Penny Werthner

Interim Provost & Vice-President (Academic)

University of Calgary


Faculty of Kinesiology

Contact information

Research and teaching

Psychosocial Aspects of Health & Sport

  • Neuro-Physiology
  • Sport Psychology

Research Interests

Penny Werthner, PhD, has a research program focused on three major aspects:

(1) understanding how high performance coaches learn, utilizing Wenger’s social learning theory,

(2) issues facing women coaches, and

(3) the use of heart rate variability biofeedback and neurofeedback for optimal performance in high performance sport.

Her current research includes an on-going investigation of cortical activity in high performance athletes utilizing mobile eeg, and a SSHRC funded investigation of the promotion and assessment of social learning with parasport coaches and their organizations.



Werthner has written dozens of peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. She currently serves on the editorial board for the International Sport Coaching Journal as well as a reviewer for the journals of Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise and Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. She is also a member of the editorial board for the Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching. 

Werthner is a founder and past Chair of the Canadian Sport Psychology Association (CSPA/ACPS), a member of the International Council for Coach Education, an advisor to the Coaching Association of Canada Women in Coaching Program and a learning facilitator for the National Coaching Certificate Program (NCCP).


Dr. Penny Werthner, PhD, became the Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology in 2012 and left the role in 2022 to become the Interim Provost & Vice-President (Academic). She is one of Canada’s most distinguished consultants in the field of sport psychology. She has served as a sport psychology consultant for Canada's national and Olympic teams since 1985. She is one of the founding members of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) and has been named one of the Top 20 Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity by CAAWS. 

Werthner has more than 30 years of distinguished experience in sport psychology consulting, sport-related management consulting, program management and academic leadership. She came to the University of Calgary after spending 12 years at the University of Ottawa as Director and Associate Dean of the School of Human Kinetics. 

Read more about her in the University of Calgary UToday article: Training the mind of an Olympian.