Last modified: Tuesday, August 16, 2005
New degree program prepares fitness managers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUG. 17, 2005
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington is offering a new master of science degree program designed for students who want to manage fitness centers. The fitness management degree program combines exercise science, management and health promotion courses, filling a gap in the multi-billion-dollar fitness industry.
"Most people who are running fitness facilities have either an exercise physiology background or business experience, but rarely both," said Michelle Miller, a lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, which houses the fitness management program. "In order to bring the industry forward, managers need to understand the science of fitness as well as how to operate an organization."
Miller and fellow lecturer Carol Kennedy began planning the fitness management master's degree program when they saw increasing numbers of undergraduates pursuing jobs in the fitness field. Students were finding jobs in private health clubs, hospitals, non-profit health centers, educational institutions and workplace wellness settings, but often lacked the skills to advance beyond entry-level positions.
"Seventy-five percent of our undergraduate kinesiology students are going into business settings," Kennedy said. "They need management skills in order to move up the ladder. We want to provide that training so fitness students can pursue an advanced degree that prepares them for the job market."
The one-year M.S. degree includes core courses from the departments of Kinesiology, Applied Health Science, and Recreation and Park Administration. In addition to course work, fitness management students will be able to apply their skills by working in the Briscoe Fitness/Wellness Living Learning Community, a residential hall. Fitness management students instruct fitness and wellness classes for the residents and help coordinate the dorm's on-site fitness facility.
The program's first graduate, Evan McDowell, received his degree in May. This fall, eight to 10 students are expected to enroll. McDowell said working at Briscoe was valuable professional preparation.
"I was programming for 250 resident students and coordinating classes in personal fitness, weight training, yoga and social dance, while teaching some of those classes myself. Practical experience like that taught me how a business works and what it takes to run a fitness operation," McDowell said.
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