Department of Exercise Science to Transition to a New Home

Exercise science banner hung on the women's building fenceWith its academic and research focus on improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities, the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics will soon be the new “home” for the Department of Exercise Science, currently housed in the School of Education. This move, which becomes effective in July 2020, is intended to align academic programs with unique synergies and expand interdisciplinary research and study opportunities for faculty and students.

A working group, appointed by Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele G. Wheatly and made up of faculty from the Falk College and the School of Education, began exploring the potential move over the summer after gaining insight from faculty in the Department of Exercise Science who saw a beneficial alignment in disciplines like nutrition, food studies, human development, public health and sports analytics.

“I applaud the innovative thinking and strategic vision of our faculty and academic leadership,” says Wheatly. “The alignment of interests and the opportunity to increase collaborative work across disciplines helps advance the Academic Strategic Plan, benefiting our students for years to come and positioning them for success in careers that address some of society’s greatest needs.”

The transition from the School of Education to the Falk College will include five tenure-track and tenured exercise science faculty members, as well as some teaching faculty and staff. One faculty member and one staff member will have joint appointments in Falk and the School of Education. About 230 health and exercise science undergraduate students and exercise science master’s and doctoral students will also make the move to the Falk College. The physical location of the exercise program will remain unchanged in the Women’s Building. Some current faculty and programs in the department will remain in the School of Education (e.g., health and physical education faculty and programs, coaching and dance minors) and will join the Department of Teaching and Leadership. The I-Move physical activity program will also remain in the School of Education.

“The ongoing and increasing attention to healthy lifestyles, disease prevention, growing and aging populations, and diet-related disease epidemics is a critical component of all Falk College academic programs,” says Falk College Dean Diane Lyden Murphy. “Several exercise science programs complement theory and practice in Falk undergraduate and graduate programs and enhance opportunities to advance research and knowledge of holistic sport and health science.”

“The School of Education is committed to supporting impacted faculty and students, and we believe this re-homing is in the best interest of the exercise science faculty and programs,” says School of Education Dean Joanna O. Masingila. “The faculty and leadership of the School of Education are happy to support our colleagues and students in this move, wish them continued success, and we are excited for the opportunity this affords us in reimagining our strategic plan for the School of Education of the future.”

Deans Masingila and Murphy are collaborating with their respective leadership to ensure a smooth transition of academic advising, mentorship, research and scholarship. Additionally, Department of Exercise Science students who will graduate in 2021, 2022 or 2023 who wish to receive a diploma from the School of Education will be able to do so; otherwise, graduates will earn their degree from the Falk College.