Dr. Janet Harris is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Exercise & Nutritional Sciences who retired in 2010. She completed her Bachelor’s degree (1965) and Master’s degree (1966) at UCLA and her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in 1972. Her academic specialty is sociocultural analyses of exercise and sport. During her doctoral work, she taught for two years at CSU Stanislaus, and upon completion of her Ph.D. she became an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she was located for 18 years and achieved the rank of Professor. She then moved to CSU Los Angeles, where she served for 8 years as Chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science. In 2006 she joined the Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University as Department Chair.
Throughout her career, she was an active teacher and scholar in the area of sociocultural studies of exercise and sport. She also served in many faculty leadership capacities at department, college, and university levels. She is an Emeritus Fellow in the National Academy of Kinesiology; and she was President of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, President of the AAHPERD Research Consortium, Editor of Quest, and the 1992 Amy Morris Homan Lecturer for the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education.
Throughout her career, she published 21 articles in peer-reviewed publications, along with numerous other papers and chapters in professional works and technical reviews. She authored a research monograph titled Athletes and the American Hero Dilemma, and she co-edited two other books: Play, Games and Sports in Cultural Contexts (with Roberta Park), and Introduction to Kinesiology (with Shirl Hoffman). Her research focused primarily on understandings of sport—what sport means to people—for both participants and spectators.