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MC adds exercise science, changes department name

Barry McNamara
Monmouth College is kicking physical education up a notch.

Positive changes to P.E. were approved at the past two faculty meetings. In December, faculty approved the addition of an exercise science major. In January, a follow-up request was approved to change the name of the department from “physical education” to “kinesiology.”

Kinesiology chair Kari Shimmin said it has been a goal of the department to expand its exercise science curriculum, and a major step was taken when the college hired assistant professor Sean Schumm, who came to Monmouth last fall after completing his Ph.D. in exercise science at Ohio University.

Adding exercise science will allow Monmouth to better serve the growing number of college students seeking careers in fields related to strength and conditioning, physical therapy, personal training and athletic training.

Meanwhile, said Shimmin, “the certification side to teach P.E. in the public school system will stay the same. We will continue to offer a major in physical education, with the option of receiving an Illinois teacher certificate.”

With the new exercise science major comes new courses, many of which will be taught by Schumm. New offerings beginning in the Fall 2012 semester will include Functional Anatomy, Exercise Programming & Performance and Exercise Physiology II.

Regarding the latter course, Schumm noted, “The general course is a sophomore-level course with basic, introductory information. Exercise Physiology II will be a 400-level course, specifically for the majors.”

He continued, “What I’ve been seeing is a lot of students interested in sports and exercise. They want to get into performance training or to train athletes or to prepare for advanced schooling in other health-related professions. Now, these students will be able to use a major in exercise science at Monmouth to get the background they need.”

Schumm won’t have to handle the exercise science courses alone. For example, department member Melissa Bittner has a master’s degree in kinesiology and specializes in adapted physical education. Roger Haynes and George Perry have master’s degrees in physical education. Haynes will continue to teach biomechanics, while Perry has taught Personal and Community Health, which is required for exercise science majors.

Three other members of the department hold master’s degrees in sports management, including Molly McNamara, who teaches the Administration and Organization course that exercise science majors may elect to take, especially if they are interested in owning their own business one day.