Dr. Joel Schuldheisz is the Chair for the Department of Exercise and Sport Science (ESS), a major that was first offered at Concordia University in the fall of 2009 and has grown to over 100 students. Joel is passionate about providing relevant practical experiences for future fitness professionals and modeling healthy behaviors. The goal of the ESS Program is to apply the best in science and sports training knowledge to help students transform their own lives as well as those they will serve in their future careers.
His rich background in a variety of sports and teaching at a several levels enables him to help ESS students to bridge the gap between theory and practice. By providing current evidence-based cases and connections with the fitness industry in the Portland metropolitan area the ESS program is able to create a unique and engaging learning environment.
Joel began his teaching career in 1978 at Mt. Hope-Redemption Lutheran School in Bloomington, Minnesota where he helped to establish a dynamic physical education curriculum and encompassing athletic program for fifth through eighth graders. After completing his M.Ed. in Physical Education, with an emphasis in biomechanics, from the University of Minnesota in 1982, Joel taught biology, religion, physical education and coached football and basketball at Lutheran High School North, in Mt. Clemens, MI. He went on to serve as an assistant football coach and the head men's basketball coach at his alma mater, Concordia University- St. Paul, MN, for the 1984-85 seasons.
In 1985 Joel accepted the position of athletics director and men's basketball coach at Concordia College (now University) Portland. For nine years he served in that dual role before taking a leave of absence to pursue his Ph.D. in Sport Pedagogy and Adult Education at Oregon State University. Upon his return to Concordia in 1997, Joel resumed his leadership in the athletic department and continued teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels. In 2008, Joel transitioned from athletics to ESS and helped to develop the curriculum and provide leadership for this exciting new major.
Joel and his wife Mary have been blessed with two children and one granddaughter. He serves as a volunteer at Trinity Lutheran Church and School by teaching bible class, gardening, and assisting as a lay minister. In addition, he is Chair of the Concordia University Executive Committee of the Faculty and member the Concordia Neighborhood Association Board. In his free time, Joel enjoys bicycling, swimming, sailing, and windsurfing.