Professor spotlight: Duane Ambrose


Duane with his daughter Jenna Ambrose, AQ Alumna ‘15,  in Ireland.

Story by Veronica Burns, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Duane Ambrose

Aquinas Kinesiology professor Duane Ambrose is full of personality and passion for teaching. He spent last semester as one of the Ireland study abroad program faculty members and is looking forward to other opportunities he can gain at Aquinas.

Ambrose has a Bachelor’s Degree from University of Wisconsin-Superior, a Master’s Degree from Western Michigan University in Exercise Science with an Emphasis on Wellness, and completed his Doctor of Sport Management at the United States Sports Academy. When he entered college, Ambrose didn’t have much of an idea what he wanted to major in, but God guided him to his passion for teaching.

His family had an influence in his career path, one of his cousin’s calls it “the family business.” Ambrose’s grandpa taught in Michigan for 53 years, as did both his parents, and many of his 28 cousins.

Ambrose said, “Teaching in the wellness setting let me know that I liked it, and had a knack for it as well. I also wanted to have a big influence on people’s exercise habits through quality physical education. The wellness experiences led me to the conclusion that we were failing people, evidenced by how few adults exercise just for the health of it.”

For his love for exercise science, he said, “ I always loved science and I always loved sports too. So when I discovered you could do the both together it seemed like a huge bonus. I have the lifelong learners inquisitive mind and I wanted to learn more about what we know about the science of performance. From the bio-mechanics to the physiology of exercise, not to mention the nutritional component. They easily keep my attention.”

Ambrose is going on his fifteenth year at Aquinas and found his way to teaching here by accident. He earned his teaching certificate at Aquinas, and this led him to teach a few classes as an adjunct. AQ students that observed him teaching physical education at a public school ended up recommending him to the college for a position they recently had open up. Everything fell perfectly into place.

Ambrose loved the similarities Aquinas had to UWS,“I felt like I had come home. I felt very honored to do almost the same thing that my dad [did].”

There is a lot that Ambrose enjoys about teaching at the college level. He noted two things, saying, “The relationships I have made, which is what teaching is about at any level. You all keep me young and my heart full.  The second is the multiplier effect of training future teachers that have the potential to impact many more young people with quality teaching and coaching.  The hardest thing about teaching is that every year you graduate some of your all time favorites.  But then some new kids take their place and make you whole again. I look forward to seeing alumni when they return and hearing about all they are doing. I just hope I had positive influence on their stay at AQ.”

In the Spring of 2016, Ambrose spent a semester abroad as one of the faculty members in Ireland. He said he was motivated to take on this position because he, “wanted to experience a different world and not a lot of schools have this as an option for faculty.”  He learned a lot about the country’s history, himself, and the people in the group (which included me).

“I learned how close you can get to 20 amazing young adults who capture your heart by their actions and effort and allowed me to be part of their experience of studying abroad. They supported me as much as I supported them through are incredible adventure.” Ambrose hopes to travel again soon with both his family and again as a faculty advisor.

Opportunities to both meet and help students is something he is looking forward to doing more oftenly. Next up, he’s possibly going to be serving as the advisor for the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua service trip.

About the Writer…

Veronica Burns, Senior Staff WriterVeronica Burns is a senior studying a dual business communication major and journalism. Her loves include cats and actor Tom Hiddleston.

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