Last modified: Wednesday, November 20, 2002
IU Kinesiology Dept. starts fitness specialist program
Fitness is one of the fastest growing industries in America, and Indiana University is taking steps to address this situation through creation of a fitness specialist program in the Department of Kinesiology.
The Bachelor of Science program through the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation is now in its first semester with an initial enrollment of some 80 students. Officials anticipate substantial growth in the years ahead. The Department of Kinesiology Web site is http://www.indiana.edu/~kines.
"We developed this program to fill a huge need," said John Shea, chair of the kinesiology department, "because fitness is the fastest growing industry in this country. We are attracting students interested in the commercial side of fitness who want to go into the community to work with normally healthy people who want to get in shape or stay in shape."
Shea said recent comments from the surgeon general that obesity and being overweight have reached epidemic proportions in the United States reflects the need for increased interest in fitness by all Americans.
He said the IU program, which reflects the school motto of "Living Well Through Healthy Lifestyles," differs from those offered at other colleges and universities. "Our approach is toward wellness in the sense of living well, and we include not just exercise and fitness courses, but subjects dealing with psychology, sociology and physiology," Shea said.
The fitness specialist curriculum includes general education classes, off-campus field experiences and an internship. The 124-credit-hour program over four years includes exercise science courses, 24 credit hours of core fitness classes, and 18 hours of electives in such fields as business management, nutrition and psychology. Career positions for the students include personal trainer, health & fitness instructor, facility owner, health/fitness promotion and fitness education specialists.
Michelle Miller, a kinesiology department faculty member with more than 20 years of experience in the exercise field, is the fitness specialist coordinator. "With the tremendous growth now underway for fitness, we think it is important to aim for requiring a training program like ours for anyone wanting to be a personal trainer and to work with the public in the exercise field," Miller said.