Faculty spotlight: Mike Wendinger

Meet Assistant Professor Mike Wendinger, a longtime UMD employee who recently joined the Department of Applied Human Sciences.

When did you start at UMD?

I joined the faculty at UMD this August as an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences and teach in the Exercise & Rehabilitation Science program. However, I’ve been at UMD since 1998 as both an athletic trainer and strength coach in the Athletic Department as well as an adjunct instructor for UMD.

Why did you choose to work at UMD?

I have found the faculty, staff, and administration to demonstrate a true commitment to the development of the whole student. While the students at UMD have displayed a commitment and maturity to further their own education. This makes UMD a wonderful and safe place to pursue creative and innovative pedagogical practices. In addition, an opportunity to join the incredible faculty within the Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences major was an opportunity I could not pass up.

What do you like most about your job?

The daily opportunities to engage directly with the students and share my love for the disciplines in which I teach. Every day I can think, discuss, and share what I care most about—and that is how the amazing human body works, acts, and reacts in our environment. In addition, serving as a mentor for students and helping them determine what they are passionate about and what they want to pursue is very gratifying.

What advice do you have for students?

I often speak to my students about the willingness and comfortability of failing. Without frequent failing, it’s difficult for new growth while acknowledging sometimes this is antithetical to how students view education. I also try to express to them the importance of facts, logical analysis, and critical thinking are equally important, and we need to spend time in all of these places. Therefore, my advice to students is to make mistakes, ask a lot of questions, and be patient with their own learning, understanding these are processes that take time.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy many forms of exercise, including walking, biking and hiking as well as gardening. My mother was an avid reader and my father enjoyed woodworking. Both of those hobbies have been passed on to me. Lastly, in the last few years, my wife and I have increasingly enjoyed going to concerts and traveling.