The physical education teacher education program will no longer be available for students come 2022.
Erik Porfeli, the chair of the Department of Human Sciences, released a memo detailing the decision Jan. 24.
“Evolving trends in education require continual examination of our academic programs,” Porfeli said in the memo. “Over the next four years, this program will be phased out as our current students complete the program in 2022.”
Don Cain, the physical education, health and dance coordinator at Columbus City Schools, was unaware of the recent decision and saddened by the news.
“As a graduate, it makes me feel sad since OSU helped prepare me to be a quality physical educator,” Cain said in an email. “We have a lot of OSU graduates that are [physical education] teachers in Columbus City Schools that probably feel the same way that I do.”
Faculty members in the College of Education and Human Ecology declined to comment on the major’s termination.
The state of Ohio requires a bachelor’s degree and licensure to teach physical education. Ohio State isn’t the first school in the state to cut its undergraduate physical education major.
Capital University last offered the program during the 2013-14 academic year, according to archived bulletins. Ohio Wesleyan University stopped including the major in its course catalog during the 2014-15 academic year.
“Personally, I believe that it’s just a reflection of our society on the importance of physical activity [and] physical education [versus] other content areas,” Cain said.
Jonathan Rawley, a third-year in physical education teacher education, expressed his concerns as well.
“It’s never reassuring when you’re almost to graduation and your major will be phased out,” Rawley said. “Students in the major all know that we have to fight to keep physical education relevant in districts everywhere.”
He said physical education goes beyond what many think it is: a fun gym class for children.
“Physical education is more than kicking a ball around or playing dodgeball. It’s teaching kids how to live a healthy lifestyle and giving opportunities to kids to experience many different sports and the culture that comes with those sports,” Rawley said. “It’s creating a level playing field for all students to experience the value of physical education.”
Ohio State graduate programs, as well as the master’s and doctoral degrees, are unaffected and a master of sport coaching degree program will begin Autumn 2018.
Though the imminent demise of the physical education program is on the horizon, the end of the program might not be concrete — if it’s up to those currently enrolled.
“The future of physical education will always be something to fight for,” Rawley said.