TRACI THOMPSON, MS, ACSM HFD, CSCS portrait
  • Director, PEAK Health and Fitness, Wellness and Integrative Health
  • Adjunct Instructor, Nutrition & Integrative Physiology
  • Associate Professor (Clinical), Health and Kinesiology

Current Courses

Fall 2022

  • KINES-5830
    Journal Readings
  • H EDU-5991
    EMS Internship
  • H EDU-5990
    Comm Health Internship
  • KINES-4921
    Peer Tutoring
  • KINES-6910
    Masters Internship
  • H EDU-5991
    EMS Internship
  • KINES-7954
    Prac. Eff. Tch. Doc.
  • KINES-4999
    Honors Thesis/Project
  • H EDU-5990
    Comm Health Internship
  • KINES-4810
    Kinesiology Internship
  • H EDU-5992
    OSH Internship
  • H EDU-5992
    OSH Internship

Summer 2022

Spring 2022

Summer 2019

Professional Organizations

  • 2015 - present. Position : Fellow.
  • 2001 - present. Position : Health Fitness Director.
  • 2001 - present. Position : Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Practice History

  • PEAK’s core responsibility is to provide practical training and education for undergraduate and graduate College of Health students. Every year, I train, supervise, and mentor 8-14 graduate students and 30-50 undergraduate students as they provide a wide variety of professional level health, fitness, and wellness services to the university community through PEAK. The list below includes programs I developed and supervise. • Health and Fitness Testing • U Employee Fitness Program fitness instruction, personal training and management • Nutrition Consultation and workshops • Wellness Coaching • Weekly Interdisciplinary Journal Club • U Employee Fitness Program management • CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program • Build-a-Bone workshop • Corporate Wellness Programing, Implementation and Evaluation • Park Rx (partnership with PRT dept) • Introduction to Mindfulness Course • Intuitive Eating workshops • Intensive Lifestyle Program • Food Pharmacy. College of Nursing. 2013 - 2013 .
    http://www.health.utah.edu/peak/

Teaching Philosophy

The most formative and authentic learning experiences of my life have occurred outside the classroom. Internships, volunteer work, my first job in my field—all were opportunities to test what I had been taught in a classroom in a real-world setting. They were transformative in part because they came with uncertainty, adventure and risk taking. I knew I might experience success or failure. Each challenge was an opportunity to build confidence and skills or to practice humility, creativity, and resilience. Because of the powerful impact that these experiences had on my own learning, I strive to construct an experiential learning environment for my students.

Much of my teaching occurs through my role as director of PEAK Health and Fitness, an educational clinic within the University of Utah College of Health. PEAK’s core responsibility is to provide practical training and education for undergraduate and graduate College of Health students. Every year, I train, supervise, and mentor 8-14 graduate students and 30-50 undergraduate students as they provide a wide variety of professional level health, fitness, and wellness services to the university community through PEAK.



One of the best parts of my job is getting to know the students. I meet one-on-one with each student that works in PEAK several times per semester. I aim to craft a climate of trust and commitment and to create an environment in which students are empowered to ask questions, step outside their comfort zones, and even fail occasionally. We talk about everything from what they are doing in their academic classes to what their dream job would be. Each student is charged with creating individualized goals to clarify what they want to accomplish while they are working with me in PEAK. Their ideas and visions of how they want to practice in the fields of health, fitness and nutrition are inspiring.

PEAK Health and Fitness did not exist in its current form before I arrived. Before I was hired as its director, there was only one graduate student worker who conducted basic fitness testing and taught 2 fitness classes per week. There was no university employee fitness program, no Build a Bone workshops, no nutrition consultations or workshops, no interdisciplinary journal club, no bod pod body composition or resting metabolic rate testing, no partnerships with the Diabetes Prevention Program or the School of Dance. Over the years, I have created these opportunities for students to be challenged by a wide variety of real-world experiences. Each opportunity has been chosen to advance and enhance students' community engagement and professional growth through integration of classroom theory with planned, supervised, practical, and meaningful work experience.

Additionally, I have encouraged and supported students to create their own projects. For example, one student wanted to teach courses about intuitive eating, although PEAK had never offered that sort of course before. I challenged her to create a course and, once she did that, I facilitated the necessary administrative tasks to make it happen. Now, Intuitive Eating courses are a regular PEAK offering and new students can teach Intuitive Eating moving forward.

I love witnessing the transformation of a student with lots of academic education who finally has the opportunity to put it into practice. There’s a huge growth of confidence as the student becomes better able to trust in the education they received. I have also seen that students who leave their comfort zone gain new skills and the self-efficacy and confidence to deal with challenges. I believe that my major contributions to the education of students are first, creating lots of opportunities to do this, and second, encouraging students to take that leap. After a while, a new comfort zone is created, expanding the student’s ability to grow further. Students who regularly expand their comfort zone become more resilient in the face of uncertainty.

I’ve always been a big believer in the benefits of risk taking. However, the longer I teach, the better I get at meeting students where they are, taking the time to understand individual strengths and to learn where the edge of each student’s comfort zone lies. Some students need small, methodical steps. Some students are up for larger leaps. Too much challenge can lead to panic. I strive to create opportunities that allow each student enough of a challenge to stretch them, leading to growth and learning.

I believe that education is a process of evolution. My role is to help students step out of the safe, familiar, and routine so that they grow. My favorite thing to witness is a student evolving from someone who resists trying new things to someone who seeks opportunities for growth, who is not afraid to challenge themselves to see what they are capable of. I believe that when this becomes a habit, the student can reap benefits throughout life, including reaching their highest potential.

 

Courses I Teach

  • H EDU-5992 - OSH Internship
  • KINES-4921 - Peer Tutoring
  • KINES-4810 - Kinesiology Internship
  • KINES-4999 - Honors Thesis/Project
  • H EDU-5990 - Comm Health Internship
  • H EDU-5991 - EMS Internship
  • KINES-7954 - Prac. Eff. Tch. Doc.
  • H EDU-5990 - Comm Health Internship
  • H EDU-5991 - EMS Internship
  • KINES-6910 - Masters Internship
  • KINES-5830 - Journal Readings
  • H EDU-5992 - OSH Internship
  • H EDU-5991 - EMS Internship
  • KINES-6910 - Masters Internship
  • H EDU-5990 - Comm Health Internship
  • H EDU-5992 - OSH Internship
  • H EDU-5990 - Comm Health Internship
  • KINES-4810 - Kinesiology Internship
  • KINES-4921 - Peer Tutoring
  • H EDU-5991 - EMS Internship
  • H EDU-5992 - OSH Internship
  • KINES-4810 - Kinesiology Internship
  • KINES-4999 - Honors Thesis/Project
  • H EDU-5991 - EMS Internship
  • H EDU-5992 - OSH Internship
  • KINES-4921 - Peer Tutoring
  • KINES-7954 - Prac. Eff. Tch. Doc.
  • KINES-6910 - Masters Internship
  • H EDU-5990 - Comm Health Internship
  • KINES-4810 - Kinesiology Internship