Adelphi University, Department of Health Studies, Physical Education and Human Performance
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Adelphi University, Department of Health Studies, Physical Education and Human Performance

By Ron Feingold, Professor and Chair

Department of Health Studies, Physical Education and Human Performance Science is best known for its former director, William G. Anderson, MD, who is considered the founder of our American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) in 1885. It was Anderson who called the meeting to establish the American System of Exercise and from that meeting of approximately sixty leaders on the East Coast the formation of the American Association for the Advancement of Physical Education was established. However, it was not until the late 1940’s that physical education as a teacher preparation program began at Adelphi. Up until, WWII, Adelphi was a small liberal arts college for women.

In 1976-78, the physical education teacher preparation program expanded its mission to include programs outside of traditional teaching, including Sport Management, Adapted Physical Education and Exercise Science, and in 1988 Health Studies was brought back to the Department. From 1972 to 1988 it had been separated as a distinct department within the university. At the time, with the increased emphasis on health issues and a more holistic view of the profession, it made sense to bring them back together.

Today, we have undergraduate and graduate programs in Health Education (teaching certification), Community Health, Physical Education (teacher certification), Health and Physical Education (dual certification), Adapted Physical Education, Sport Management Exercise Science, and under development is a youth sport program (Don Hellison and James Kallusky advisors).

We have 18 full-time faculty covering the many varied programs, two full-time clinical faculty and approximately twenty adjunct faculty, most of whom teach specialized courses in our sport management or exercise science programs. Housing all of the health and physical education faculty and programs is Woodruff Hall, a building that also housed athletics, recreation and dance. In 2003, a $120 million building campaign focused on the expansion and development of facilities that included the development of an ultra-modern performing arts center, a recreation and athletics complex, and a completely renovated Woodruff Hall as a teaching and research center for the department. The project and all buildings were completed in 2008. As a result our lab space increased 10 fold, and teaching space for the first time was not shared with athletics and recreation.

Undergraduate Program

We have approximately 300 undergraduate students, most of whom are in the teacher preparation program (BS Physical Education). Our fastest growing program, however, is in exercise science (BS Exercise Science) which has two tracks, one in fitness leadership and the other in pre-physical therapy. Sport management also has two tracks, one leading to a B.S. in Sport Management and the other, a five year program leading to an MBA with an emphasis in sport management.

Graduate Program

At the graduate level, we offer an MA in Health Studies, MA in Community Health, MA in Physical Education, MS in Exercise Science and MS in Sport Management. Again, we have approximately 300 students with the largest in what is called GATE (Graduate Alternative Teacher Education) Program where these students come from different careers and decided to become certified teachers of Physical Education. The program is a combination of undergraduate and graduate levels and leads to the MA in Physical Education.

Internship Opportunities

Perhaps one of our strengths, because of our location has been in the development of internships and field work opportunities. In all of the programs, health, physical education adapted physical education, sport management and exercise science require extensive field work. In physical education, we require field work internships prior to student teaching (one year at the undergraduate and one semester at the graduate level). As a culminating experience in sport management, students are required to do an internship in the many varied organizations in the Greater New York area which include venues such as Madison Square Garden, Nassau Coliseum, eighteen professional teams in the area, minor league baseball, NBA, NFL, SNY sport media, plus athletic departments in college or public schools. Internships in exercise science include placements in corporate fitness, numerous rehabilitation centers on Long Island, Hospitals, and Fitness Centers. In addition, we run our own cardiac rehabilitation program and adult fitness programs, and a childhood obesity clinic jointly run with Winthrop Hospital.

Unique Features

Besides the numerous internship opportunities in sport management and exercise science, we also offer fieldwork and course offerings at the Henry Viscardi School, an internationally renowned school and factory for the physically disabled. In addition, through a grant with the Hempstead Schools and the Red Cross, the department offers a life guard training program for minority students in Hempstead which closely aligns with Don Hellison’s TPSR model for social responsibility. Similar to the leadership training program in Hempstead, we work with the program called, Athletes Helping Athletes. This program brings high school athletes to the university for training on the prevention on alcohol, drug abuse, and violence against women. These athletes are then expected to help disseminate this information with elementary school children in their school district. A requirement within our teacher education and sport management programs is a course on violence prevention and volunteer work during this workshop. Another required course is the second field work course, where many of our students work with children in the Hempstead girls and boys club. At the same time these students do field work in the schools where they are required to complete a community service project for the school and report back through a power point presentation. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the university, a goal of social justice for all students in the School of Education was adopted. The department chair, while serving as the dean developed a “Peace Studies” Committee across the university. Within this committee, a minor on Peace studies was developed along with a network with the US Peace Academy, an annual conference with the Nassau County Human Rights Commission, and a conference with the United Nations. At these conferences, students have an opportunity to participate in a video exchange with teachers in other countries on Human Rights issues.


Our faculty have received numerous grants and honors over the years. With the increase in laboratory space and equipment, the productivity in exercise science has expanded. In order to show the variety of projects and the interest in applied research, a few of the recent projects include: acupuncture and delayed muscle soreness, energy cost of active video games, energy cost of zumba exercises, impact of using TPSR model in a school aquatics program, sport-based youth development in underserved communities, assessment systems for the differently abled population, childhood obesity, and technology integration impact on schools are just a few of the ongoing projects being conducted in the program.

In addition, the department has a long history of leaders in the profession. The faculty includes: State Presidents, National President, and International President, present and former Board members, ACSM , NASPE, NAKPEHE, AKA, American Heart Association and AAHPERD. In addition, they have been instrumental in implementing Physical Best as a national program, POLAR heart rate monitor training center, and recently are working with a local school district on a $1.3 million technology and fitness grant.

For additional information, please contact Ron Feingold, Professor and Chair, Adelphi University, Department of Health Studies, Physical Education & Human Performance Science, Garden City, New York 11530