Donetta Cothran
(812) 855-6430
PH 179G

  • University of Maryland, Ph.D., 1996
  • Western Kentucky University, M.A.E,, 1992
  • Georgetown College, B.A., 1984
  • SPH K150 Introduction to Kinesiology and Public Health
  • SPH K214 Basic Methods of Teaching Physical Education
  • SPH K414 Senior Seminar in Physical Education
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
  • Chair, American Educational Research Association Special Interest Group on Research and Learning in Physical Education: 2009-2012
  • National Academy of Kinesiology Fellow (#505): 2011
  • Fellow of the Research Consortium of American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation: 2000
  • School of HPER Career Outstanding Teacher Award: 2011
Research Interests

My research examines how schools impede or enhance children's wellness and knowledge, with a particular focus on physical activity and participants' perspectives. Recent completed work is a series of multi-year, funded investigations of schools, physical activity, and at-risk populations. The school systems involved range from large urban school districts serving over 100,000 students, a majority of whom were African American, to smaller rural schools serving a few hundred Native American students. My newest project focuses on student perceptions of meaning and boredom from an international perspective.

Current Funded Projects

UPSTART: A physical activity intervention for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Indiana CTSI CHeP – Trailblazer Award.

A randomized control trial to assess the efficacy of a gamified mobile application intervention to increase physical activity and reduce anxiety in adults with autism spectrum diagnoses (ASD). Indiana University Collaborative Research Grants.

Tracking Student Movement in the SPHB through Learning Analytics. Indiana University Center for Learning Analytics and Student Success (CLASS)

Selected Publications


Cothran, D.J., Keating, X., & Huang, H. (2017) (Eds.) Learning for a Lifetime: Effective Secondary Physical Education Programs, Education Science Press House, Beijing, China.

Cothran, D.J. (in press). Designing effective programs: Creating curriculum to enhance student learning. In C.D. Ennis (Ed). Routledge Handbook of Physical Education Pedagogy.

Cothran, D.J. (2016). Designing effective programs: Creating curriculum to enhance student learning (pp.39-53). In C.D. Ennis (Ed). Routledge Handbook of Physical Education Pedagogy. New York, NY: Routledge.

Cothran, D.J. & Keating, X. (2016) (Eds.) Learning for a Lifetime: Effective Secondary Physical Education Programs, Beijing, China: Education Science Press House.

Cothran, D.J., & Kulinna, P.H. (2014). Classroom management in physical education. In E. Emmer and E. Sabornie (Eds.) Handbook of Classroom Management. (2d ed) (pp.239-260). New York: Routledge


Arnaez, J. Frey, G.C., Cothran, D.J., Lion, M., & Chomistek, A.K. (2018). Physical wellness among gaming adults: cross-sectional study. JMIR Serious Games, 6(2), e12.

Kulinna, P.H., Ramirez, E., Jahn, J., Cothran, D.J.,Burns, R.D., & Kloeppel, T. (2017). Predictors of Native American children’s perceived status of health and physical shape. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research. DOI: 10.1111/jabr.12089

McMullen, J., Kulinna P. H., & Cothran, D., (2014). Physical activity opportunities during the school day: Classroom teachers' perceptions of using activity breaks in the classroom. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 33, 511 – 527.

Cothran, D.J. (2013). "And I hope you see things that startle you": What students can teach us about physical education. Kinesiology Review, 2, 76-80.

Cothran, D.J., Kulinna, P.H., & Garn, A. (2010). Classroom teachers and physical activity integration. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 1381-1388.