Athletic Training to phase out undergrad major; low enrollment brings Phys. Ed. licensure to end

The School of Health, Physical Education & Sports Sciences (HPESS) is composed of six majors, but that is about to change.

There are currently two changes being worked on for the school which involve the Health & Physical Education Teacher Education as well as Athletic Training (AT). Fall Semester 2018 marks the final incoming class for the current AT program and the final incoming class for the Health and Physical Education Teacher Licensure Program. Despite the upcoming loss of current programs, Dr. Amy Jo Sutterluety, the associate dean for the School of HPESS, stated that, “[Current] students should understand that if they’re in the program all classes will be offered, they will get what they paid for.”

The national governing body for Athletic Training, the AT Strategic Alliance, is comprised of four national organizations, the BOC, CAATE, NATA, and NATA Foundation. The CAATE, the accreditation body for Athletic Training, has performed years of analysis and come to the decision that they want all AT programs across the country to change their degree standard to become a Master’s level degree.

Professor Karyn Gentile, the program director for Athletic Training at BW, said the current undergraduate program for Athletic Training is a rigid program due to clinical hours and the current course work. Current students have been able to take the Board of Education (BOC) exam following the completion of the undergrad program. The new system however will make it so a Master’s degree is the students’ entry-level requirement for Athletic Training and to sit for the BOC exam.

This change will now give BW a new Pre-Athletic Training Major. All AT students after 2022 will go through the Pre-AT major to teach foundational skills and pre-requisite knowledge necessary to pursue a Master’s in Athletic Training. Pre-AT will be a less rigid program that will allow flexibility for students to find what they want to do and not have to take as many clinical hours.

“This change is going to allow students the flexibility to be a student athlete or maybe involved in multiple majors,” said Gentile.

The AT staff will still get help from Pre-AT students, but will no longer see the same level of assistance due to Pre-AT acting as more of an observational phase. Pre-Athletic Training will also allow time to do research and to work with cultural responsiveness and leadership. The individual pieces in the learning process for Pre-AT should help prepare the students for the Master’s program, said Gentile.

“I’m hoping that as our students move into the Master’s programs and graduate from those, that they talk about how well prepared they are,” said Gentile.

Curriculum for Pre-AT is still in process and not yet approved.

The other change for the school of HPESS comes from the fact that in Ohio, the number of students pursuing a degree in Physical Education Teacher Licensure has declined. Due to the declining numbers of students, the Health and Physical Education Teacher Licensure Program is coming to an end. The current students enrolled will be the last ones able to receive a degree from BW for this major.

“Of course there is a sadness, this was an established major that just through trends throughout the United States the focus has shifted from the teaching licensure,” said Dr. Kerry Bebie, associate professor and the faculty advisor for the Health and Physical Education Majors Club. “We always look for the best interest of our students, the best interest of our school, and the best interest of the university itself.”

There will be three current courses taken off the books after the major is no longer offered, but due to overlap in the school of HPESS, the course load for faculty should remain the same. However, there will be a slight impact on course offerings which is still currently in discussion.

On Oct. 12, Dr. Bebie will be leading a national initiative at BW that leads to the next phase of health and physical education called Physical Activity and Leadership Training. The event is through the governing body called SHAPE America. Not only will the event focus on schools, but will also look into community programs as well.