AdmissionsU.S.News Best Colleges 2011

Physical Education and Health

Helping to improve the quality of life

Living life to its fullest calls for paying close attention to our health and well-being. Throughout our lives, we depend on the skills and knowledge of physical educators and health professionals to help us make better decisions about nutrition, exercise, preventive health practices and lifetime activity — all important elements of a healthy lifestyle. 

At Elon, you can explore your interest in these areas as you prepare for a career. The Department of Health and Human Performance offers a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and health. As a physical education and health major, you will benefit from small classes and strong mentoring relationships with your professors. Elon prepares you for physical and health education – a model that is considered ideal preparation by K-12 school professionals yet uncommon in many colleges and universities. Here, you will have many opportunities for hands-on learning as you choose from a variety of field experiences and practicums.

Now is an exciting time to enter the field of physical education and health. This profession is just beginning to tackle our nation’s growing problem with inactivity and its associated risk factors to children. Physical education and health have never been more needed for our nation’s youth.

“Being a physical education and health major offers the opportunity to have interpersonal relationships with both your professors and fellow students that are unmatched by other majors. Every professor is genuinely invested in each student as well as the field of physical education.  … After sitting through just one class I knew physical education and health was the best way for me to both enjoy my time at Elon and make a difference in the lives of young children for years to come."

Rob Brown ’12

Early classroom experience

Elon’s physical education and health program prepares you for a teaching career in a public or private school setting. The carefully designed curriculum will give you the skills you need to establish and maintain programs that promote students’ mental, social and physical well-being, and improve their health-related fitness levels and motor skills. Obtaining teaching licensure in physical education with an endorsement in health improves your employment options. Many students also pursue advanced degrees in graduate school once they’ve completed their physical education and health degree.

An important feature of Elon’s teacher education philosophy is early classroom experience. As a physical education and health major, you will apply what you learn in a real classroom beginning your freshman or sophomore year. Your level of involvement increases each year, and your field study culminates with a full semester of student teaching during your senior year. One recent student even completed his student teaching abroad, at the Marian Baker School in San Jose, Costa Rica. By the time you graduate you will have the knowledge, skills and poise needed to enter your own classroom with confidence.

Excellent preparation for a career

The physical education and health program has been carefully designed to prepare students to excel in the realities of a workplace setting. Majors receive a strong foundation in science through the study of human anatomy and physiology, exercise physiology and biomechanics. Additionally, you will learn about contemporary issues such as personal safety, nutrition, substance abuse and the best methods of teaching all levels of physical and health education. This foundation of knowledge and your classes in pedagogy (how to teach) allow you to apply theory to your emerging professional practice. You will soon discover your own teaching style and the most effective techniques for teaching others.

"Being expose to physical education and health classrooms each semester, beginning freshman year, helped me build a strong background in classroom management and fine-tune my teaching skills each year. By senior year student-teaching, I was already steps ahead of previous student teachers from other schools in terms of confidence and core teaching skills."

Katherine Molzon '10

Accomplished faculty

Physical education and health students learn from experienced professors who have varied scholarly interests and backgrounds and share a love of teaching and research. 

Dr. Michael Calhoun, Professor of Health and Human Performance, has varied teaching and research interests that focus on preventive medicine, human behavior, relationships and motivation.

Professor Bryan Hedrick has extensive experience teaching physical education and health in K-12 public schools and at the university level. Professor Hedrick’s areas of expertise include substance use and abuse, teaching methodology, sport skill acquisition and lifestyle choices.

Dr. Carol A. Smith has a strong background in physical education and health pedagogy and outdoor experiential education. Her primary research interest is in the decision-making skills and ethical and moral reasoning of undergraduate students.  

Professor Lynda Butler-Storsved, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, has nine years of experience as a public school teacher and coach. She serves as coordinator of the Activity Program and teaches wellness, courses in the coaching minor and activity classes.  Lynda is active also as Elon Academy’s Coordinator of the Athletic Evening Curriculum.

Dr. Amy Stringer, coordinator of the physical education and health program, draws from 16 years of K-12 health and physical education teaching experience both abroad and in the US. Her research interests include cognitive engagement in physical education, contextual factors influencing physical education programs, and teaching & study abroad experiences in teacher education.

Professor Amanda Tapler is the Coordinator for the interdisciplinary Public Health Studies Minor and coordinators the delivery of the required wellness course.  She currently teaches Contemporary Wellness Issues, Human Sexuality, and Introduction to Public Health courses.  Professor Tapler is the advisor for the Health and Wellness Learning Community and the faculty advisor for the service fraternity APO.  Tapler provides an outreach program for mothers and their daughters called, “Growing Up and Liking It,” through the Women’s Resource Center in Alamance County.

Professor Resa E. Walch, Chair of the Health and Human Performance Department, Senior Lecturer and Faculty Fellow for Substance Education provides leadership for departmental initiatives and actively serves on major university committees.  Professor Walch mentors students in research related to health issues and college students.  Her research interests include alcohol and other drugs issues on college campuses and health behaviors of first year students.

“I have always had an interest in physical education, but when I arrived at Elon and met some of the faculty involved with the major, I was hooked. The introductory classes are interesting, and each professor involved has become a personal friend.”

Jenna Temple ’10

Excellent facilities

Physical education and health majors have access to Elon’s premier exercise and sports training facilities. Majors benefit from Elon’s gymnasiums, Beck Pool, Stewart Fitness Center, aerobics and dance studios, outdoor facilities, track, tennis and racquetball courts. Students also have access to health-related technology such as heart-rate monitors, measurement equipment and various computer applications, as well as a fully equipped health and human performance laboratory.

After graduation

Graduates of Elon’s physical education and health program have an outstanding record of placement in teaching and coaching positions; in recent years, nearly 100 percent of graduates going immediately into teaching or coaching found K-12 employment. About a third of physical education and health alumni attend graduate school at institutions including the University of Tennessee, Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, University of Alabama, University of Virginia and University of Washington.


Visit the Department of Health and Human Performance Website.

Visit the School of Education Website.

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