By Enrique Castellanos Rivera
Once kinesiology was dropped from the core curriculum in fall 2014, the program began to lose students and instructors.
“Hallways were literally rocking with excited, enthusiastic, energized students,” Professor Dawn Brooks said.
Now with the Covid-19 pandemic, the program is struggling again.
“Financial aid quit paying for classes that were not in the student’s core or degree plan, so we went from impacting all students from different walks of life to only kinesiology majors,” Brooks said.
Now four full-time teachers and a coordinator who also teaches may be running out of time.
“We were guaranteed employment until January of 2021,” Brooks said. “We do not know what will happen after that.”
The college curriculum used to require two hours of credit in kinesiology.
Before the cut, there used to be 11 instructors.
Program Coordinator Brad Dudney said they cancelled a total of 41 classes this semester.
When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out and caused a stay-at-home order in the spring semester, fitness became a concern for some individuals. Exercising was more difficult with gyms closed and physical distance orders in place at parks.
The pandemic has affected the physical fitness of many students on campus.
Electrical engineering sophomore Roger Gonzalez said he has experienced weight gain and worse eating habits.
He said he used to work out six days a week, between classes on campus and at night at a gym. Now he’s down to four days a week but used the decline to start visiting the park for his cardio because gyms require a facemask.
Now that classes have moved primarily online, aquatics and athletics classes are having a difficult time.
“It is difficult to teach a swimming, volleyball, basketball class (and many others) in a Zoom environment with no equipment, space or other participants,” Brooks said.
Also, students who were registered in spring did their best to work out under below acceptable conditions.
Brooks had students with “no more than 6×6 space and no equipment trying to improve their cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and body composition, and classes like swimming had to watch videos of how to swim rather than actually learn how while in the water.”
Remote classes can especially effect the fitness of low-income families who can’t afford a computer to attend Zoom lectures or monthly gym fees.
While overcoming the difficult circumstances of COVID-19, through classes, students have access to a wide variety of workout routines, nutrition facts and information about implementing dietary changes.
“We can do everything Camp Gladiator or Beach Body can do,” Brooks said.
Kinesiology can discipline and create well-being in the human body for a strong immune system, Brooks said.
This department differs from other departments, Brooks said, “in that we have the opportunity to teach all people how to take charge of their health and be stronger in the six dimensions of wellness.”
The six dimensions are emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual and spiritual.
“Some of our lecture courses (Personal and Community Health, Physical Concepts of Health, Drug Use and Abuse) have been approved in the 80s section of the new core so we are promoting that in the SDEV classes heavily to raise awareness,” Brooks said.
“Higher education needs to realize that the health of a student, and future contributor to society, is important and needs to bring us back into the core,” Brooks said.