Dr. Gerald (Jerry) Gilsdorf, assistant professor of physical education and sport science, recently earned a doctorate of education in sports management from the United States Sports Academy.
He has a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Judson College and earned a master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Gilsdorf, who has taught at Tusculum since 2008, completed his studies in mid-July. In his dissertation, Gilsdorf analyzed differences in the perceptions by senior administrators of the role of and purpose for competition of football and men’s basketball at evangelical Christian colleges and universities.
Gilsdorf has more than 24 years experience in coaching and teaching at both the high school and college levels. He began his career in education teaching and coaching at his high school alma mater for five years. He then moved on to the college level, teaching and coaching at Christian colleges.
His first college position was first assistant men’s basketball coach and campus recreation director at Wheaton College in Illinois, where he also taught wellness and physical education activity courses. Following his experience at Wheaton, he went to Gordon College, in Wenham, Mass., where he was the head men’s basketball coach for two years. He then served as assistant professor of physical education, first assistant men’s basketball coach and campus recreation director at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan.
When he and his wife welcomed the birth of their first child, Gilsdorf returned to teaching and coaching at the high school level. He taught for 10 years and began his work towards his doctorate, looking to return to higher education.
As part of his research, Gilsdorf surveyed presidents, senior or executive vice presidents and chief academic officers of institutions governed by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. The colleges where he had previously served were all under the direction of the council.
Gilsdorf found no significant differences in the responses of the different types of administrators except in a few areas, which was surprise. “Going into it, I thought there would be more differences between the responses of the presidents and the chief academic officers,” he said. “Overall, the similarities in their responses indicated that they shared core beliefs about athletics and competition.”
In the results from the surveys, Gilsdorf found that presidents were significantly more likely to agree that participating in athletics develops Christian maturity in athletes than either chief academic officers or senior vice presidents.
He also found that presidents were significantly more likely to disagree than chief academic officers that special considerations are granted to football and/or men’s basketball players for admission to the institution. Also, chief academic officers were significantly more likely to agree than senior vice presidents that coaches have been fired or asked to resign because they have not won enough.
Gilsdorf concluded that further study would be merited in surveys of the administrators to whom athletics departments directly report, senior athletic administration, head football and basketball coaches, athletes and other athletic programs’ role of and purpose for competition.