Department profile: Kinesiology (page 2)

There are more traditional teaching tools, too, like calipers that help determine composition (fat percentage, lean body mass including muscle and bone mass), and several skeletons and other anatomical models used in anatomy courses. But for those anatomy courses, Fagenbaum also uses software programs to simulate parts of the human body. The biology department also lets students view the cadaver in West Science, she said, but the computer program means they have more chances to understand how the human body works.

The lab has been open for two years now, and the faculty is still refining how it’s being used and seeing what else they need to offer.

“We keep adding more every year,” she said.

Those additions keep up with the changes in kinesiology as a discipline, and enrollment has increased in part because of the interdisciplinary nature of the courses they teach.

Fagenbaum said she occasionally sees biology majors and pre-med students in her exercise science courses. The students are either interested in sports and physical activity generally, she said, or are considering working with physical and occupational therapy when they graduate. Her classes, which focus on how the body moves in exercise, among other things, show them something they can’t get in other departments.

DeVries said that his Sport Psychology and Sport in American Society classes attract not just kinesiology majors, but psychology and sociology students. His Exercise Psychology course has generated interest as well. The psychology of exercise is important, he said, because people understand why they should exercise, but many don’t, and the course examines the reasons why.

The focus on interdisciplinary studies has helped kinesiology majors, Whale said, because if students are interested in sports medicine or another allied health field, they have resources on campus with Dimensions: The Center for the Science and Culture of Healthcare. Some students even participate in Operation Walk, where they observe medical professionals performing joint replacement surgeries, and they assist with physical therapy in countries like China, El Salvador, and Vietnam.

And that growth has been thanks to the split that happened seven years ago.

“I’m not aware of any small college anywhere else with a kinesiology program that isn’t involved in coaching,” Whale said. “Teaching is all we do; it’s our focus.”

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