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  • Responses to Department Title Change

    Thanks to all who responded to the request for department title
    information. Lots of good responses. Here is a summary of what I have
    received so far. If I get any more, I will post them also.


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    Here at UNH we used to be the Dept. of Physical Education. Some time
    before I got here, they changed to Dept. of Kinesiology. I personally
    prefer this title over Phys Ed. However, one consideration is that few
    people know what Kinesiology actaully MEANS. For this reaseon perhaps
    Exercise Science, Movement Sciences, etc. would be better understood by
    HS students and parents looking at your programs.

    Hope this helps

    ************************************************** **************************

    Erik E. Swartz, Ph.D., A.T.,C.
    Department of Kinesiology
    New Hampshire Hall
    124 Main St.
    University of New Hampshire
    Durham, NH 03824
    Phone: (603)862-0018
    Fax: (603) 862-0154

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    A couple of years ago, we changed our name from "Kinesiology and Sport
    Studies" to simply "Kinesiology". Our rationale was that our title was
    redundant because the current use of the word kinesiology implies a
    inclusive field of human movement. Our programs include the same
    concentrations as yours with an additional one in exercise science.
    this helps.

    Darla Smith
    Darla R. Smith, Ph.D.
    Kinesiology Graduate Coordinator
    University of Texas at El Paso
    1101 N. Campbell
    El Paso, TX 79902
    915-747-7208 phone
    915-747-8211 fax


    I refer you to:

    Brassie, PS & Razor, JE (1989) HPER unit names in higher
    education - A view toward the future. Journal of Physical Education,
    Recreation and Dance, 60(7), 33-40 where they present 114
    program titles, and
    Newell, KM (1990) Physical Education: Chaos out of order. Quest
    42(3), 227-242, where he presents 70 titles


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    We are considering a name change from Sports Medicine to Kinesiology
    Exercise Science at Pepperdine. One reason for the change was that we
    the new name better describes the content of both the Department and
    major. A second reason was that the faculty felt that there was
    support for the new name in the relevant literature. Lastly, the
    terms Kinesiology, Exercise and Science are used frequently by many
    departments in the USA. To substantiate this last claim, I entered
    descriptors terms from the names of all departments listed in the ACSM
    undergraduate (2001) and graduate (2000) directories into an Excel
    spreadsheet. Data were entered for 208 colleges and universities, 58
    graduate/undergraduate programs, 99 graduate only programs, and 54
    undergraduate only programs. Frequency counts were obtained for each
    descriptor term. The cumulative counts for each descriptor term were
    expressed as a percentage of both the total number of terms that
    appeared in
    all department names (601) and as a percentage of the number of


    A total of 42 different descriptor terms occurred in the department
    The ten most frequently occurring descriptors are shown below:

    Name Count Frequency Terms Frequency Univ.
    Health 82 13.6% 39.4%
    Science 72 12.0% 34.6%
    Education 68 11.3% 32.7%
    Physical 68 11.3% 32.7%
    Exercise 59 9.8% 28.4%
    Kinesiology 45 7.5% 21.6%
    Sports 37 6.2% 17.8%
    Recreation 28 4.7% 13.5%
    Human 27 4.5% 13.0%
    Performance 22 3.7% 10.6%

    All other terms occurred in less than 7% of all university names. The
    average department name used 2.89 descriptive terms and over 1/3 of
    programs feel the need to explicitly declare that they are science


    1. Physical and Education appear with the same frequency in the
    because they are always paired.
    2. Health occurs most frequently and is usually in combination with
    one of
    the following: (1) Health & Human Performance or (2) Health, Physical
    Education ...
    3. Exercise and Science almost always occurred together, but Exercise
    Sports Science occurred as frequently as just Exercise Science.


    Based upon all of these data and the reasons outlined previously, we
    compromised on Kinesiology and Exercise Science. While some faculty
    strongly advocated simply Kinesiology for the department name, some
    that kinesiology is not a term that is readily understood by the public
    prospective students. Therefore, we reached the compromise solution.

