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New UW-Eau Claire kinesiology degrees to address market demands

| Julie Poquette

Two new degrees to be offered through the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s department of kinesiology will ensure Blugold graduates in the field continue to meet market demands.

New Bachelor of Science programs in rehabilitation science and exercise science will be offered at UW-Eau Claire beginning in fall 2018.

The rehabilitation science major will focus on developing academic knowledge and clinical/practical skills for working with special populations, including older adults; individuals with disabilities; and individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and others, said Jeffrey Janot, professor and chair of the department of kinesiology.

“A large portion of our students in kinesiology fall under the pre-professional distinction — pre-PT, pre-OT, pre-chiropractic, and others,” Janot said. “The rehabilitation science degree will prepare these students to be competitive for admission into graduate programs such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, clinical exercise physiology, and physician’s assistant and medical school programs, among others. This is a distinctive degree — the first of its kind in the UW System.”

The exercise science major will prepare students to enter careers in such fields as personal training/fitness, strength and conditioning, wellness, health promotion, and fitness and health management, and will also be rigorous enough to prepare students to pursue graduate school in those areas.

UW-Eau Claire faculty and instructional staff who will lead the new programs have expertise in the areas of clinical exercise physiology and exercise testing, women’s health, physical activity measurement and sedentary behavior interventions, physical activity interventions for individuals with disabilities, exercise and cancer rehabilitation, exercise programming for older adults, strength and conditioning, and general fitness programming.

“These two new majors better align our breadth of faculty and staff expertise with academic offerings to ensure we continue to provide the best possible learning experience for our kinesiology students,” Janot said.

Both of the new majors will be comprehensive, meaning students in the programs will not be required to also pursue a minor. Both courses of study also are interdisciplinary. In addition to kinesiology classes, rehabilitation science majors will take coursework in chemistry, biology, physics and psychology, and exercise science majors will take courses in business, environmental public health and psychology, Janot said.

Both majors also will require hands-on learning experiences.

“Exercise science will require a 400-hour internship experience to be completed in the senior year,” Janot said. “Rehabilitation science students will be required to do practicum experiences at local hospitals and clinics. Students in both majors will be engaged in our PRIDE, Community Fitness, and Cancer Recovery and Fitness outreach programs offered on campus for individuals in the community.“

The new kinesiology programs will, in effect, create two new majors from the department’s outgoing human performance major and replace its movement studies major.

“As the movement studies major is phased out, kinesiology faculty and staff are encouraging students in that program to participate in formal internship experiences, which previously had not been a focus in that major,” Janot said.

The department of kinesiology will continue to offer a degree in athletic training, as well as degrees in physical education teaching and sports pedagogy, Janot said.