Wittenberg will now offer an exercise science major. In the major’s curriculum, students are expected to make connections between disciplines within the major.
Courses will focus on the health and fitness aspects of the sport, anatomy, physiology, nutrition, care and prevention of sport injuries, motor learning, bio-mechanics, strength and conditioning and exercise testing for special populations.
“The addition of exercise science is truly a new exciting opportunity for us. Exercise science brings a true liberal arts-focused degree offering to Wittenberg’s academic program by combining the disciplines in our extremely respected science programs with fitness, sport and activity,” Athletic Director Gary Williams said.
The idea of the major came about when the athletic department realized there was a significant amount of interest in health, fitness and wellness.
“Basically, we saw this as an opportunity to create a new major/minor with intellectual and academic coherence and rigor in mind that would be consistent with the mission of Wittenberg University,” Assistant Professor of Exercise Science Steven Dawson said.
Dawson explained that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the exercise science major is one of the fastest growing majors in college. He also stated that “the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts above-average demand over the next 10 years for the entry level positions and professional fields most closely linked to exercise science.”
He went on to say there could possibly be a financial gain for the athletic department. So far, Wittenberg has had 10 students declare the major, which has just been accepted by the Ohio Department of Education. Since then, Assistant Professor Hung-Sheng Hsuf has been busy meeting with students who are interested in the major. The department predicts that the numbers will continue to grow now that it has obtained the endorsement.
Previously reported information states that when the major was first proposed, 139 prospective high school students shared interest in Wittenberg’s new program. An additional 83 students who visited Wittenberg listed exercise science as a major they were interested in.
“The exercise science program also completes the course prerequisite for several physical therapy programs,” Dawson said. “Actually, [a] majority of the students who plan to apply to physical therapy program are in the major of exercise science. Therefore, the newly-approved exercise science major is expected to attract many new students in next few years.”
In addition, the major is looking forward to providing working and internship opportunities for students in its exercise science program to help develop in the strong athletic tradition at Wittenberg.
“Today, many exercise science graduates choose to continue their career in advanced academia using cell and human model to study exercise science,” Dawson said. “Few coaches have expressed interests in collaborating with [the] exercise science program for potentials to conducting research.”
Within the next couple of years, Wittenberg’s new program has plans to start human performance studies that will collaborate with many coaches along with other departments. The plan will benefit those students who have plans to go to graduate school.