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K-State Today

January 14, 2013



Department of kinesiology moves to College of Human Ecology

By Communications & Marketing

The department of kinesiology is now part of the College of Human Ecology, an alignment that will strengthen Kansas State University's quest to be a Top 50 public research institution by 2025.

"The move of kinesiology into the College of Human Ecology makes sense academically and scientifically," said Virginia Moxley, dean of the College of Human Ecology. "Our faculty have collaborated with kinesiology professors on research such as childhood obesity."

David Dzewaltowski, head of kinesiology, said his department's two spheres -- exercise physiology and public health physical activity -- have a deep history of cooperation with faculty in human ecology.

Collaborations began more than 20 years ago when the university first offered a dual undergraduate degree in nutrition and kinesiology. The newest partnership is the Physical Activity and Nutrition Clinical Research Lab. 

Continuing instructional partnerships include a master's degree in public health and a Ph.D. in human nutrition with an emphasis in public health physical activity. Kinesiology also provides 23 hours of required course work for the athletic training degree. In addition, kinesiology has conducted extramurally funded research with the college's School of Family Studies and Human Services and the department of human nutrition in childhood obesity.

"We share a mission to discover, disseminate and apply science-based knowledge to meet basic human needs and improve the human condition," Dzewaltowski said. "Like other academic units within the College of Human Ecology, we promote health and well-being through research and teaching."

Some of the department of kinesiology's current research projects include a NASA study on physical characteristics necessary for an astronaut to perform tasks in space; to identify mechanisms of muscular microcirculatory dysfunction in heart failure, which is being funded by the National Institutes of Health; to find community-based solutions to childhood obesity; and to examine how increased body fat and a sedentary lifestyle may lead to the development of exercise-induced asthma in children.

Kinesiology enrolls more than 600 undergraduates and more than 50 graduate students, according to Dzewaltowski.

The move to the College of Human Ecology will provide an opportunity to meet the university's Vision 2025 objectives to increase research and development expenditures, raise the number of doctorates awarded and grow the number of undergraduates involved in research.

"Combining the strengths of research and teaching in the kinesiology department with the College of Human Ecology's mission of learning, research and outreach to people will allow greater opportunity to reach the goals of K-State 2025," said Provost April Mason.

President Kirk Schulz said that the university is deliberate when it realigns academic departments.

"Before the process even began, we first asked whether this change would advance Kansas State University," Schulz said. "It was clear that moving the department of kinesiology to the College of Human Ecology would benefit teaching and research collaborations. More important, we saw how opportunities for students would thrive under the realignment. Both are critical to becoming a Top 50 public research university."

"Given the history of collaborative teaching and research and the directions laid out in the strategic plans for the department of kinesiology and College of Human Ecology, this makes sense. They are aligned together to focus directly on the global human condition," said Peter Dorhout, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, former home of kinesiology.

"We are thrilled to welcome kinesiology and look forward to working together to serve our students and advance science," Moxley said.