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    Western Washington University
  Jul 20, 2017
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2014-2015 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Education, Health and Recreation

Return to: College of Humanities and Social Sciences


The Department of Physical Education, Health, and Recreation offers degree programs for students interested in professions related to kinesiology, P-12 physical education and health, community health education, and recreation.


The department currently consists of 15 faculty members whose backgrounds span the entire range of kinesiology and physical education, health education, and recreation. Students are provided opportunities to interact individually with faculty who are involved in community projects and research in public schools, kinesiology, health, and recreation.


The department is housed in the Carver Academic Facility. For students in the kinesiology and physical education programs, exercise physiology and biomechanics laboratories afford students an opportunity for in-depth study in the exercise sciences and health assessment as applied to health and sports science. Considerable practical experience using laboratory and computerized equipment enables students to develop skills in cardiorespiratory, anthropometric, strength and movement analysis, and health appraisals.

Major Programs

Kinesiology and Physical Education

The major programs are varied and include undergraduate student preparation for careers as professional physical and health educators, and undergraduate and graduate kinesiology options.  Kinesiology degree completion prepares students for clinical or research graduate school programs or for careers as health fitness instructors in agencies, schools, industries, hospitals and health care facilities. Students are expected to perform community service in all programs. The concentrations offered include the following:

  • Teacher Education P-12 Physical Education and Health
  • Kinesiology
    • Movement Studies
    • Health and Fitness Specialist
    • Pre-Healthcare Professions
    • Pre-Physical Therapy
    • Sport Psychology

Kinesiology pre-major and major declaration policy

  1. Any WWU student with 75 credits completed and a GPA of at least 2.50 may declare a Kinesiology pre-major and be placed on the waitlist to declare a Kinesiology major. If the student has no WWU GPA for at least one quarter, the GPA of the most recent institution attended will be used. Initial academic advisement will be provided by PEHR staff.
  2. By the end of the second week of spring quarter and by the end of the second week of fall quarter, students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher will be notified of being converted to major status if their position on the waitlist is within the group of students eligible for the fall and winter sections of KIN 301, respectively.
  3. Once converted to major status, students are assigned an individual faculty advisor, and students with the appropriate prerequisites are eligible to register for KIN 301, BIOL 348, and other required/elective Kinesiology major classes.

Kinesiology and Physical Education Mid-Program Checkpoint

Students seeking to complete a BAE degree in teacher education P-12 physical education and health or a BS in kinesiology within a four-year time span should have completed the following courses by the start of their junior year:

Major omissions from this list will make it difficult or impossible to complete this degree within two additional years.

NOTE: The teacher education P-12 option requires a 4½-year commitment, which includes a one-semester student teaching internship. Students must meet the minimum entry requirements of the Woodring College of Education before being considered for admission to the P-12 physical education and health program. Students should first declare a pre-major in this specialization in order to register for required pre-major classes and then apply for entry into the P-12 physical education and health program during the fall quarter of their junior year while they are enrolled in pre-major courses. Students who do not meet the minimum qualifications of the Woodring College of Education cannot apply to be considered for entry into the P-12 physical education and health program.

NOTE: The pre-physical therapy specialization of the kinesiology option requires careful planning if students are to complete the degree in a four-year period. It is suggested that students who are interested in this specialization consult with Dr. Gordon Chalmers, Dr. Dave Suprak, Dr. Michelle Mielke or Dr. Jun San Juan (PEHR faculty) during their freshman or sophomore year in order to establish a reasonable plan of study for the completion of this degree.

NOTE: Development Skills/Fitness Leadership - Physical Education Activity Courses

Activity courses, with the exception of varsity sports and those so noted, may not be repeated for credit. Courses offered depend on instructor availability.  All 100-level physical activity courses are S/U graded.  

Course fees are variable.

Health Education

Health education is a discipline with roots in the behavioral sciences of psychology, sociology, social psychology, and anthropology; the biological sciences; education; and public health. Health educators use multidisciplinary theories and behavioral and organizational change principles to plan, implement, and evaluate interventions that enable individuals, groups, and communities to achieve personal, social, and environmental health. To this end, health educators apply many different methods and strategies to achieve goals: group process, teaching, training, mass media, communication, community organization, organization development, strategic planning, skills training, legislation, policy development, and advocacy. Health educators practice in schools, colleges, work places, medical care settings, public health settings, and community-based agencies and organizations. (Adapted from the Joint Committee on Health Education and Promotion Terminology.)

Health educators are defined by the U.S. Federal Register as individuals who promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health by assisting individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors. They collect and analyze data to identify community needs prior to planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating programs designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, policies, and environments. They may also serve as a resource to assist individuals, other professionals, or the community, and may administer fiscal resources for health education programs.

Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) are individuals who have met required health education training qualifications and successfully passed a competency-based examination administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. The WWU Community Health major prepares students to meet the eligibility requirements for becoming a Certified Health Education Specialist.

