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 Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Health (BS.PEH) is for students who want to work in physical activity and health related fields, but not teach in a public school setting.  Therefore, they are not eligible for teaching credentials.  This option will prepare students for a variety of careers which are health and physical activity based. Students will be able to move into the workforce in roles such as wellness coordinators, coaches, and other positions in the health and fitness industry; and will be graduate school ready if they are so inclined.

The Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Health, Teacher Education Licensure (BS.PEH.TLC) is for students who wish to teach in elementary, middle or high school programs.  Students majoring in this reiteration of the Physical Education and Health major choose a program leading to teacher licensure, and will become engaged through a program specifically designed to prepare prospective K-12 teachers to be active, knowledgeable and effective professionals. Courses devise experiences through which teacher candidates are able to effectively apply scientific knowledge and theory in school settings that impacts the health and wellness of all students. Physical Education and Health majors electing teacher licensure (K-12) will be eligible for credentials in both physical and health education.  Teaching credentials for the public schools are conferred by the respective state department of public instruction in which the student applies for teacher licensure.

“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. 

Professor Elizabeth Bailey, a certified Exercise Specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine, has a strong background in clinical exercise programming and health education. She teaches Nutrition and various health courses. She coordinates three programs offered on campus for children in 4th -7th grade which provide physical activity programming, health education and mentoring relationships with Elon student volunteers, and teaches exercise classes in the Faculty/Staff Wellness program. Her research interests include investigating the impact of various programming techniques to promote exercise behavior for health and the nutritional and exercise patterns of college 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 Physical Education and Health major as well as the minor in coaching. She is active also as Elon Academy’s Coordinator of the Athletic Evening Curriculum. Professor Storsved teaches pedagogy, fitness, health and a variety of coaching classes.

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 wellness. He serves as coordinator of the Activity Program and teaches COR 110 Global Studies for the university's Core Curriculum. Professor Hedrick actively serves on several School of Education and university committees.

Dr. Carol A. Smith, Associate Professor, has degrees in Physical Education & Health Education Pedagogy, and Adventure Based Learning. As the coordinator for the ABL minor, she is very involved in outdoor experiential programs, including the First Year Summer Experience “Adventures in Leadership” and travels with the Elon Gap Experience every year. Her class schedule includes the Introduction to Adventure Based Learning, and Adventure Based Eco-tourism in New Zealand each winter term. In addition to her classroom teaching, Dr. Smith is the mentor for the Class of 2017 Leadership Fellows and the Periclean Scholars. Her research includes effects of adventure based learning on student development such as locus of control, influences on leadership characteristics, and the retention rate from first to second year of university. In all instances of professional scholarship, she takes pride in including undergraduates as peer leaders and learners. 

Professor Amanda Tapler, Chair of the Department of Health and Human Performance and Senior Lecturer, provides leadership for departmental initiatives and serves on major university committees.  Professor Tapler contributes to the Public Health Studies Program as a faculty member and a mentor for student’s undergraduate research endeavors.  Professor Tapler works closely with the Comprehensive Rural Health Project in Jamkhed, India to offer unique health education and public health learning experiences. 

Professor Resa E. Walch, 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 the scholarship of teaching and learning and evidence-based prevention strategies.

“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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