SHAPE recognizes professor’s lifetime dedication to physical fitness, bestows highest award

A champion of quality physical education, Sims has received the highest honor from SHAPE America Southern District.

ShapeJoomlaPast recipients of the Donna Lee Dunaway Medal: Donna Hester, Ph.D., executive director of ASAHPERD; Karen Dowd, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Central Oklahoma; Andrew Lewis, Ph.D., College of Charleston; Sandra Sims, Ph.D., associate professor at UAB; Milton Wilder, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Delta State University; Cam Kerst-Davis, Ph.D., associate professor at Middle Tennessee State University; Donna Dunaway, Ph.D., retired professor from Samford University; and Bill Dickens, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Northwestern State UniversitySandra Sims, Ph.D., associate professor of education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has made numerous career-long contributions to physical education at the state, district and national levels. Now her work has now been recognized by the Society of Health and Physical Educators Southern District. The group awarded Sims with the Donna L. Dunaway Medal, the highest award bestowed on a member that honors the professional and career-long contributions to the Southern District states by Donna Lee Dunaway.  

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award than Dr. Sims,” said Eric Plaisance, Ph.D., chair of the UAB Department of Human Studies. “Her passion for physical education and dedication to the field are unparalleled. Both students and colleagues alike recognize Dr. Sims as a leader and encourager. We are proud of the work she does in the classroom and community.”

Sims, the ninth recipient of the award, has a passion for educating youth and professionals on the importance of physical activity and quality physical education. During her 37-year career, Sims has demonstrated exemplary contributions and service to the Southern District and her profession.

Sims received her undergraduate degree from University of Montevallo and began her teaching career at Appalachian and Jemison high schools and the Department of Youth Services School. She coached multiple sports, as well as supervised student teachers from several colleges and universities.

Sims received her Master of Arts and Educational Specialist degree from UAB and Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Southern Mississippi at which time she began a new chapter in her life as a college professor joining the UAB School of Education faculty in 2005.

Her leadership roles for her state association (Alabama State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) include President, Vice President for Physical Education and General Division and chairing or serving on various committees. In the Southern District, her leadership roles have included President, Vice President of Recreation and General Division, advocacy and membership chair, parliamentarian and service on a variety of committees and task forces.

Sims has been recognized as Alabama District 3 Teacher of the Year, Coach of the Year and University Educator of the Year, and received the Pathfinder Award and NAGWS Honor Award, a National Association for Girls and Women in Sports Award that recognized contributions to girls and women in sports. She was recognized by Alabama and Southern District as the Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year, the Secondary School Physical Education Teacher of the Year and received the Honor Award from both Alabama and Southern District. Sims continues to serve Southern District with the same commitment and passion as at the state level.

The Dunaway Medal honors those individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions and given meritorious service to SHAPE America Southern District over a significant period.