Have you met.... Nick Holt?

On July 1, 2021, Dr. Nick Holt will step up as Interim Dean to lead the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation - ranked top ten in the world.

01 July 2021

As an award-winning instructor and an internationally recognized researcher in the field of youth sport and physical activity, Nick earned his BSc in Geography with Physical Education and Sports Science, Loughborough UK (1995), MSc in Exercise and Sport Psychology, Exeter University, UK (1998) and his PhD in Physical Education from the University of Alberta (2002). Nick has been with the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation since 2004. Prior to being appointed Interim Dean, Nick served two years as Vice Dean and four years as Associate Dean Research for KSR.

Nick has published over 200 journal articles and book chapters, along with 4 books. In 2017 he was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada, College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists in recognition of his work linking research and practice in youth sport and physical activity. 

Spend the next few minutes getting to know Nick a little better!

Tell us about the focus of your research program

I focus on children's participation in sport and physical activity.

What is your favourite course to teach?

A graduate-level course on youth sport. Most of the students who take the course are actively involved in youth sport, so it feels like I can make a difference. It also provides an opportunity to integrate my research into my teaching, which is gratifying.

What is your first memory at the U of A?

I first came to the U of A as a PhD student, and then came back as a professor a few years after I graduated. On my first weekend in Edmonton as a PhD student we got dropped off in Devon and paddled a canoe back to Edmonton. I'd never seen a river valley or scenery like that before.

I'd also have to say meeting my wife Carole. It's not my first memory, but it's an important one! We met through soccer -- she played soccer for the Pandas and I played for the Bears

What’s something that people might be surprised to learn about you?

I have a small collection of maps. I just like maps. I've got those little tourist maps and I've got some proper maps for some of the mountain areas I like to visit. Sometimes I just read the maps. I know it sounds a bit odd, but my undergraduate degree is a joint honours in Geography with Sport Science, so I've always liked maps.

What’s your favourite hobby or pastime?

Being a weekend warrior. I like to ride, x-country ski, and I run ultramarathons -- very slowly. I also coach soccer in my spare time.


Where is your favourite place on campus?

Part of the U of A property on North Campus extends down into the river valley and there is an awesome single track trail down there. It's quiet and secluded and gives me a peaceful spot I can run to in the middle of a stressful day.

If you were enrolling in one course, program or degree right now, what would it be?

I'd take our Indigenous Sport and Recreation Graduate Certificate

What’s something your coworkers don’t know about you?

I'm quite good at Scrabble. I play on my tablet most nights before bed.

What’s a weird pet peeve you have?

I hate seeing litter in our natural areas of the city. So I pick up garbage when I am out running or walking. When I come back from a run I've usually got a pocket full of trash.

You can invite anyone — alive or dead, real or fictional — to dinner. Who would it be?

I never met my paternal grandfather. Apparently, he was some sort of amateur inventor. My dad used to tell me stories about the things my grandfather created - none of which took off as far as I know. So I'd like to meet my grandfather and learn about these failed inventions.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

I would tell me to talk to people and seek help for any mental health issues. When I was 18 it was considered a taboo subject.

What is the biggest strength/opportunity that you see for the faculty in the next year?

There are two. First, we have an opportunity to grow our undergraduate enrollment. We turn away too many qualified students every year. And as we grow, we can make our Faculty a more diverse and welcoming place. Second, we are looking forward to starting a joint International School of Sport, Recreation, and Tourism in partnership with Beijing Sport University. These initiatives will enable us to sustain and grow our world-class teaching and research.