Townhall meeting raises questions over future of Physical Health & Education program

Q&A session evokes apprehension from students as faculty answered questions on proposal to suspend admissions

Hugh Horton, associate dean of Arts and Science, answered student concerns about the PHE program at Thursday evenings townhall meeting.
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The School of Kinesiology and Health Studies held a townhall meeting on Thursday evening in the hopes of answering questions about their proposal to suspend admissions into the Bachelor of Physical and Health Education (BPHE) program.

Last month, The Journal reported that the School will be requesting a suspension of admissions into the Physical and Health Education (BPHE) program starting in September 2017.

During the townhall meeting, students raised various concerns about the change, including the types of courses they will have to take and the underlying reason behind the proposed change.

“Our greatest concern moving forward is that the administration does not understand that the demographic of students interested in PHE, versus [those] interested in KIN is not the same,” said Lindsay Toth, president of the Physical and Health Education and Kinesiology Student Association (PHEKSA).

“PHE students do not wish to be KIN students, and KIN students do not want to be PHE students.”

Toth told The Journal that eliminating one or combining both programs could affect the “integrity” of the program.

“We want the administration to provide tangible evidence of how they will include student input moving forward,” Toth said.

Students also voiced concerns about the validity of graduating with a degree that is under review and said they were disappointed that alumni weren’t informed about the proposal.

Several faculty members sat on a panel at the event to answer questions. Stevenson Fergus, associate director and graduate coordinator, Anna van der Meulen, undergraduate coordinator, Susan Mumm, the dean of Arts and Science, Hugh Horton, associate dean of Arts and Science and Jean Côté, director of the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies (SKHS), each answered questions from students.

The panel of faculty and administrators told students that the proposal would first undergo significant consultation and input from the students before any action was taken.

According to Dr. Jean Côté, director of the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies (SKHS), the request came about as a result of change in the discipline as a whole.

The changes in the discipline included a decrease in the number of faculty available to recruit to the program, he said.

Several students asked questions regarding changes to the program and stated that they’re worried about how faculty and administration will handle the changes going forward.

Katie Toogood, PHE ’16, was present at the event. Like other students at the event, she said she’s concerned about how the changes will affect students in the future. 

“We are fighting for the interest of students of the future who cannot currently fight for themselves,” Toogood said.

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