The Rise of Kinesiology at SU

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by Julian Noyola

The history of Kinesiology at Southwestern University is a history that has remained a mystery. Up until now. In this document, I plan to dive into the realm of the undiscovered and uncover the history of Kinesiology at Southwestern and the United States as a whole. I do this through first establishing the methodical approach that is used to study the history of a science, then I examine the history of Kinesiology, and finally I examine the history of Kinesiology at Southwestern University.

The methodical approach that is typically used to study the history of a science is that of the application of the deficit model to the specified science. “In the 1980s, the ‘deficit model’ became popular in the English-speaking world through a movement called the ‘Public Understanding of Science’ (PUS) … It legitimised new professionals, science communicators, who were supposed to act as mediators to effectively and faithfully transmit ‘official’ knowledge to lay audiences … ”[1]  Having a mediator between science and the public is an idea that is used at

many colleges and careers around the world. In the case of Kinesiology in the “real” world, there

 

are gyms and Personal Trainers and Physical Therapists who are mediators between the actual science and the public. In the case of universities, some clubs promote different types of sciences to make the specified science more appealing to the public and gain students who want to partake in the specified science. To study the deficit model at a university usage of non-traditional sources must be used, such as yearbooks. The application of the deficit model at Southwestern will be explained in the fourth paragraph.

To examine the history of Kinesiology, one must know its connection to Physical Education. Physical Education is not referred to the Physical Education that students take during their elementary school, middle school, or high school education; instead, it refers to the academic departments of Physical Education in Higher Education.[2] This type of Physical

Education focuses on physical activity and human movement.[3] The connection that Physical

 

Education and Kinesiology have is that of “deeper roots” between the two disciplines. An aspect of these “deeper roots” consist of the curriculum that both disciplines follow. “Accordingly, the curriculum [of Physical Education] included aspects of anatomy and physiology, physics, and anthropometry… ”[4]  With Anatomy and Physiology being a class that was required in the

department of Physical Education, and it also being a class that is required to get a Kinesiology degree, it demonstrates the similarity between the two core curriculums. This commonality between the different disciplines is reiterated by Jaime Schultz in her chapter by mentioning, “Although many think that the subdisciplinary movement of kinesiology is something that originated in the mid-20th century, it is clear that it has deeper roots.”[5] Those deeper roots come directly from the underlying storyline connection between Kinesiology and Physical Education. “… debates raged within the emergent sub-disciplines and studies over laboratory space, curricula, and resources as well as the right name for the school’s growing scientific focus (from physical education to human kinetics and now kinesiology).”[6] This quote proves the direct correlation between Physical Education and Kinesiology in terms of the shift and replacement in the name of the three departments - from Physical Education, to Human Kinetics, and finally, Kinesiology. To add to the argument of Physical Education being the precursor of the departments of Kinesiology, there is the fact that, “In the early 1960s, prodded by the words of Conant and Henry, members of the American Academy of Physical Education sought to determine what should constitute the discipline’s “body of knowledge.” The subsequent Big Ten Body-of-Knowledge Symposium identified six areas of specialization … These subdomains, along with several others, are currently recognized within kinesiology.”[7] As Physical Education was being pushed as an academic discipline, there were six areas of specialization within Physical Education: administrative theory in athletics and physical education, biomechanics, exercise physiology, history and philosophy of physical education, motor learning/sport psychology, and sociology and sport education. These six areas are now subdomains that are recognized within Kinesiology. This demonstrates that Physical Education departments and Kinesiology departments both have a common foundation, therefore, proving the direct connection between Physical Education and Kinesiology. To firmly establish this direct connection between the history of Kinesiology of the United States and Southwestern University; that of starting as Physical Education and moving towards the title of “Kinesiology,” is the fact that “ If you take a look at Table 3-3, for example, you can see that what was once the American Academy of Physical Education gradually added “kinesiology” to its title and eventually dropped the phrase “physical education” altogether to become the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK).”[8] The table mentioned in the previous quote shows the Evolution of the National Academy of Kinesiology. Essentially, the table shows that in 1904, the National Academy of Kinesiology (present) was called the “Academy of Physical Education.” In 1926 it was then called “American Academy of Physical Education. In 1993 the academy switched names once again, and it was called the “American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education.” Finally, in 2010 the academy switched to its current title, which is the “National Academy of Kinesiology.” This comes to demonstrate the direct correlation between Kinesiology and its precursor, Physical Education, through the replacement of the title “Physical Education” throughout the years, to “Kinesiology,” which is demonstrated around the United States and at Southwestern, respectively at different times.

