If your career search has led you to explore the websites of many college and university departments, you might have difficulty locating the precise department that prepares students for careers in sport, exercise, and fitness. In some colleges the department might be called “health, physical education, and recreation;” in others it might be known as “sport science” or “sport studies,” and at still other institutions it may be called “exercise science,” “health and human performance,” or “kinesiology.” This confusion stems in part from the peculiarities in organizational structures across colleges and universities. For example, at most larger universities, separate departments offer separate degree programs in health or recreation, but in smaller institutions these programs are often included in a single department. In these cases you are likely to come across a “health, human performance, and recreation” department.This diversity in department names reflects the enormous expansion of our evolving field. Fifty years ago what was a field largely limited to preparing physical education teachers and coaches has expanded exponentially and now serves as the training ground for multiple careers. The name used by most of the forward-looking departments in the country is kinesiology,which is the science of movement or physical activity. The American Kinesiology Association (AKA), a national organi-zation of college and university departments, defines kinesiology as“an academic discipline which involves the study of physical activity and its impact on health, society, and quality of life. It includes, but is not limited to, such areas of study as exercise science, sports management, athletic training and sports medicine, socio-cultural analyses of sports, sport and exercise
12Hoffmanpsychology, fitness leadership, physical education-teacher education, and pre-professional training for physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine and other health related fields.”Owing to the influence of organizations such as National Academy of Kine-siology, the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education, and the National Association for Kinesiology and Physical Education in Higher Education, as well as its adoption by most of the leading departments in the country, the term kinesiologyis rapidly becoming the label of choice for the field. So, keep in mind that when we refer to kinesiology in this book we are talking about the same field of study denoted by other names as well.IDENTIFYING A HIGH-QUALITY KINESIOLOGY PROGRAMDepartments of kinesiology should be judged first and foremost on the quality of the programs they offer. Most departments require students to take a cluster of departmental courses known as “the core.” This core requirement is important because it forms the groundwork for more specialized knowledge taught in vari-ous concentrations (e.g., teacher education, athletic training, etc.). The very best
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