This story is adapted from a longer piece published on UVA Today.
Curry School Professor Art Weltman was one of three University of Virginia professors named 2020 Outstanding Faculty Award winners Friday by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia who push the boundaries of the typical classroom and of their academic disciplines, employing hands-on experiences for students and conducting game-changing scholarship to aid humanity.
Weltman, professor and founding chair of the Department of Kinesiology, also holds UVA’s 2019-21 Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship.
Since 1987, the SCHEV awards have recognized faculty at Virginia’s institutions of higher learning who exemplify the highest standards of teaching, scholarship and service. Among the 12 awardees from Virginia’s colleges and universities, UVA’s trio will be recognized for exemplifying “the highest standards of teaching, scholarship and service” at a March 9 ceremony in Richmond. Each will receive $7,500 from Dominion Energy, co-sponsor of the faculty awards.
Arthur Weltman was awarded the 2019-21 Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship earlier this year, an endowed chair that recognizes an eminent scholar for outstanding and enduring excellence in the teaching of undergraduates.
During his 35 years at UVA’s Curry School of Education and Human Development, he has led its exercise physiology program. Curry School Dean Robert Pianta appointed him the founding chair of the new Department of Kinesiology in 2013.
He also founded and directs the Exercise Physiology Core Laboratory, funded by the National Institutes of Health for 30 years, and holds a joint appointment in the School of Medicine. Weltman’s research focuses on the role of intense and regular exercise in health and disease. He and his collaborators have contributed to understanding how exercise affects individuals from children to older adults.
Through his exercise physiology courses, he has influenced thousands of graduate and undergraduate students and trained scientists in exercise intervention. His students engage in the exercise research as participants as well as investigators. They have written about how much they learn in his challenging classes and how much they appreciate his laid-back approach and availability.
Weltman also helped to initiate both peer and alumni mentoring programs, and he continues to serve as a resource for students long after they graduate. Many have gone on to academic careers and point to his mentorship for influencing their success.
Recognized by the Seven Society and the Z Society for his passion and devotion to teaching at the University, Weltman wrote that “the opportunity to teach and learn from students in and outside of the classroom is one of the joys of my job and among the most rewarding experiences of my career.”
He added that he is “both honored and humbled to be named a recipient of this prestigious award. From my perspective, this award is a testament to the talented students, faculty and staff who I have had the pleasure of working with over the last 35 years at UVA,” he wrote in an email about the SCHEV award.
His research is known nationally and internationally. The NIH has funded his research projects, many with cross-disciplinary collaborators and students, for more than 30 years. He has published 246 papers in refereed journals at last count, many with student co-authors, and his work has an exceptionally high rate of citation by other researchers.
“The opportunity to teach and learn from students in and outside of the classroom is one of the joys of my job and among the most rewarding experiences of my career.”
Some of the topics he and colleagues have studied include whether strength training is safe and effective for prepubescent children, and how high-intensity exercise affects growth hormone release or cardiometabolic risk in older adults.
He has served as an exercise physiology adviser for the Department of Athletics at UVA since 1990, as well as for a number of professional sports teams.