Dr. Rebecca A. Hess


Department of Exercise Sciences and Sport Studies


Dr. Hess received the 2009 Presidential Faculty Award for Teaching at Cal U as well as the 2004 Faculty Professional Development Committee's recipient for outstanding teaching and learning.  A former certified personal trainer and professional dancer, Rebecca has extensive training and teaching experience as a dance educator and researcher in the area of human movement and postural control.


Dr. Hess completed her Ph.D. in developmental movement studies, focusing on motor control from the University of Pittsburgh, and post-doctoral research in the Balance Lab at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Eye and Ear Institute.

Rebecca has used dance as a therapeutic tool in acute care and outpatient physical therapy labs and continues this work in injury prevention regionally and nationally.  While teaching in undergraduate and graduate athletic training programs for over 15 years, she is currently a professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies, and has also taught modern dance for the Department of Theatre and Dance while working as a liaison for the dance minor. Rebecca served as the vice president of dance, as well as University dance teacher of the year 2011, for the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (PSAHPERD). 

Dr. Hess has presented with her graduate athletic training students nationally and regionally as a past associate member of the NATA/EATA, and served as an adjunct research fellow for Rocky Mount University of Health Professions as a dissertation adviser. She is a past member and presenter for the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance's (AAHPERD now SHAPE) National Dance Association (NDA), and active member of PSAHPERD, and IADMS.  She has published articles in various journals including the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science on dance science and injury prevention as well as the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Rebecca is currently serving on the Certification Commission and Research Committee for the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA).

Hands-on Learning Opportunities

Combining professional service with faculty/student research:

  • Current professor in research, dissertation chair, and dissertation committees for DHSc program in Health Science and Exercise Leadership (2017-)
  • Faculty advisor/ reviewer for the Honors Program student theses (1999-present).
  • Past University Research Director (URC) for Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society for the Human Sciences.  California University of Pennsylvania.
  • Past Graduate faculty advisor and committee member for Athletic Training Education student thesis research, Department of Health Science & Sport Studies (1993- 2009); Department of Health Science (to 2015).
  • Mentor the development of in-class projects with senior athletic training education majors and undergraduate ESSS students to presented posters/papers on campus as a part of Academic Excellence Day, regionally, and/or nationally as an extension of the course (2000-2012).
  • B.S.: Physical Education, specializing in Dance, West Virginia University
  • M.S.: Physical Education, specializing in Motor Learning and Development, West Virginia University
  • M.F.A. hours: Dance and Motor Development, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Ph.D.: Developmental Movement Studies, specializing in Motor Learning and Control, University of Pittsburgh

Email: hess_ra@calu.edu

Phone: 724-938-4356

Office: Hamer Hall Room 237