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Diane L. Williams, Ph.D.

A compassionate and dedicated coach, athlete and educator who wears many hats in the Kinesiology field.

Compassionate | Dedicated | Engaging
As a coach, athlete, and educator, Diane Williams brings many perspectives to her work. Before coming to the Hill, she coached track and volleyball, taught seventh-grade geography, facilitated HIV/AIDS educational workshops, and worked at colleges in Massachusetts, New York, and Iowa. She is intrigued by how sport, society, identities, and power interact and how much we can learn from the critical and historical study of these topics. She teaches Sport in American Society, Women in Sport, Sport Coaching and Management, and Introduction to Kinesiology.
When students take courses in Kinesiology, what do you hope they take away from the experience?
I enjoy teaching students to think critically about the history, context, cultures, and potential of sports and physical activity. I encourage students to apply the theories and research to their own experiences, bringing the texts to life through examples, questions, and discussions. This kind of learning involves risk-taking and community building; I hope students feel supported as they try out new ideas and learn more about the world around them, and see their potential to impact the future of sport and physical activity.
What brought you to teaching Kinesiology?
I love that Kinesiology is interdisciplinary. It addresses the science of human movement, how and why we move, who gets to participate, in what contexts, and how it makes us feel. I enjoy working with future doctors, physical therapists, teachers, researchers, and coaches, and invite them to keep thinking about the human side of their work. Kinesiology integrates scientific exploration with historical and cultural context of the way we live, work, play, and move in society.
You wrote a piece on the history and legacy of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) for The Washington Post. What prompted you to do this research?
The AIAW created and facilitated intercollegiate athletics for women in the 1970s and early 1980s, with over 970 colleges and universities offering 41 championships in 19 sports – yet its existence is almost unknown today. It was designed by physical educators who believed that competitive athletic involvement could be a coeducational part of a college experience, focusing on the experience of playing, not just winning. It was about collaboration and teamwork, as well as competition, and the AIAW centered the educational and athletic experience and well-being of women student-athletes. Learning about this organization changes the way we view the history of sport, leadership, and gender and opens up ideas for a more just, equitable, and inclusive sporting future.

About Prof. Williams

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology
Subject: Kinesiology and Topics in Sports
Department: Kinesiology

Outside of the Classroom


She played roller derby for eight years, skating as “Lady Hulk.”


During her first semester teaching at McDaniel, she adopted an adorable kitten named Margo.


She's a six-time NCAA Division III All-American in shot put (four times) and discus (twice).