The goal of university instructional physical activity programs (IPAPs) is to provide quality instruction through best practices to encourage college students to lead healthy and physically active lifestyles. As IPAPs have continued to decline due to enrollment and budgetary concerns, the importance of quality and sustainability has become particularly paramount. Furthermore, it is imperative to the existence of IPAPs that we strive to learn and share with each other in order to independently survive, but more essentially to flourish collectively, as we are better together. In our varied experience, while some IPAPs face unique challenges, many obstacles are common, regardless of institution size and composition. This paper will offer the perspectives of four strikingly different colleges and universities in their quest to navigate challenges in delivery, maintain and support quality instruction, and advocate for IPAPs.
Sheri J. Brock, Christina Beaudoin, Mark G. Urtel, Lisa L. Hicks, and Jared A. Russell
Jared A. Russell
Programs that provide student research experiences at the undergraduate level are an impactful means of recruiting and preparing students for graduate academic programs. Notably, such programs, when combined with faculty mentorship, exposure to graduate-school-level academic curricula, and socialization experiences, are considered crucial to the effective recruitment and retention of students from diverse cultural backgrounds into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-oriented graduate academic programs. This work outlines the strategic efforts of Auburn University’s School of Kinesiology to enhance its graduate student diversity recruitment and retention processes. Highlighted are the School of Kinesiology’s goals and guiding principles related to diversity and inclusion initiatives. A detailed description of the centerpiece of this effort, the Future Scholars-Summer Research Bridge Program, is provided. Additionally, related Future Scholars-Summer Research Bridge Program topics are discussed, including securing donor support, aligning the program with institutional strategic goals, forming institutional or academic program partnerships, and addressing administrative and logistical challenges.
Physical education in recent years has undergone modifications in order to meet the changing demands of students. The traditional paradigm has been to teach physical education from a sport- and skill-based approach, whereby traditional teams and individual sports are emphasized (e.g., basketball, volleyball, flag football). However, this curriculum may be less impactful on student learning than alternatives and is not viewed favorably by administrators because it is perceived as lacking relevance to broader educational goals. The purpose of this paper was to reintroduce a curriculum that has the potential to address student learning in physical education and broader educational goals. The outdoor/adventure education curriculum, while neglected in recent years, is demonstrating promising gains as a viable model.
Steven J. Petruzzello and Allyson G. Box
The status of physical activity in higher education has changed dramatically over the past 100 years. In this paper, we aim to (a) provide a brief history of physical activity on campus; (b) describe how that activity has changed from a requirement to an elective; (c) illustrate how mental health (particularly stress, anxiety, and depression) has changed in college students over the past few decades; and (d) describe the relationships between physical activity and mental health, particularly in college students. The paper culminates with recommendations for how colleges and universities might facilitate better student mental health through physical activity. There is room to improve the physical activity and mental health of college students, realigning higher education with the promotion of mens sana in corpore sano.
Jessica L. Kutz, Melissa Bopp, and Lori A. Gravish Hurtack
As the need for qualified medical and allied health professions has grown, so too have the natural feeder undergraduate programs of kinesiology across the country. With an impending “enrollment cliff,” it is necessary to assess the needs of our students and be proactive in addressing curricular issues, initiatives, internship opportunities, and academic advising support. The purpose of this article is to highlight formal and informal data collection strategies and suggest solutions to undergraduate issues that pertain to retention and success. Data from current students and alumni shed light on issues that plague kinesiology programs and present unique challenges to students as they attempt to pursue careers in the medical and allied health fields. Two R1 kinesiology programs identified similarly themed issues using informal and formal data collection approaches. Those themes were undergraduate major identification, career options, curricular issues, financial concern, and emotional fortitude. Suggested solutions and current best practices are provided to address the common themes that hold our undergraduates back from achieving their career goals.
Bradley J. Cardinal
Concerns about college and university student health date back to at least the mid-19th century. These concerns were addressed through the development and implementation of required, service-based physical activity education programs. In the 1920s–1930s, 97% of American colleges and universities offered such programs. Today less than 40% do. However, student health issues persist. This essay asserts that kinesiology departments are best suited to address these needs by delivering physical activity education courses through their institution’s general education curriculum. General education courses are those that every student must take in order to develop the competencies necessary for living a full and complete life and contributing to society. Given the growing costs of higher education, any such requirement must be justifiable. Therefore, implementing and sustaining a physical activity education general education requirement is not for the faint of heart; it requires effort, resources, support, and time. This essay explores these issues.
Bridgette M. Desjardins
In September 2019, 19,000 amateur runners participated in the Canada Army Run, a road race hosted by the Canadian Forces (CF). This ethnographic study explores the event as a site of socialization, demonstrating that the Army Run: (a) focuses on promoting the CF rather than maximizing race results, (b) promotes the CF by exceptionalizing its members, and (c) is a celebratory site of promilitary socialization and recruitment that precludes critical engagement with the CF. These findings indicate that military promotional strategies have evolved since the immediate post 9/11 era; whereas previous initiatives used sport to tie local military agendas into larger neoliberal military imperatives, the 2019 Army Run demonstrates a new tactic, depoliticizing the CF and reifying an idealized, decontextualized Canadian military.
Henk Erik Meier, Jörg Hagenah, and Malte Jetzke
As Hutchins and Rowe have emphasized, digital plenitude will fundamentally affect sports broadcasting. In particular, niche sports will be confronted with a more difficult media environment in which the chances of being telecast may increase, while the chances of finding an audience are likely to decrease. Therefore, niche sports face the need to further submit to a media logic. The current research is a case study involving an analysis of the 2018 European Championships from a mediatization perspective. While the findings show how aggregation helped to revitalize audience interest, the case study reveals that the future of niche-sport broadcasting is uncertain, because the audience habits that the European Championships exploited are fading.
Jon L. Weller
In Alberta, Canada during the 1960s and early 1970s the popularity of recreational paddling expanded considerably. The reasons for this were varied, including wider demographic and economic shifts that produced a population that was both able, with time and the means, and eager to engage in these activities. But at the same time there was a notable change in the material reality of the sport brought on by the development of new construction techniques and materials. The goal of this article is to investigate the changing nature of recreational paddling in the 1960s and 70s with a focus on the influence that changing materials and construction methods had on these processes. Developed for other commercial purposes, fiberglass provided paddlers in Alberta with a means of constructing more robust canoes cheaply, quickly, and with a great deal of customization. To facilitate this construction, paddlers came together to share knowledge, materials, designs, and labor. In turn, these boatbuilding workshops became the nucleus of a budding and ultimately vibrant paddling community in the province. Moreover, the increased durability and design adaptability allowed paddlers to push the limits of the sport and successively redesign and further specialize the boats allowing for even greater skill development.