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  October 29, 2001

New Research Director Brings
Many Strengths to Neag School

The Neag School of Education's new director of research brings a good deal of strength to the school - literally and figuratively.

William Kraemer, a trained endocrinologist and neuromuscular physiologist, is a world renowned expert in exercise physiology, sports medicine, and strength and conditioning.

He is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, chairs NASA's oversight committee on strength training for astronauts and cosmonauts at the International Space Station, and is editor-in-chi ef of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

There is more, much more in his background, and it is the depth and breadth of his experience that has well prepared him for his new position at UConn.

"We were looking for a scholar who had the leadership and research background that would complement the Neag School, as well as add a new dimension to our strengths. In Bill Kraemer, we found those qualities and more," says Richard Schwab, dean. "We talked him into giving up an endowed chair to come here and help us accomplish our vision to become one of the nation's top 10 schools of education. I'm extremely appreciative of his decision to join us."

It is a homecoming for the dynamo who, along with his position in the dean's office, is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology, formerly the Department of Sport, Leisure and Exercise Sciences, where Kraemer started his academic career in 1987 as an assistant professor.

He also has worked at Pennsylvania State University, where he held multiple appointments including director of research for the Center for Sports Medicine and associate director for the Center for Cell Research.

In 1998, Kraemer moved to Ball State University where he held an endowed chair in exercise physiology while heading the Human Performance Laboratory, and was an adjunct professor of physiology and biophysics at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Kraemer was lured back to UConn by his desire to return to a public research university - a university he applauds for having a vision.

"UConn is already a great place, but the potential for growth here is exciting. Not many schools are moving forward the way UConn is," says Kraemer, who is eager to take an active role in building the University into one of national prominence.

"I was at Penn State for almost 10 years during its exceptional growth phase. From my experience there, I know that becoming one of the country's top public research universities takes enormous improvements in the infrastructure, support of research activities and a lot of sacrifice and hard work by the faculty and administration," he says.

As director of research, Kraemer has a range of responsibilities. He oversees the Bureau of Educational Services, the educational technology department, and outreach programs and activities. But his top priority is to lead the School in aggressively and creatively pursuing research grants. After all, research is one of his passions.

"We've got to rediscover the excitement of discovery. I think that is lost in academia these days. So I'll be working closely with faculty members who are motivated to put in the effort and time to find the money and write the winning proposals," he explains. "We need to be as creative as we can be to find opportunities for all our faculty members and allow them to be engaged in an aggressive program of inquiry."

Kraemer is maintaining an active research agenda himself. He brought his research team of seven with him. Over the years, the group has conducted major research for pharmaceutical companies, the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and many corporate entities.

Their work is wide in scope, ranging from analyzing the nutritional aspects of supplements to determining the biochemical mechanisms of injury, repair, and rehabilitation.

One of Kraemer's high profile proj-ects involved the testing of sports clothing made from LYCRA. The five-year study, funded by DuPont, showed that wearing compressive sports apparel can have a substantial impact on an athlete's performance. From the professional level to the collegiate, one only needs to look at what basketball players are wearing under their team uniforms to understand the significance of that research.

Then there is Kraemer's work for the Department of Defense. It resulted in a hallmark series of studies optimizing resistance training programs for women. The team looked at how the nervous system and muscles adapt to training and how training can reduce gender differences in physically demanding jobs.

But when asked about the greatest accomplishment of his career, Kraemer's response has little to do with research and everything to do with his belief in building a dedicated team.

"My greatest accomplishment is that I've placed all my doctoral students in jobs," he says. "I love working with them as part of our research team, and it gives me great satisfaction when I have an opportunity to collaborate with my former students on various projects.

"I guess I'm just an old football coach at heart, who believes that it takes real teamwork to accomplish anything worthwhile in life."

Janice Palmer

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