Students in the exercise physiology major are now part of the Department of Health Services.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has reorganized some of its programs this semester to better serve its students. The Department of Health, Recreation and Human Performance was divided into the Department of Health Services and the Department of Human Performance and Recreation. 

The decision to divide the department was made to accommodate the needs of the nearly 6,000 students enrolled in the original department and the 24 faculty members who serve them. The college now has a total of six departments. 

The Department of Health Services has taken on all public health, occupational safety & health, and healthcare administration majors (3,334 students, 1,497 of which are online students) and the Department of Human Performance and Recreation will take on all exercise physiology, recreation management, and physical therapy majors (2,189 campus students).

Jim Hopla who serves as the first chair of the Department of Health Services says that plans to reorganize the department began last year. 

According to Hopla these changes will allow the department administration to direct more focus towards students’ success in school and their chosen field of employment.

“It will cut back on the administrative load and enhance each department,” Hopla said. “We can focus a lot more on the right programs and make sure that they are working for the students. Especially when it comes to outcomes, we are very outcome driven.”

Hopla believes these changes will allow the departments to align with the university’s goals to increase freshmen retention. 

“It’ll help us focus on advancing current students and mentoring in-coming freshmen more,” Hopla said. “Especially when they’re taking those preliminary courses. It will hopefully connect them more to why they’re taking that degree and what they can do with it after graduation.”

As the department changes are implemented faculty members will have more time to help students gain real-world preparation. 

“These outcomes and courses prepare students to go out and find good internships and jobs,” Hopla said. “We’re finding that we have more time to encourage our students to have about a year of experience prior to graduation. It makes them more marketable.”