Windee M. Weiss

Windee M. Weiss
Major/Job Title: 
Omaha, NE

Windee M. Weiss

Years at UNI: 18
Educational background: BA, psychology, athletic training; MS: sport psychology; PhD: sport psychology. 

Briefly describe your career background.
My first job after graduate school was here at UNI, and I have never left! However, throughout my life, I have been involved in sport in some capacity: athlete, coach, gymnastics judge, and now these days, as a parent. I have coached competitive gymnastics for years, as well as judged. Thus, throughout my years of graduate school, I stayed involved in the sport, wearing "many different hats." All these real-world, practical experiences have facilitated my research agenda and teaching perspectives here at UNI.

Why did you choose this career path?
My interest in sport psychology stemmed from previous experiences, as an athlete and as a coach, with returning to play following a serious injury. This fueled my desire to learn more and understand what occurs during that rehabilitation process from a mental and emotional perspective. 

What brought you to UNI?
When I came to Cedar Falls for my interview, I instantly felt "at home." The faculty in my department were so motivated and interested in everything that everyone was doing! I learned instantly that this faculty was of the mindset of "what do we need to do to get this done." The energy in our halls is very positive and creative- constantly trying to move our students, faculty and department forward. It's very satisfying to work here!

What's your favorite part about UNI?
People! Great faculty and the students.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
This is a hard question to answer. I would say earning my promotion to professor. A lot of years of hard work went into that!

What is your area of research interest, and what drove you to study this area?
Primary areas of interest include commitment to sport, mental and emotional reactions to athletic injury, and the role of parents and coaches in the experiences of youth sport participants' experiences. My personal sport experiences, both as an athlete and a coach, have driven my interest primarily. A few recent publications include:

  • Weiss, W. M. (2020). Exploring commitment to injury rehabilitation. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. (Ahead of print).
  • Weiss, W. M., & Aloe, A. M. (2018). Revisiting mediational models of sport commitment in female gymnasts. International Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology.
  • Brinkman-Majewski, R. E., & Weiss, W. M. (2018). The motivational climate and intrinsic motivation in the rehabilitation setting. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 27, 460-468.

What does being student-focused mean to you?
It means that I can never lose sight of what it is like to be a student, from both a developmental perspective and an academic perspective. My job is not only to teach my students content about our field, but also to provide them with opportunities and challenges that will build life-long skills to help them navigate their future lives.

What does it mean to you to be part of helping students realize or even exceed their expectations and see that outcome?
When students excel, this is incredibly rewarding for me as well. I don't think students realize how much we (the faculty) are rooting for them! Sometimes the process requires "warm and fuzzies," and sometimes it requires a little "tough love; nonetheless, we want them to be able to push themselves, find pride in what they accomplish and know that they have the skills to continue these successes long after they leave our little corner of the world.

What do you hope students learn from you?
From an academic perspective, I hope my students learn how to increase their athletes', clients', or students' motivation! I hope my students learn to create healthy environments in sport and exercise that allow everyone to feel confident and that they have high ability. From a personal perspective, I hope I teach my students to be genuine, open and positive and that if they keep working and problem-solving, most things will work out in the end.

What advice do you have for prospective/current students to make the most of their time at UNI?
GET INVOLVED! This could be through academic classes, volunteering, group exercise, clubs, etc. Meet people! Let people meet you and get to know you. And you do not have to do everything. Find one activity/event that you feel passionate about and really sink your teeth into it. Be a leader, organizer etc. I think students who do this will find their time at UNI far more rewarding.