University Senate

Proposed: 22 February 2002









WHEREAS,     the Education Committee has favorably reviewed a proposal (described in the attached statement of purpose) from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Teachers College to establish a new doctoral program in Kinesiology, and


WHEREAS,     the committee is satisfied that this program has been approved by the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Dean of the Graduate School, the Registrar, the University Librarian, and the Provost;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED,       that the University Senate establish a new Ph.D program in Kinesiology, with the proviso that the Education Committee will review the program in five years;


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,                        that this resolution be forwarded to the Trustees for appropriate action.






                                                                                                Senate Committee on Education



The proposed program is directed toward preparing the current and the next generation of leaders in movement-based areas of education. These leaders will assume professorial roles in universities and colleges within departments of Movement Sciences/Kinesiology, and Physical and Occupational Therapy. The proposed program will prepare scholars to conduct research on the critical issues related to processes underlying the learning, development, and performance of functional action that enable humans across life span to interact with their everyday physical and social environments (i.e., posture, locomotion, manipulation). Research will be directed toward elucidating processes that provide the bases for education and rehabilitative strategies in such areas as (1) cardiovascular, respiratory, and muscle functions that are prerequisite for effective movement, (2) neuromotor control processes in typically developing and physically challenged individuals, (3) behavioral and biomechanical factors underlying the acquisition and development of movement skills, and (4) instructional strategies to facilitate skill acquisition over the life span. These processes are examined not only in laboratory-based settings, but also in real-life settings, such as schools and rehabilitation clinics. Thus, the proposed program is unique in that it aims to prepare basic and applied researchers within an applied educational context.

            The proposed program shares with the Ed.D. program in Movement Sciences and Education a core of substantive courses and seminars. However, the two programs differ in major ways. Preparation in the Ed.D. program would prepare leaders who are “scholars of practice,” able to draw valid applications from basic and applied research dealings with areas in the movement sciences having implications for education and clinical practice. Graduates of the Ed.D. program serve as educators in the professional training of clinicians and educators. Preparation in the Ph.D. program in Kinesiology would prepare researchers in the areas of Movement Sciences or Kinesiology for professorial positions at Research I universities. The two programs would diverge at advanced stages of doctoral preparation, the Ph.D. program having more emphasis on research and less on coursework. Most important, the standard for the dissertation would differ. The Ph.D. in Kinesiology would require a series of studies contributing to a body of knowledge in the field. The Ed.D. dissertation would also demonstrate research competence, but would focus on clinical and educational applications. The nature of the coursework would also differ between the two degrees. Students in the Ph.D. program would be required to enroll continuously throughout their studies in research training seminars that emphasize presentations of student and faculty scholarly work, grant writing, and research methods. The Ph.D. students would also take more research coursework. The proposed program will not replace any existing programs. In the Ed.D. program, advanced work would focus on additional coursework with applications of the existing knowledge base and on the implications for professional preparation programs. Having the Ph.D. degree would allow us to maintain our present position as an internationally recognized doctoral program that prepares outstanding researchers in kinesiology.



Other departments across the country offer study within the domains of kinesiology, including the behavioral, biomechanical, and cardiorespiratory factors affecting human performance. However, our program is unique in that we incorporate the study of neuromotor and physiological function. There is increasing awareness that understanding of these processes requires knowledge of how people perform in real-life settings. For example, focus of study in our program is on understanding movements such as locomotion or hand manipulation and relearning these skills following neurological damage. Focus of study is also on understanding and restoration of autonomic balance in a variety of patients (e.g., heart disease, spinal cord injured, Präder-Willi syndrome, orthostatic intolerant elderly, sleep apneic individuals). There is demand currently for faculty with these competencies; however, few existing programs are able to cover these areas in depth.

            Students constantly inquire about the possibility of a Ph.D. in Kinesiology. Nationally, there are many institutions offering graduate study in the movement sciences (many of these programs staffed by our graduates). Most often, these new programs offer the Ph.D. degree in addition to master’s-level preparation.