Out with Exercise Science, In With Health and Human Physiological Sciences

Out with Exercise Science, In With Health and Human Physiological Sciences

In Spring 2016 Skidmore’s Health and Exercise Science Department went under an external review. The reviewers recommended that both the department name and major name be changed to better reflects what is actually done in Exercise Science classes and laboratories.  

“Although Exercise Science can be a rigorous area of study, many people associate it with the training of physical educators or somehow connects [Skidmore’s Health and Exercise Science Department] to preparing people to work in a fitness center,” said Thomas Reynolds IV, Professor and Chair of the Department of Health and Human Physiological Sciences.  

This is not, however, the goal of the department. The goal, says Reynolds, is to use “our integrative approach to physiology [to] provide a foundation for students as they pursue graduate studies or embark on careers in the health professions or in biomedical research.” 

The department name has now officially been changed to Health and Human Physiological Sciences, but it will take some time before the major and minor name will be changed. The major and minor will officially be changed to Human Physiological Sciences, but first needs to be approved by Skidmore’s Curriculum Committee and the New York State Department of Education. It is unknown exactly when the NYS Department of Education will complete their review, but Reynoolds hopes that this will be completed so that students graduating in the spring of 2019 will graduate as the first class of Human Physiological Sciences majors.  

The Health and Human Physiological Science Department works to provide undergraduate students with an understanding of physiology, and how it impacts human health and performance. According to Reynolds, within the department “teaching is [understood as] a pursuit of new knowledge that uncovers previously unknown connections among physiology, health and performance.” 

The department is committed to furthering students’ understanding of high-impact learning experiences beyond the classroom. Faculty work with students to conduct nationally and internationally recognized research and by using state of the-art facilities.  

“Student engagement with all aspects of the research process is central to our classroom and laboratory pedagogy and reflects our commitment to preparing students to perform rigorous scientific inquiry and to apply scientific evidence to solve public health problems” said Reynolds.  

This name change comes in hope to diminish confusion surrounding Health and Human Physiological majors and minors. Despite remaining in the Williamson Sports Center, the department is optimistic they will no longer be misrepresented by a false title. 

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