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ERIC Number: ED520436
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 233
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-1729-1
Physical Education at the Crossroads: An Examination of Physical Education Challenges, Changes, and Best Practices at Three Liberal Arts Colleges
Williams, Debra D.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
This dissertation is a qualitative case study of how three liberal arts colleges rationalized and provided physical education courses despite a trend in higher education to reduce or eliminate physical education from the curriculum. Kalamazoo College, Bennett College for Women, and Barnard College for Women continue to provide physical education and all students must fulfill a physical education requirement to graduate. Guided by a liberal arts ideal defined in terms of a curriculum that offers a broad base of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, each school carries out its mission and purpose through a set of core beliefs that includes physical education. For example, through general education requirements, a major subject requirement, electives, and physical education requirements, the structure and content of each school's curriculum strongly associates a functional relationship between education and wellness. This research sheds light on how wellness education--a combination of physical education and health and fitness concepts--relates to the fulfillment of a liberal arts education, and also sheds light on why it makes sense to provide physical education for college students. The study examines three cases through the lens of a liberal arts college standard where physical education represents and fulfills a degree requirement and also represents the opportunity to advance the health of students. This research found a strong commitment to wellness as an educational philosophy about student learning and student development. By creating and sustaining an educational environment that develops intellectual skills and habits of the mind, each school employed actions that focused on goals aimed to help students become more enlightened and well-rounded individuals. Further, through a confluence of curriculum decisions that supported physical education at these three colleges, a commitment to wellness education has allowed physical education to maintain relevance amidst trends that question its value and purpose. As a best practice aimed at encouraging students to participate in physical activity, physical education is a means to an end that is purposeful, goal oriented, traditional, and a way of doing things at Kalamazoo, Bennett, and Barnard. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan; New York; North Carolina