    I hope that this information helps.

    Michael E. Feltner, Ph.D, FACSM
    Dept. of Sports Medicine
    Pepperdine University
    Malibu, CA 90263 USA
    VOICE: (310) 506-4312
    FAX: (310) 506-4785

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    We just changed our name from
    School of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE)
    School of Sport and Exercise Science (SES)

    The faculty felt that KPE was not a good name for the "guy on the
    street." We always had to follow up the name with an explanation.
    Intellectuals know kinesiology, and it is a good term, but the general
    population does not. We also have several majors: exercise science,
    athletic training, and PE K-12. We have a graduate-only sport
    administration program too. Surprisingly, all faculty were for the

    Good luck,
    Gary Heise
    University of Northern Colorado

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    Dear John,

    I went to graduate school in Kinesiology departments (different
    universities for MS and doctorate). That is my bias for a department
    but I back it with this rationale:
    Kinesiology "is" movement science. Another concise definition
    Kinesiology would be: The study/science of body movement. The term
    Kinesiology can include:
    Human and animal movement (plant movement functions too?)
    Movement in sport, exercise, daily life, disease/injury conditions...
    static postures)
    * Biomechanics
    * Physiology
    * Motor control and learning
    * Psycho-social aspects of movement
    * Clinical and rehab aspects of movement (Medicine, as in "Sports
    Medicine" and "Physical Medicine")

    Maybe others can include a couple more areas. The term "Kinesiology"
    more inclusive than the long department titles IN A SINGLE WORD!
    Physical Education is certainly related to Kinesiology, and it

    would seem to fit well in a Kinesiology Department. Fitness/Sport
    Management is more of a stretch, and I do not have a justification off
    top of my head. We have a Recreation and Sport Management area within
    department, and that might prevent adoption of the "Kinesiology" title.
    are saddled with the department title, "Health, Leisure, and Exercise
    Science". This forces the obvious acronym, and I do not feel the long

    title provides better description for the public than "Kinesiology".
    In my opinion, a close second to "Kinesiology" would be "Human

    Movement Studies", but it seems unnecessary to narrow the focus while
    lengthening the title. I will be interested to hear what department
    is adopted.


    Deric Wisleder

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    At Arizona State University the name was just changed to "Kinesiology".
    may want to contact Dr. Richard Hinrichs and enquire as to the

    Bryan St. Laurent
    Arizona State University

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    There is a great article written by Karl Newell in Quest (early 90's)
    you should use as the basis of your thinking. Kinesiology is what we
    about but Human Movement is by far the most generic term and I think
    suit what you do.



    Associate Professor Warwick Spinks
    Director, Institute of Sport and Exercise Science
    James Cook University
    Townsville, Queensland, Australia 4812
    Phone: + 61 7 4781 6610
    Mobile: 0419 787 895
    Fax: + 61 7 4781 6688

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    Dear John:

    Our physical education concentration in our grad program was called
    sport pedagogy until recently being switched back to Physical
    (All of the grad concentrations -- Physical Education, Exercise
    Sport Psychology -- are in the Dept. of Exercise & Sport Sciences.)

    I think the idea that PhysEduc had a negative connotation, coupled
    a lot of non-teaching options (e.g., exercise science), caused many to
    switch away from the Physical Education name. However, Physical
    Education is easily identifiable and has a long history and I would
    urge you to keep it, at least in part, in the name. BTW, a number of
    articles written in the 80's and early 90's in physical education
    journals dealt with this topic. Check out issues of JOPHER and Quest.

    If stuck, go with the concise "Kinesiology" and be done with it!

    Good luck,
    Jeffrey C. Ives, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor
    Dept. Exercise & Sport Sciences Email:

    Ithaca College Phone: 607-274-1751
    Ithaca, NY 14850 USA Fax:

    John Lowry M.S., A.T.C.
    Human Performance Laboratory
    Saginaw Valley State University
    7400 Bay Road
    University Center, MI 48710

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