To begin, the main connection between the history of Kinesiology at Southwestern University and the historical development of Kinesiology in the United States is the storyline that both histories follow. Although both of these histories follow the same storyline, this storyline is fulfilled at different times. Kinesiology, as an overall field, started around the 1960s as a result of “Franklin Henry’s call from Berkeley in the 1960s for a more academic approach to the study of

human movement …”[9] The commencement of Kinesiology at Southwestern University and that

 

of Kinesiology in the United States is a difference of decades. According to the Southwester’ Yearbook, the first time the Department of Kinesiology is mentioned was in 1991.[10] Before the

Department of Kinesiology was mentioned though, the Department of Physical Education was mentioned for a significant number of years.[11] Dr. Carla Lowry in charge of the Physical

Education Department before she was the chair of the Department of Kinesiology,[12] meaning that

 

Physical Education is the predecessor of Kinesiology in the case of the history of Kinesiology at Southwestern University as well. This is also seen through the application of the deficit model at Southwestern. In order to get students more involved with Physical Education there was a club called the PEARL club - Physical Education. Athletic Recreation. And Leisure - that helped promote Physical Education and fitness to the student body - a core aspect of Physical Education. Once the Department of Physical Education turned into the Department of Kinesiology, the PEARL club no longer existed and was replaced by the Kinesiology Club to help promote the new science of Kinesiology at Southwestern.[13] Through the connection between these two

different, yet similar clubs, they demonstrate the connectedness between Physical Education and Kinesiology.

Through first explaining the methodical approach that is taken to study the history of science, it helps explain why non-traditional sources such as yearbooks are utilized to support the thesis. In order to understand the history of Kinesiology at Southwestern, the history of Kinesiology as a discipline itself must first be examined to make everything more understandable. Finally, the implementation of both previous concepts are incorporated into the history of Kinesiology at Southwestern to connect everything together. Even though there is now a solid foundation on what the history of Kinesiology consists of, there is still further research that needs to be done in order to completely connect the history of Kinesiology at Southwestern as a whole without there being loose details and two unanswered questions. The first question is, how did the curriculum of the Department of Physical Education change once it became the Department of Kinesiology in the 1990s? The last question is, why did Southwestern University wait until the 1990s to officially change the name of the Department of Physical Education to the Department of Kinesiology when that change was made about three decades earlier? Through further research and more time dedicated to this topic, the answers may eventually be found.

[1] Agusti Nieto-Galan, Science in the Public Sphere A history of lay knowledge and expertise (Oxfordshire: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2016), 3.

[2] Jaime Schultz, “A History of Kinesiology,” in Foundations of Kinesiology - 18th Edition, edited by Carole Oglesby (Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2018), 42.

[3] Schultz, “A History of Kinesiology,” 42.

[4] Jaime Schultz, “A History of Kinesiology,” in Foundations of Kinesiology - 18th Edition, edited by Carole Oglesby (Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2018), 43.

[5] Jaime Schultz, “A History of Kinesiology,” in Foundations of Kinesiology - 18th Edition, edited by Carole Oglesby (Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2018), 44.

[6] Patricia Vertinsky, "Shadow Disciplines, or a Place for Post-Disciplinary Liaisons in the North American Research University: What Are We to Do with Physical Cultural Studies?", in Playing for Change: The Continuing Struggle for Sport and Recreation, edited by Field Russell (Toronto; Buffalo; London: University of Toronto Press, 2015), 391

[7] Jaime Schultz, “A History of Kinesiology,” in Foundations of Kinesiology - 18th Edition, edited by Carole Oglesby (Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2018), 46-47.

[8] Jaime Schultz, “A History of Kinesiology,” in Foundations of Kinesiology - 18th Edition, edited by Carole Oglesby (Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2018), 50.

[9] Vertinsky, “Shadow Disciplines, or a Place for Post-Disciplinary Liaisons in the North American Research University: What Are We to Do with Physical Cultural Studies?”, 391.

[10] Southwestern University, Sou’Wester Yearbook. Georgetown, Texas: 1991, 34, Southwestern University, A. Frank Smith Jr. Library, Special Collections & Archives.

[11] Southwestern University, Sou’Wester Yearbook (Georgetown, Texas: 1984), 48, Southwestern University, A. Frank Smith Jr. Library, Special Collections & Archives.

[12] Sou’Wester Yearbook, 1991, 34.

[13] Sou’Wester Yearbook, 2000, 101.

 

The Rise of Kinesiology at SU