Dorothy "Dolly" Downing Lambdin

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Distinguished Faculty Member


Coordinator, Physical Education Teacher Education Program, 1990-2015
Specialist 1976-1995
Lecturer 1995-2002
Senior Lecturer 2002-2008
Clinical Professor 2009-2016

Dolly Lambdin joined the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation in January 1976 as a Specialist in Physical Education.  She came to Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and a master’s degree in Physical Education Curriculum and Instruction from Teachers College, Columbia University.  In 1987, Lambdin enrolled in the Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) doctoral program at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst to study with Professor Larry Locke.  After a year of intensive coursework and research training, she returned to UT Austin to continue teaching in the teacher preparation program while completing remaining requirements for her doctoral degree.  Upon completing her dissertation, a qualitative study of the interactions between teachers’ careers and lives, she received an Ed.D degree in 1992.

During her time as a faculty member at UT Austin, Dr. Lambdin was always very active in professional associations and activities at the local, state, regional, and national levels.  At the local level, she was active in the creation and leadership of the Austin Association of Physical Education (AAPER) and Recreation and worked closely with the Austin Independent School District to champion healthy, active learning environments in schools.  She also used grant funding to promote physical activity and physical education through posters and billboards featuring the question “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?”  More recently, she served on the AISD School Health Advisory Committee, including three years as chair (2001-2004).  She served as director for the Austin Area Physical Education Teacher Center from 1983-1990 and was six times the director of a state/regional conference on elementary physical education (1983-1992).  She was a regular program presenter and invited speaker at many other state, regional, and national conferences and workshops, often sharing her innovative uses of technology in elementary school physical education teaching and her experience in authentic assessment of student performance.  And at many of those conferences, she would be surrounded by former students from many years past who would celebrate how being “Dollyfied” during their professional preparation had prepared them so well for their teaching careers.  For six years she served on the UT Elementary School Management Board, and she served as a program consultant to numerous school districts and colleges and universities.

Career Highlights

Active in the creation and leadership of the Austin Association of Physical Education and Recreation and worked closely with the Austin Independent School District to champion healthy, active learning environments in schools

Authored / co-authored one book on putting research into practice, four book chapters, five textbooks, and 21 peer-reviewed research and professional articles about quality physical education teaching, particularly elementary physical education

Received 16 grants to support instructional innovation, research, dissemination of information and best professional practices

President, National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) in 2004-2005. Oversaw, as president of NASPE, the establishment of national standards for physical education, resulting in the slogan “NASPE sets the standard.”

President, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD, now called SHAPE), 2014-2015.

Fitnessgram Scientific Advisory Board at the Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research (2008-2018)

Global Forum on Physical Education Pedagogy organized by the PE4Life Institute (2010)

Honors and Awards

Outstanding Service Award, AAPER (1988, 1994, 1995)

Outstanding Leadership Award, NASPE Council on School Leadership (1997)

Texas College and University Teacher of the Year, Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (TAHPERD) (2002)

Two Texty Awards (a national textbook publishing award) as textbook co-author (2008 and 2011)

Elizabeth Shatto Massey Award for Excellence in Teacher Education, UT Ex-Students Association (2009)

Physical Education Teacher Education Honor Award, NASPE (2009)

Commencement Speaker, UT College of Education (December 2010)

Margie Hansen Elementary Physical Education Distinguished Service Award, NASPE (2012)

Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, Department of Kinesiology & Health Education (2015)

Outstanding Service Award, TAHPERD (2015)

Honor Award, TAHPERD (2015)