This year’s freshmen, and future Concordia students, have had a weight lifted off their shoulders for the academic school year. They will no longer be required to fulfill a physical education course to complete their core curriculum.

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Jessica Nellermoe participates in the PED 112 yoga class. Photo by Maddie Malat.

According to Chair of Physical Education and Health Department, Dr. Kristen Hetland, wellness activities aren’t disappearing completely, they just are no longer an academic requirement. ”We are dropping it from the core and making it bigger on campus,” Hetland said. “We are making it something more than a box you have to check.”

With the hope of making physical activity a bigger presence, the athletic department is handing over some of their roles into the hands of the Student Affairs Office, according to Hetland.

“We are going to make it easy for people to want to do more,” Hetland said. “Make it fun and offer a variety of activities at different times. Maybe it’s Resident Life who comes up with a weekly or monthly activity.”

Brainstorming has been taking place throughout the department according to Head Women’s Basketball Coach Jessica Rahman. Rahman talks of offering a wellness curriculum instead of a single required PE 112 class, with coaches still taking part in some of the teaching, but students not required to take it. “I think that those opportunities are still going to be there, they’re just trying to brainstorm how that is going to happen,” Rahman said. “There is going to be a big push on that wellness component and trying to keep students and faculty active.”

While one less class added onto a student’s workload may seem heaven sent, professors are also taking a cut in their workload, not always for the better. Generally, the professors that teach the PE 112 classes are also coaches on campus; all the coaches and professors that were teaching a PE 112 course kept their jobs, but were reassigned other duties.

“I’m going to miss teaching dance class,” Rahman said. “I’ve taught it for 12 years and I just love teaching that class.”

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Yoga students from Bonnie Siverson’s PED course move through a cycle of poses. Photo by Maddie Malat

Rahman found an interest in dance and aerobics while she was a student on campus. “I took mostly the classes that were the aerobics classes,” Rahman said. “For me it was kind of a great release. You get in there and you exercise and forget about anything else that is going on.”

Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Grant Hemmingsen teaches basketball and aerobic walking, giving him the opportunity to meet a variety of students.

“For me it’s being able to walk around campus and know more than just the basketball kids,” Hemmingsen said. “I like engaging with kids.”

Having a passion for an activity and getting to teach that activity to others is just an added benefit that comes out of the PE 112 courses. There are a variety of benefits that can come from the course.

“Most of the activity classes on campus are taught by coaches, so most coaches are able to expand students’ knowledge like, ’Hey if you really like this, the weight room is open at these times and it’s accessible to you guys,’” Hemmingsen said.

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Photo by Maddie Malat.

“It’s an opportunity to either further your skills in a certain activity or it’s a safe place to come in and learn these new skills,” Rahman said.

While the PE 112 course provides many benefits, taking the course away from the core curriculum serves some positives as well. According to Hemmingsen it gives students the opportunity to narrow in and focus on their area of expertise, while allowing the coaches to also focus on their primary job.

“Recruiting is a big part of our job,” Hemmingsen said.

“Sometimes if you are teaching an activities course and you have to be here during the week you can’t hit the road Tuesdays and Wednesdays because you have to be here for your teaching.”

A focus of Concordia is to bring students through the door, and freeing up a block of time helps coaches do just that.

While coaches look to focus more of their attention on other responsibilities, the sophomores, juniors and seniors who are grandfathered into the old curriculum have the responsibility of a completing a physical education requirement. They must find time to fit in the course either this fall or spring semester. If the course is not completed before the end of this year, students are forced to find other options.

This proves problematic for students studying abroad or with tight schedules. One option is to take the required course through MSUM or NDSU. A second option available is for the students that are grandfathered into the old curriculum to switch over to the new curriculum, which could end up in impossible reworking for the student.

The reporter inquired specifically about the amount of courses cut, and other details pertaining to PED curriculum, but the department chair declined to comment.

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Aubrie Odegaard

is planning to graduate May of 2017 from Concordia College working toward a double major in Communication Studies and Multimedia Journalism.

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