This week I ventured down to Reid gym where I got myself a “physical education.” Actually, I was educated on the Department of Health and Human Performance and for students who enjoy recreational activity, sports, or physical activity, this department might be exactly what you’ve been looking for.
The department offers four very different majors that are as fun as they are interesting: Parks and Recreation Management, Physical Education, Recreational Therapy and Sport Management.
The Parks and Recreation Management program prepares students for employment in the leisure services and tourism industries and agencies like the National Parks and US Forest Service. Through the program, students becomeleaders for professions in recreation and outdoor education.
Dr. David Claxton, head of the department, said, “[this program] offers unique opportunities because of the location.”
The Physical Education program prepares students to teach in elementary, middle and secondary schools. Students are also well versed in all areas of gymnasium and classroom management. In addition to teaching, students also learn to organize and administer intramural programs, coach varsity sports, and athletic programs. However, the program is not just for those who want to teach. Graduates of the program can find jobs at YMCA/YWCAs, community recreation programs, private clubs and other areas.
According to Claxton, some students are attracted to the program because they want to coach, but some gain a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment from working with the elementary kids.
The Recreational Therapy program prepares students for a future as members of clinical treatment teams. Recreational Therapy seeks to restore patients’ ability to function in all aspects of life through the use of recreation and other activities. One of the more unique parts of the program is the recognition of outdoor experiences as powerful tools for healing and health promotion. This emphasis is important because health care professionals are now becoming more aware of the effectiveness of outdoor therapy.
Claxton said, “the Recreational Therapy program is on the cutting edge of what’s happening nationwide in their program.”
The Sport management program is designed to prepare students for work in the front offices of professional sport teams, college athletics, private sport marketing firms and other areas. This program is one of a very small number of Sport Management programs that are accredited by the North American Society for Sport Management. It is also one of only two or three programs offered in the state, with Western Carolina’s program being the first.
The Health and Human Performance department also offers minors in dance, coaching, parks and recreation management, and physical education. In addition, the department will be involved with the new liberal studies program and will be offering some very interesting classes within that curriculum.
If you are interested in the Department of Health and Human Performance, you can contact them at 227-7360, or visit them in Reid Gym. room 106A.