Kinesiology and Health: Classes for the mind, body and soul

Photo of two people competing in a fencining tournament at the Wright State University Nutter Center.

Fencing is one of 40 to 50 activities offered each semester by the Department of Kinesiology and Health.

After a tense week of study, Wright State University liberal arts student Tom Satterfield says there’s nothing better than immersing himself in his judo class. For him, transferring his mental focus from academic challenges to those of the body is a release that rejuvenates his mind, body and soul.

“It breaks up the monotony of your daily academic studies as a college student, teaches great discipline and gives you credit too,” said Satterfield. “Everyone needs to have some fun classes. If all I was taking were calculus and science classes, I’d hate my life.”

Barbara Juhasz is a non-degree student in the 60 and Up Program who has been auditing classes since 2004. She’s taking a pair of physical education classes this semester and swears her weekly participation in Zumba class is the reason she doesn’t have to take her cholesterol or blood pressure medication any more.

“Your mind is clearer, you think better, your attitude is better,” said Juhasz. “It just improves your outlook on life.”

Photo of the Wright State Universirty Nutter Center marquee advertisiing a Wright Challenge judo tournament.

All Wright Challenge tournaments at Wright State involve students from Department of Kinesiology and Health activity classes.

Satterfield and Juhasz are from different backgrounds, but they’re receiving the same rewards from the College of Education and Human Services Kinesiology and Health Program’s Basic Instruction in Physical Education (BIPE) classes.

Casually known to Wright State students from all majors and walks of life as ‘the fun classes to take in college,’ the program offers activity classes in bowling, fencing, golf, tai chi, yoga, weight training and many more.

Any student can take these classes as electives. The classes formerly were under the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, which was recently renamed the Department of Kinesiology and Health.

Beginning fall 2012, they were offered over seven-week periods with an A and a B term each semester. Drew Pringle, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Health, said the courses have always been popular, but now they’ve also becoming good solutions for students needing to stay full time.

Photo of a view from above at a Wright Challenge archery tournament.

A view from above at a Wright Challenge archery tournament.

“Many students after the first several weeks of a semester realize they need to drop a class for one reason or another, but they need to keep a full-time course load to keep their eligibility, financial aid or even to stay in the U.S. if they’re international students,” said Pringle. “The B term activity classes can be a solution for students in those situations.”

In addition to the long list of activity classes available to the masses, the Kinesiology and Health Program also offers a core group of bachelor’s in varying degree programs and is planning a pair of minors for next year.

About 100 students each year are accepted into programs for athletic training, health and physical education, community health education and sports science.

The programs teach students how to become athletic trainers, physical education and health teachers, public health professionals and physical fitness professionals in the corporate setting or at the local fitness facility.

A degree in kinesiology, the scientific study of human movement, can even lead to becoming president of a university. Wright State President David R. Hopkins holds a doctorate in kinesiology from Indiana University. Prior to his doctoral work, Hopkins received his master’s degree in mathematics and his bachelor’s in physical education from the College of Wooster, Ohio.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the benefits and results that physical activity has on the body and the mind,” said Hopkins. “How the body works and how physical activity helps us as we age is so vast and unknown that I did my doctoral research in the field. Much of my research was on how to maintain and enhance functional fitness during the aging process, which helps maintain independence and a higher quality of life.”

Pringle said Wright State’s programs in community health education and athletic training in particular are superior to most in in the region.

“Our athletic training program is arguably number one in the state of Ohio,” said Pringle. “I would argue it’s better than anyone else’s program, bar none, because of our collaboration with the Boonshoft School of Medicine.”

Pringle said the community health and education undergraduate program is also one-of-a-kind in the state in a field that’s growing by leaps and bounds.

Next fall, Pringle plans to offer a new minor in emergency management, a collaborative with Calamityville and the Organizational Leadership (OL) program, and a minor in sports management, an online degree that will also collaborate with OL program.

“Sports, fitness and health-related industries are multibillion-dollar industries,” said Pringle. “There’s a growing need for students to have direct, germane instruction and education that fit these jobs that doesn’t just prepare them for more study, as many of the pre-professional programs do, and that’s what we’re doing with these programs.”

Visit or call (937) 775-3233 to learn more about classes and majors in the Department of Kinesiology and Health.

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