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What’s in a name? Meet the new Allied Health, Kinesiology and Sport Sciences department at SEMO
In the 2023-24 school year, the department of Kinesiology, Nutrition and Recreation is changing its name to the department of Allied Health, Kinesiology and Sport Sciences. While a department name might not initially seem like a big deal, the change will affect many people, including prospective students and department members.
Department chair Jason Wagganer said making the department name more broad — “Allied Health” refers to any professional who works to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases — will help to avoid future name changes.
“It gives us more broad terms, which could allow us to still work to possibly modify programs in the future to continue to stay accurate because, as you know, fields change very quickly, and health fields have changed dramatically,” Wagganer said.
Wagganer said the department has recently shifted several degree options and added components from other programs. For example, the Recreation and Park Administration degree will be modified as an optional track of the Sport Management degree, a public health degree has been added from the Biology department, a Master of Science in Athletic Training program will start in Summer 2023 and a Respiratory Therapy degree will be introduced, which will partner with the Cape Girardeau Career & Technology Center.
Wagganer said these changes will help the department gain more of a cohesive identity, which will help them to continue to grow the program and gain some separation from the nursing department.
Avoiding future name changes is especially important when considering the rigorous process involved in changing a department name. University Provost Mike Godard said department name change requests start at the department level and are reviewed by the College Council and the dean before going to the provost and president for approval.
Godard said during the entire process, individuals can provide their input. A comprehensive market analysis is also involved to determine the demand for different degrees, in addition to trying to align the program and degree names with industry recognized terminology. Through these processes, the interests of educators, students and industry professionals help shape these changes before they are finalized, Godard said.
To avoid interdisciplinary overlap, Godard said when new courses are being proposed, they are posted for 10 days for faculty to respond to and mention any overlap between current courses.
Godard said when deciding which degrees the University will offer, they look at the employment marketplace and what other institutions are offering in order to determine what is in demand enough to make it worth bringing a program to SEMO.
Nutrition and Exercise Science graduate assistant Garrison Collier chose his degree path in order to learn how to utilize fitness and exercise in order to help people improve their health and become better people.
He said he anticipates the name change might pique the interest of prospective students who want to go into the health field but haven’t decided on a career path.