Faculty at SPSCC are currently working to increase the physical education options available at the school.
In recent years, SPSCC’s PE department has shrunk immensely. Dean of Natural and Applied Sciences Allen Olson reported that funding was cut from the PE department five years ago because of the recession. He said: “PE courses were seen as expendable because they did not count toward any degree program.”
Rebecca McClinon, Associate Professor in the PE department, describes that financial strain on students was a second factor. “Where students used to fill/round out their schedules with an activity course or two, the recession has now limited funds, forcing students, for financial reasons, to take only those courses that would count towards their degrees, or transfer for credit,” McClinon said.
According to Olson, there were nearly twice as many students enrolled in PE courses before the recession as there are now. McClinon added that the staff in the department was triple what it is now.
The school is now interested in expanding the PE department. However, there must be enough students interested in taking part in these classes. “The school as a whole is still trying to generate renewed interest in the Physical Education department,” stated McClinon.
McClinon also stressed the importance of physical activity for students: “Students that move, feel better, learn better and retain more information. Physical activity improves mood, decreases depression, improves cardiovascular health, improves sleep… decreases risk for injuries, increases self-esteem, [and] lowers risk for behavior diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers.”
Olson said the school is still working, but the primary struggle is getting enough students to register so that classes are not cancelled. McClinon invites students to voice their opinions on what classes they would like to take.