Martin began his Fulbright position by training physical education faculty at the University of Ruhuna in Matara to teach the first university-level interdisciplinary academic course in physical education in the country – "Physical Fitness and Health Management." He also formulated an equipment plan for the university's fitness facilities, established an outdoor walking/jogging/running circuit and designed an exercise chart to record students' progress.
"I developed an exercise chart designed specifically for the University of Ruhuna indoor and outdoor facilities," Martin said. "It is my hope that this chart will be used for health-related physical fitness classes."
He then moved to the University of Peradeniya in Kandy where he did workshops on topics related to health, physical fitness and exercise physiology for faculty, staff, students, sports medicine physicians and professionals in the community. In addition, he advised the Department of Physiology in the Faculty of Medicine on the development of the first certificate and diploma program in exercise and sport science in Sri Lanka.
Martin also made contributions to the National Institute of Sport Science (Ministry of Sport) and the Ministry of Education in the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo. On April 25, he presented Susil Premanayantha, the nation's minister of education, with Physical Best and FITNESSGRAM/ACTIVITYGRAM resources donated by Human Kinetics publishers. These resources (books and fitness assessment software) developed through the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas, are designed to educate, challenge and encourage all children to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes for a healthy and fit life.
These same resources were presented to A.A.J. Rajaratne, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Peradeniya. Rajaratne will utilize them to conduct the first health-related physical fitness assessment of children in Sri Lanka. He intends to establish a national database for health-related physical fitness assessment.
In addition to his work in Sri Lanka, Martin shared his expertise regionally by presenting a paper titled "Physical Education in Sri Lanka" at a regional Fulbright Conference in Jaipur, India, and by a Fulbright Public Lecture titled "Fitness for Life" at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China.
Helen Martin, adjunct assistant professor in the Health, Fitness and Sport Department at Wittenberg, accompanied her husband and made her own contributions by teaching Fitness Walking classes at both the University of Ruhuna and the University of Peradeniya.
"The past five months have provided incredible professional and personal experiences," Tom Martin said. "We were in Sri Lanka for four months working, touring and immersing ourselves in the culture. In addition, we have been able to fulfill some lifetime goals – travel to Egypt (e.g. pyramids), India (e.g. Taj Mahal), China (e.g. Great Wall), and fly around the world.
"These experiences are now part of our fabric and will influence our professional and personal views and actions as we move forward in our lives," he added. "The information and insights gained will be shared with students, faculty, staff, community and professional associates and audiences."
Written By: Ronni Appenbrink '09
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