Mary Rudisill

School Director & Wayne T. Smith Distinguished Professor

photo of Mary Rudisill

Office: 224 Kinesiology Building

Units: School of Kinesiology

Campus Mail: 301 Wire Road


Phone: (334) 844-1458

Academic Areas

Exercise Science



Ph.D in Movement Science (Motor Behavior), 1985, Florida State University

M.S. in Physical Education (Sport Psychology), 1982, Appalachian State University

B.A. in Physical Education (K-12 Teacher Certification), 1981, Appalachian State University

Teaching Interests

  • Motor behavior courses

Research Interests

Mary E. Rudisill is the Director and a Distinguished Professor of Motor Development in the School of Kinesiology at Auburn University.

She collaborates with early childhood motor specialists around the world. She is a naturalistic researcher in the Pediatric Lab within the Motor Behavior Center at Auburn University and is the director of a research program designed to create and investigate model physical play programs for young children. Her primary research objectives have been to learn more about what motivates children to learn to move and engage in physical activity.

Over the past 30 years, she advanced from studying this topic in laboratory settings to intervening in naturalistic settings. This research has lead to the development of field-tested motor interventions that are based on achievement goal theory and self-determination theory.

She has published 6 books and over 60 papers related to this research topic, and she is internationally recognized for her work in early childhood motor development. Her goal is to transform physical education and play programs for young children into highly motivating experiences that promote lifelong physical engagement and healthy lifestyles.