The BJU School of Education recently announced the creation of a new division — the Division of Health, Exercise and Sports Science — and three new programs within the division.
According to Dr. Brian Carruthers, dean of the School of Education, the restructuring will result in the elimination of the Division of Physical Education and its one major, Health, Fitness and Recreation. Three new programs, bachelor’s degrees in sports management and in exercise science and an associate degree in health fitness training, will be added. Carruthers said the associate degree is designed for students who desire to become personal trainers.
Carruthers said the exercise science major will be divided into three tracks — pre-physical therapy, nutrition and exercise science — which will allow students to choose their focus. Present pre-physical therapy majors can still meet all the requirements in this new major in order to pursue a doctor of physical therapy degree after completing their bachelor’s program.
According to Carruthers, pre-physical therapy students who can finish their degrees by August 2015 may finish in the old program, but many of these students are choosing to switch to the new program. He’s encouraged that the students are making the switch to the new program because he thinks it will better equip them for their future careers.
Carruthers said the new program will better prepare students for jobs after graduation. “We wanted to position our students so they could be more marketable when they graduate or go on to grad school,” he said.
One aspect of the new programs that Carruthers is especially excited about is the inclusion of a six-credit-hour internship. He said it will be the capstone event for the second semester of senior year, where students will find an organization in the community, apply for an internship and put in 240 hours of work with that organization.
“They will have worked three and a half years getting all of the book knowledge,” Carruthers said, “and then they have the opportunity to put it into practice.”
Carruthers said he and others in the School of Education are currently in the process of contacting organizations in the community to provide a variety of potential internships for students in the program. He said the internships will be based on each student’s interest, such as occupational therapy, personal training or corporate training.
“Lord willing, [the internship] should create some great opportunities for them to walk into a job market once they graduate,” he said.
According to Carruthers, another aspect of the new programs is the addition of an exercise physiology lab in the Davis Field House. The lab will be equipped with treadmills and other equipment that measure breathing and oxygen intake.
Carruthers said the new division is fully staffed with credentialed faculty. Tony Miller, who just completed his doctorate, will anchor the new sports management program. Other faculty members include Neal Ring and Denny Scott, who will both complete their doctorates this summer, and adjunct professor Dr. Stephen Chen, a professor at University of South Carolina in Columbia, will come once per week to help with the exercise science program.
Currently, the new programs have a combined total of 61 students, and about 15 prospective students are interested in the programs.