Skip to main content

Tim Kempf: ‘It’s always been fun’

Tim Kempf

After a career of some three decades, the last 13 years of which have been spent at Boise State, Tim Kempf is ready for a change of scenery.

From Costa Rica. From the pickleball court. From behind the pages of his own creative writing. So many new vantage points to consider.

Kempf, a clinical associate professor and associate chair of the College of Health Sciences’ Department of Kinesiology at Boise State, got to campus the way many other faculty members have: as an adjunct.

Unlike other adjunct instructors, however, Kempf, whose career includes a Ph.D. from Purdue University and teaching positions at the University of Arizona in Tucson and the College of Idaho, along with a postdoc research fellowship at Rush Medical Center in Chicago, joined the full-time team —and flourished.

In 2011, the kinesiology program enrolled about 400 undergrads; that number has jumped, to about 900, making it the third-largest undergraduate program on campus. To Kempf, that speaks highly of program quality.

Tim Kempf stands next a treadmill in the Human Performance Laboratory
Tim Kempf stands next a treadmill in the Human Performance Laboratory

“It shows that there’s a demand in the market for the training and education that we are offering, and the confidence in the students, that they would use our program to help prepare them for careers in exercise science,” he said. “We definitely have a need and we definitely have a quality program to serve that need.”

Kempf’s passion for teaching is palpable. Asked what he’ll miss the most, he’s emphatic — spoiler alert, it’s not meetings.

“Hands down, it’s the interaction with the students,” Kempf said. “I thoroughly enjoy being in the classroom, in the laboratory and in the field, alongside the students.

“I just love their aptitude and enthusiasm for learning, and I learn tremendously from them as well.”

Coming in a close second? The feeling of higher ed.

“I like the university and academic environment, in terms of the collegial relationships that I have with faculty and staff. I like the open-minded, growth mindset of the academic, the university community,” he said. “It’s a place that fosters discovery, and the dissemination of knowledge and information.”

Kempf was recognized for his teaching when he was named the Clinical, Lecturer or Research Faculty Honoree for the 2022-2023 Boise State University Foundation Excellence Awards.

Efforts to encourage diversity and a broad variety of perspectives are critical, Kempf believes.

“I do like the initiatives of the university to develop inclusive values, inclusivity that says anyone can come to campus and get an education, that everyone deserves to be here if they want it,” he said, noting that he has been able to make a substantial contribution over the years, including teaching many different courses, conducting research and serving as faculty-out-of-residence for the BroncoFit Living Learning Community. “I have always appreciated the opportunity to express myself as a faculty member in different ways. That’s been nice, refreshing to me to be able to do that.

“It speaks to the spirit of academia, that you can learn and share your learning, and that everyone is allowed to be part of that, and I’ve been allowed to do that.”

Pickleball, traveling with family, working on his own writing and catching up with friends, all are calling. But it’s not because Kempf hasn’t had a blast for the past 30 or so years.

“I have always liked coming to work,” he said. “I never thought of it as a job. It’s always been fun and enjoyable, to come here and do the things that I do.”