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Community Engagement Incentive Grant: Dixie Thompson

Using Sport, Recreation, and Exercise for Community Development

This proposal was for funds to support a new service-learning class in the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, directed by Dr. Dixie Thompson.

Dixie Thompson

Ashley Huffman

The class was designed to assist a growing number of Iraqi refugees in their transition to Knoxville. The professors of the course worked in collaboration with the local Iraqi refugee community to establish a list of sport, exercise, and recreation needs of which the service-learning class was given the opportunity to address.

Students used discipline-related skills (e.g., event planning, fundraising, and exercise prescription) to create activities designed to encourage health, friendship, inclusivity, and a more unified community.

During the course of the class, doctoral student (now UT Faculty member) Ashley Huffman conducted qualitative interviews with representatives from the Iraqi community and also local community partners including the refugee resettlement agency and an ESL institute.

Students in the course also conducted research and created health, play, and gender modules based on their experiences with the Iraqis and also the sport for development and peace literature.

The student research as well as the data collected by Huffman will be used to develop a toolkit that will be presented to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and will result in a number of other scholarly publications as well.