Kinesiology is the systematic study of human movement that integrates information drawn from many domains to form its own unique body of knowledge. Physiological, biomechanical, and behavioral levels of analysis are used to illuminate cellular, systemic, organismic, psychological, and sociocultural antecedents and adaptations to human movement. Kinesiology provides an informed understanding of the role of physical activity to an individual's physical and mental health. Contribution to the body of knowledge related to the study of human movement and the dissemination of this body of knowledge to students and business, education, health-care and government institutions, and the scientific community at large are at the center of the Department of Kinesiology's mission of liberal learning. In reaction to an increasing sedentary society, the Department of Kinesiology shares the responsibility of the land-grant mission of Kansas State University to respond to the needs of students and the people of Kansas and beyond. Public policy documents, such as Health Kansas 2000, Healthy People 2010, the 1995 National Institutes of Health Consensus and Development Conference on Physical Activity and Public Health, and the Surgeon General's report Physical Activity and Health (1996), all identify the need for research, teaching and service targeting physical activity promotion and chronic disease prevention and rehabilitation.
The objective of the undergraduate degree programs (B.A. in Kinesiology, B.S. in Kinesiology, B.S. in Nutrition and Exercise Sciences) is to develop a greater understanding of human participation in physical activities such as exercise, sport, activities of daily living, and work. Understanding the human movement experience involves the integration of a body of knowledge that builds on an intellectual base formed from the study of both the natural and behavioral sciences. Core areas of study are based in the natural and behavioral sciences and include physiological, biomechanical, psychological, sociological, and sociocultural aspects of human movement. Upper level courses provide depth and breadth in selected core areas and emphasize the ability to apply and communicate basic movement analysis concepts and techniques (e.g., control of motor functions, biomechanical, psychological, and physiological assessment). A series of "capstone" courses are provided for seniors in selected areas of specialization. For example, students preparing for careers in physical activity promotion, cardiac rehabilitation, or physical therapy might take an upper division course in Therapeutic Exercise. The primary objective of these capstone courses is to provide the student with an intensive experience in analytical thinking, research, and written and verbal expression in their chosen area of interest.
The undergraduate degrees provide a liberal arts perspective and strong scientific foundation for a variety of health-related professions. Graduates from the program pursue a wide range of career options, making it difficult to develop a short list of variables to assess performance. However, the series of courses integrated into the undergraduate program provides students with a variety of skills preparing students for graduate study or health-related professional schools. Also, students may select a series of courses and practica providing skills and techniques that prepare them for careers in physical fitness.
The department of kinesiology contributes to the general and liberal education of all students at K-State through a series of exercise and lifetime sports physical activity classes and an introductory course (Biobehavioral Basis of Exercise) that contributes toward the University general education and College of Arts and Sciences life science distribution requirements.
Relationship of Research to Undergraduate Programs
Through the research activities of the faculty, the department makes scholarly contributions to the kinesiology body of knowledge, which illuminates the importance of physical activity to an individual's physical and mental health. Upper level undergraduate students are routinely introduced to, and involved with, research related to the department's research mission.
The professional expertise and skills of kinesiology faculty are shared with the community-at-large (university, community, and profession) through a variety of activities. These include: (1) service on College and University committees, (2) interviews with local news media, (3) community service organizations and activities, (4) editorial reviews of professional and research journals, leadership in professional organizations, and (5) presentations and publications in professional journals.