Physical activity instruction requirements in higher education

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jacob W. Surratt (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Diane Gill

Abstract: For many years, Physical Activity Instruction (PAI) courses have been a staple in higher education curricular programming, viewed as a necessity to enhance the overall knowledge and growth of students (Hensley, 2000). According to several studies, there has been a significant decrease from the early 20th century requirements. McCristal and Miller (1939) identified that 97% of institutions required PE in 1939 while in 1969, 87% of institutions required it. Moving toward the 21st century, 63% of institutions required PE for graduation in 2000 (Hensley, 2000), which reduced to 39.5% in 2012 (Cardinal, et al.). The goal of this project was to determine if this trend continues, and to identify strategies to address it. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the current PAI requirement for undergraduates at four-year institutions in North Carolina and Virginia. In addition, the study aimed to identify successful advocacy strategies to share with Kinesiology professionals in higher education. A comprehensive review of the undergraduate catalogs from each institution in North Carolina and Virginia (n = 54) was conducted in July and August 2018 to identify the PAI requirement. Surveys were sent to the department chair who manages the PAI courses, and interviews were conducted with five administrators at institutions in North Carolina and Virginia in October and November 2018. Data analysis revealed differences in requirements across states, classifications, size, and funding type. All four-year colleges and universities (54) in the states of North Carolina and Virginia were investigated, revealing that 34 (62.9%) currently require PAI for all undergraduates. Size of institution was related to the requirement. Institutions classified as Master’s Larger Programs were most likely to have the requirement (89%), and Doctoral High Research Activity institutions were least likely to have the requirement (31%). Survey responses also provided information on the credits institutions require for PAI and instructor assignment. Of the 31 institutions that participated in the survey, the largest number (n=12, 39%) had two credits for PAI with others requiring only 1 or up to 4 credits. As faculty instructional assignment was explored, the largest number (n=20) of institutions that require PAI use full-time and adjunct faculty most of the time. The surveys and interview results revealed that quality in instruction and program are essential for success. Qualified, consistent faculty assignment, developing student learning outcomes, and variety of courses are characteristic of institutions with successful PAI programs. This information provided from the study may be used to make recommendations to ensure quality is being built into PAI programs across higher education.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Four Year, Higher Education, Physical Activity Instruction, Undergraduate
Physical education and training $x Study and teaching (Higher) $z United States

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