NOTE: Students interested in teaching health education in P-12 schools are referred to the Physical Education and Health major to meet state requirements for teaching Health and Fitness in the state of Washington.

Health Education Mid-Program Checkpoint

Students seeking to complete a BS degree in Community Health within a four-year time span should make normal progress toward the GUR requirements and should apply for pre-major admission to the program during their freshman or sophomore year. Admission is competitive and the number of majors accepted is limited. It is suggested that students interested in Community Health consult the program coordinator (Dr. Jeanne Freeman) to establish a reasonable plan of study and be assigned an advisor. The following courses should be completed during the sophomore and junior years and prior to the start of the senior year. Major omissions from this list make it difficult or impossible to complete the degree within the four-year time span.


The curriculum in Recreation offers generalist preparation for a wide range of career entry-level positions including:

  • Community Recreation
  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Ecotourism 

Students seeking to complete a BA degree in Recreation within a four-year time span should have made normal progress toward the GUR requirements and should apply for admission to the program during fall quarter of their sophomore year. Junior and senior level students are also welcome to apply. Interested students are encouraged to contact the Recreation Program faculty advisors as early as possible to insure timely academic progress.

In support of healthy individuals, families, and communities, career opportunities in recreation and leisure services are numerous and diverse. The Recreation curriculum prepares students to plan, develop, and administer programs and resources in a variety of settings. The program is designed as four sequential 15-16 credit hour blocks of classes (phases) with students moving through the program as a cohort group. Students enter Phase 1 of the program during spring quarter, typically during sophomore year. The following schedule shows the sequential order of the four program phases:

- Fall Winter Spring Summer
Fresh - - - -
Soph - - I -
Junior - II III or III
Senior IV - - -

The phase system allows maximum flexibility for scheduling students’ educational experience to include workshops, field experiences, conferences and seminars both on and off campus. By making use of other departments at Western, statewide recreation resources, and recreation professionals, students are provided with exposure to a wide variety of experiential and service-learning opportunities.

The Recreation Program emphasizes preparation in the broad areas of outdoor recreation, community recreation, therapeutic recreation, and ecotourism.  Community and outdoor recreation graduates find employment in federal and state recreation and park agencies, county and community recreation departments, and non-profit agencies serving people from all walks of life.  Therapeutic recreation graduates find employment in hospitals; senior centers; nursing homes; mental health agencies; community recreation departments; and federal, state, and private agencies serving persons with disabilities or other adapted recreation needs. Graduates prepared in ecotourism plan and lead trips worldwide or work in destination planning.

The Recreation Program is nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. Students should inquire directly to the Recreation Program office in Old Carver 6 for current information on admission procedures.


CHARLES D. SYLVESTER (1984) Chair and Professor. BS, MA, University of Maryland; PhD, University of Oregon.
LORRAINE BRILLA (1985) Professor. BS, Pennsylvania State University; MS, Pennsylvania State University; PhD, University of Oregon.
RANDALL T. BURTZ (2003) Associate Professor. BA, MA, Washington State University; PhD, Colorado State University.
GORDON CHALMERS (1996) Professor. BS, Simon Fraser University; MS, PhD, University of California-Los Angeles.
JEANNE FREEMAN (2007) Associate Professor. BS, LaSierra University; MS, University of Nevada; PhD, University of Arkansas.
JASMINE GOODNOW (2013) Assistant Professor. BS, Brigham Young University; MS, University of Utah; PhD, University of Utah.
JILL HECKATHORN (1980) Senior Instructor. BS, MA, Michigan State University.
LINDA A. KEELER (2012) Assistant Professor. BA, Colgate University; MA, University of Maryland; EdD, West Virginia University.
YING LI (2006) Associate Professor. BMEd, Zhejiang College; MS, Zhejiang University; MEd, University of Cincinnati; PhD, University of Florida.
LEAANN MARTIN (1991) Dean and Professor. BS, Southwest Missouri State University; MS, University of Arizona; PhD, University of Texas.
MICHELLE MIELKE (2012) Assistant Professor. BS, Barry University; MS, Florida Atlantic University; PhD, University of Nebraska.
KEITH C. RUSSELL (2008) Professor. BS, Lewis and Clark College; MS, PhD, University of Idaho.
BERNARDO SAN JUAN JR. (2013) Assistant Professor. BS, University of Philippines; MA, San Diego State University; PhD, University of Oregon.
DAVID N. SUPRAK (2008) Associate Professor. BS, Eastern Washington University; MS, Western Washington University; PhD, University of Oregon.
SENNA TOWNER (2014) Assistant Professor. BS, Southern Oregon University; MS, University of Montana; PhD, Oregon State University.
Affiliated Teaching Faculty

WREN CUNNINGHAM (2012) Instructor, BS, MS, Western Washington University; DPT, Duke University.
LINDSAY POYNTER (2010) Instructor. BA, Western Washington University; MA, Naropa University.


    Undergraduate MajorUndergraduate MinorGraduate


      Coaching Development

      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.

      Health Education

      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.


      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.

      Physical Education

      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.

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