Kinesiology and Sports Studies, Recreation departments combine

Mercury Bowen, Entertainment Reporter

The Recreation department joined the Kinesiology and Sports Studies department to form the Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation department at the beginning of the 2018 fall semester.

Tony Oliver, the Chair of the Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation department, said the union with the Recreation department created a mutually beneficial collaboration between the two.

“The decision was made to merge together two strong departments to really make us both stronger,” Oliver said. “We both have a strong history on campus and at this time of transition and change some of our colleagues in decision-making positions made a decision to help us both be stronger.”

Andrew Kerins, the graduate coordinator for the department, said the transition felt like a natural one.

“We have different backgrounds but I think generally we’re all working on the same page with the same interests,” Kerins said. “I think it’s been a good fit for the department to have people from those different backgrounds working together.”

Kerins said one nice thing about the transition process was that is was not rushed.

“As a faculty member we like to see things move through a slow, methodical process,” Kerins said.

The recreation administration department is a nationally accredited program through the National Recreation Park Association.

“We are accredited, some are not,” Oliver said. “That only strengthens, both substantively and marketing and perceptually to have a nationally accredited program be brought in house.”

According to Kerins, the accreditation process is an elaborate one.

“It’s a pretty extensive review process when you look at required coursework and the standards that the NRPA sets out there for you and then how our coursework and assignments match up with that,” Kerins said.

The original undergraduate Kinesiology and Sports Studies majors included an exercise science program, a teacher education program, a sport management program and an athletic training program, while the graduate programs included sports administration and exercise science concentrations.

“Recreation becomes another strong pillar within that department,” Kerins said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean the curriculum’s going to change.”

The merging of the two departments added the recreation department’s generalist and therapeutic recreation specializations to those available from the Kinesiology and Sports Studies department.

The therapeutic recreation option has a mandatory certification accreditation, which means those wishing to work in therapeutic recreation in the field are required to get a professional credential.

According to Kerins, to receive the professional credential, one must come from an accredited program as well as intern under someone with the same certification.

“There’s always a demand for people with a (Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist certification) because that is something that is such a growing need and because it’s a high credential to get,” Kerins said. “It’s not something people can easily obtain.”

Oliver said his primary focus is to make certain the department has successful undergraduate programs as well as supporting the graduate program.

“With (Kerins) accepting the position of KSR graduate coordinator, I see it as an additional link or bond to what we’ve become,” Oliver said. “I think it not only literally but maybe symbolically is an important linking of the two departments.”

Mercury Bowen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].