Hayley Russell


Associate Professor in Health and Exercise Science and Director of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, Creativity, and Dialogue in Research and Sponsored Programs

Hayley Russell, PhD developed a lifelong love of sport and physical activity growing up in a small town in Nova Scotia. She further explored this interest by completing an undergraduate degree at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where she studied Human Kinetics and Psychology and completed an honors thesis on how psychological responses to sport-related injuries influence adherence behavior in injured varsity athletes. This first research project sparked her excitement to continue research in the field of sport and exercise psychology. 

Hayley went on to Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, to work with Dr. Jill Tracey exploring the role of health care professionals in addressing psychological responses to sport-related injuries in injured athletes, and ultimately completed a PhD at the University of Minnesota School of Kinesiology. Her dissertation work was with Dr. Diane Wiese-Bjornstal and examined the role of psychological responses to ACL reconstruction surgery in predicting physical outcomes, while also working on other research looking at psychological responses to marathon training in novice marathon runners.

After completing her PhD, Hayley was an Assistant Professor at Penn State Altoona for two years before joining the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Gustavus in the fall of 2016. She continues to conduct research in sport and exercise psychology and has most recently been exploring the long-term consequences of sport-related injuries in retired athletes and the impact of Strava use in runners. 

Hayley teaches classes in Sport Psychology, Exercise Psychology, Lifespan Development, and a First-Term Seminar on Youth Sport. Although Hayley loves sport and physical activity, she believes strongly that we should be mindful to not let our love of something limit our ability to think critically about it. She is passionate about helping students learn to critically evaluate their own biases about sport and physical activity, helping them to explore sport and physical activity as domains that can be both health-promoting and health-sacrificing, both inclusive and exclusionary, and to ultimately consider strategies to have more people have positive physical and psychosocial experiences in these domains. 

Hayley enjoys running, learning to X-country ski, reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, and spending time with her husband, JJ Akin ‘11 (Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication), their cats Cleo and Gus, and their dog Duke. 


BA Human Kinetics - St. Francis Xavier University, M.Sc. Kinesiology - Wilfrid Laurier University, Ph.D. Kinesiology - University of Minnesota

Courses Taught

HES-326 (Sport Psychology)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
HES-212 Lifespan Development 16 2022/FA, 2021/SP, 2020/FA, 2020/SP, 2019/FA, 2019/SP, 2018/FA, 2018/SP, 2017/FA, 2017/SP, and 2016/FA
FTS-100 FTS:Youth Sport 6 2022/FA, 2020/FA, 2019/FA, 2018/FA, and 2017/FA
HES-226 Exercise Psychology 5 2023/JN, 2022/S1, 2022/FA, 2022/JN, and 2021/FA
HES-211 Health Behavior 4 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, and 2017/SP
HES-221 Adolescent Health 3 2017/FA, 2017/SP, and 2016/FA
HES-244 ST:Exercise Psychology 2 2021/SP and 2021/JN
HES-344 ST:Sport Psychology 2 2020/SP and 2019/SP
HES-240 Sport Psychology 2 2019/JN and 2017/JN
HES-101 Foundatns of Wellbeing 2 2018/FA and 2018/SP
HES-391 IS:Sports Psych Research 1 2023/JN
NDL-223 Peer Malt I 1 2022/FA
NDL-323 Peer Malt II 1 2022/FA
HES-115 Beginning Running 1 2022/JN
PBH-330 Health Behavior 1 2021/SP
PSY-242 Forensic Psychology 1 2020/JN
HES-218 Foundations of Coaching 1 2019/SP