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VCU to eliminate physical education teachers program

7/23/2013, 2:40 p.m.
The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education will be eliminating the undergraduate concentration in the program that prepares health and ...

— The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education will be eliminating the undergraduate concentration in the program that prepares health and physical education teachers.

The concentration in general health and physical education has experienced low enrollment over the past decade and had no permanent faculty remaining, said Christine S. Walther-Thomas, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Education. The decision was reached following a full academic program review and a self-study related to program accreditation.

“This was a tremendously difficult decision to make,” said Walther-Thomas. “The VCU School of Education faculty and staff are committed to student academic success and attainment of their teaching career goals, and we intend to support our faculty and our students as they work toward completion of their degrees.”

Students currently admitted into the general health and physical education undergraduate concentration in the bachelor of science degree (B.S.) in health, physical education, and exercise science (HPEX) for the fall semester, and those already enrolled and meeting benchmarks and deadlines toward completion of the master of teaching degree (M.T.), will be able to complete their programs and receive degrees.

The phased elimination of the general health and physical education concentration will begin in the fall of 2013 and will continue through the spring of 2018. The exercise science concentration is not affected and the HPEX undergraduate degree will continue.

There are currently 54 undergraduate students in the general health and physical education concentration and three graduate students in the master of teaching program, who will graduate with the B.S. and M.T. degrees with Virginia teacher licensure if they meet established benchmarks. The VCU School of Education faculty and staff are committed to student academic success and attainment of their teaching career goals. A letter explaining the process was sent to students and their families outlining HPEX program meetings to be held in the fall that will review requirements and timelines and discuss progress individually with all students currently enrolled in the program.

“While addressing the health needs of the commonwealth is vitally important to VCU, it was determined that the School of Education’s resources need to be reallocated to teacher preparation programs that have more robust enrollment and are in other high-need areas across the commonwealth of Virginia,” said Walther-Thomas.

The VCU School of Education, which is ranked 28th among U.S. graduate schools of education according to U.S. News & World Report (2013), will continue to build on its strengths, preparing students for education careers in high-need content areas such as science, technology, engineering, math, special education, counselor education, and school leadership, said Walther-Thomas.