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02/27/2015

Bank of America Professor Will Push Health-Related Initiatives

Quick Facts

 Wojcik will use the endowed professorship to continue her work to sustain health-related initiatives.
 Jennie Rakestraw, dean of the Richard W. Riley College of Education, said Wojcik was chosen as the recipient because she offered a compelling project

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Janet Wojcik

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA - Winthrop University recently selected Associate Professor Janet Wojcik as recipient of the Bank of America Endowed Professorship for the Richard W. Riley College of Education.

Wojcik will use the endowed professorship to continue her work to sustain health-related initiatives. She listed three areas to work on:

• Partnering with the town of Clover to help improve its residents’ health. Within the past year, the town has started a community coalition named LiveWell Clover. Already the town offers a Tuesday night farmer’s market and stage morning walks, Zumba-thons, and group yoga. Wojcik wants to help make the initiative less focused on programs and work more to improve sustainability and structure.
• Promoting adoption of joint-use agreements at local schools to increase community physical activity. This would allow groups to use a public facility, such as a running track. She hopes to continue work from the Healthy South Carolina Initiative to partner with schools for outdoor classroom/active learning environments for schools to share.
• Developing a regional food policy network through the Catawba Farm and Food Coalition.This will improve the quality, availability, and accessibility of the food delivery systems for York and Chester county residents through online sales.

Wojcik said she has learned from more than two years of working on the Healthy South Carolina Initiative that these types of changes are labor-intensive and take time to implement. “During my time at Winthrop, I have developed extensive professional collaborative relationships with colleagues and agencies throughout Rock Hill and York County,” she said. “I would like to continue the momentum from previous projects to improve access to healthy foods and create active community environments.”

Jennie Rakestraw, dean of the Richard W. Riley College of Education, said Wojcik was chosen as the recipient because she offered a compelling project. “She is industrious as a scholar and as a professional steward,” Rakestraw said. “Her scholarship is a classic example of community-based participatory research and service.”

Wojcik will be the fourth recipient of the Bank of America Endowed Professorship, which supports teaching and research for an outstanding faculty member in education. Winthrop’s other recipients were Marshall G. Jones, who studied how those familiar with and those unfamiliar with digital technologies learn differently; Mark Dewalt, who continued research on Amish education; and Carol Marchel, who helped teachers understand how to work with diverse students.

Prior to her arrival at Winthrop, Wojcik was a research faculty member for nearly 10 years at the Center for Research in Health Behavior in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech.

Her research interests include obesity prevention and exercise training for special populations such as breast cancer survivors and overweight youth. She recently helped assess and improve “bikeability” in the city of Rock Hill and Winthrop campus as part of a community coalition called Eat Smart Move More York County, affiliated with Eat Smart Move More South Carolina, which directs state-wide obesity initiatives.

She also has been a research mentor in the McNair Scholars program at Winthrop to help minorities transition to graduate school.

She earned a B.S. in sport and exercise studies at State University of New York at Buffalo; an M.S. degree in physical education at Canisius College, and a Ph.D. in human nutrition, foods, and exercise at Virginia Tech.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or longshawj@winthrop.edu.


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