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James A Baur

Assoc Dir Recreation

Recreation | Student and International Affairs

Areas of Expertise

I have always modestly consider myself a "Jack of all trades, but a master of none".... that is, until recently.  It seems that since the unveiling of the Dottie Dorion Fitness Center within the  new Student Wellness Center, I am receiving an increasing amount of inquiries from other universities asking, "who put your fitness center together? We've never seen anything like it".  My response is, "I guess I'm that one that can take credit for it,  but with 14 years of daydreaming, almost $1M to spend on equipment, 100% support from my superiors,  and countless scribbles of ideas on every imaginable writable surface and many, many, voicemails to myself so I wouldn't forget an idea or detail.... how could one expect anything less?"  So, it is coming to light; even to me, that fitness center development is my expertise.

My primary duties at UNF are to manage all fitness components of the new Student Wellness Complex and administrative  oversight of the facility itself.  Over the last 19 years of working in the fitness center and 16 years of managing it, I have trained and supervised close to 300  'budding fitness professionals' who are now running fitness centers, educating, and coaching  all over the country.


Masters of Science in Health, University of North Florida, 1999

Bachelors of Science in Health, University of North Florida, 1996


I was born in an exciting time in  the heart of the Space Coast, Titusville, Florida in 1974.  My father was a NASA Senior Configuration Analyst for the Space Shuttle program (formerly a middle school science teacher) , and my mother was a Kindergarten teacher.   It seems that with my Dad's Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines around the house and rocket stories from work, I was immersed in science and education daily. I believe this profoundly influenced my interest in science and education at an early age.   This developed my mind.

As far as developing my body, when I was a kid, I was always trying to keep up with my brother who was 6 years older than me. This consistent struggle made me faster and stronger than most of my friends.  I received the Presidential Physical Fitness Award signed by the great Ronald Reagan in 1984.  Although I was never in any little leagues and didn't have an interest in team sports, I was always one of the first picked for a team on the PE playground. This gave me confidence.  However, things changed when my brother went off to college and I entered middle school and puberty. My body changed and my physical abilities were not catching up because I had now become inactive.  A couple failed attempts at passing the physical fitness tests forced me to make a change.  I began jogging, doing monkeybars, pullups, and lifting weights.  The physical improvements brought on by self motivation was the beginning of a wonderful thing.  The next year, in high school,  I found myself taking home my "Personal Fitness" textbook and reading it for enjoyment.  I became very interested in nutrition and looked forward to my weight training classes every day.  The gym was where eventually this nerd showed the football jocks a thing or two.  I ran cross country for 2 years and wrestled for a season.  I got into mountain biking prior to graduating high school and chose UNF for college partly because there were bike trails on campus , at the time.  My freshman year, I became a gym rat in the old Osprey Fitness Center during the week, and a mountain biking addict on the weekends at Hanna Park. I began working as a Fitness Trainer my sophomore year.  During my senior year we moved into the Dottie Dorion Fitness Center.  I was an Assistant Manager then.  I did my internship at Athletic Club Boca Raton in the Summer of '96 prior to graduation.  I missed the old fitness center at UNF and wanted to come back.  Luckily, the manager was leaving and I got the job.  At the same time, I enrolled in grad classes. I graduated  with my master's degree in '99 and in 2000  I married a  co-worker, Michelle,  who's father happened to have been my high school cross country coach.  I began teaching Weight Training in 2000 and Physiology of Exercise in 2002.  I created the Personal Training course in 2003.   Since then I have renovated 4 homes at the beach and manage them as rental properties, as a side job.  My wife stays busy caring for our 3 kids (Jimi 7, Raina 4, and Luna 1), teaching health and fitness courses at FSCJ, and running her own prenatal yoga business.   I have done the River Run 15 times, 2 marathons, maybe a dozen triathlons, countless road running  and mountain bike races, and 3 12-hour adventure races.  I have a very colorful and blessed life. 

My approach to teaching is simple:  I want to give the students their money's worth.  I want to arm them with practical knowledge that they will apply to their own personal health and be able to influence and educate others to begin an exponential perpetual process of education.


My wife's hand in marriage.




Contact Information

Building 61, Room 2029

(904) 620-1551