alice McLaine

Name: Alice McLaine
Position: Assistant Professor 
College: Richard W. Riley College of Education, Sport, and Human Sciences
Department: PE Sport and Human Performance

Before her senior year in high school, Alice McLaine found her life's calling.

As she tells it, one of her high school physical education teachers knew of her interest in health care professions and in sports and thought athletic training would be a good fit.  “I went to a summer camp for students interested in athletic training between my junior and senior years of high school and I was hooked,” said McLaine, an assistant professor in the Department of PE Sport and Human Performance.

She earned a biology degree from Ohio University, a Master of Science degree in exercise fitness, assessment, evaluation and prescription from West Virginia University and a Ph.D. in higher education from Iowa State University. She has watched and contributed to the development and growth of athletic training education during her 35+ years in the field.

McLaine came to Winthrop in 2002 where she developed and obtained initial accreditation for the athletic training program. She successfully led the program through its first Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education review and over the past two years has led the program as it prepares to transition to a master's degree in athletic training.

The shift to the Master of Science in Athletic Training has been mandated by the governing bodies that regulate athletic training education, she said. The move is designed to ensure that the education of athletic trainers is on par with other health care professions, most of which are educated at the graduate level. 

Students will be a bit more mature when entering the program, she said, so it is expected that they will be better able to prioritize the professional education. Since Winthrop has developed a “3+2” program, students will be able to complete the degree in 5 years. 

Her love for the athletic training field is two-fold:

“For the clinical part of the field, I love the relationships that are developed with the athletes and being able to help them overcome an injury and return to the sport that they love,” she said. “For the teaching part of my job, I love seeing students master difficult concepts and be able to apply what we cover in the classroom to patients with whom they work.”

She has emphasized with her students that an athletic trainer should have three attributes: empathy, communication and collaboration. 

Her commitment to students was rewarded in 2019 when she was a recipient of the Kinard Award for Excellence in Teaching.

McLaine has been involved in her field's associations on the local, state and regional level. In athletic training, most of the roles within the professional associations are filled by volunteers, she said. “I think giving back to the field is important to the continued growth and development of the field,” she added.

At Winthrop, McLaine is proud that the athletic training program consistently has 35-40% first-generation college students or minority students. “It is gratifying to see that many of our graduates stay in South Carolina to practice and make a huge difference in the health care provided to high school athletes in the state,” she said.