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Wellness program gets revised

MOORHEAD — The required physical education classes in Concordia College’s core curriculum have been revised. Students will now take wellness classes as a requirement for the core curriculum, primarily composed of an online lecture and a linked in-person lab. 

The goal of the revision was to “improve clarity for students as well as ease course maintenance for instructors,” according to an email that was sent out to students by the Office of the Registrar at Concordia College. 

Stefanie Meyer, an assistant professor and the Wellness Director at Concordia, runs the curriculum for wellness.  

Meyer stated that the curriculum is for an incoming first-year experience, and would have students taking two credits of wellness over two different semesters. This is in contrast with continuing students who only need to take one credit.  

The courses are designed to inform and walk students through different aspects of health in day to day life. The topics covered range from physical education to multiple types of health. 

Other topics and class discussions have more emphasis on social and academic health, like study skills, spotting misinformation, and refraining from drug and alcohol usage.  

Meyer discussed a particular area of the curriculum called the Seven Dimensions Of Wellbeing. These dimensions are there to drive classroom discussion and categorize the different areas of health into general categories. 

The Seven Dimensions Of Wellbeing were split between both the Wellness 110 course and the Wellness 111 course due to the vast amount of information to cover for each dimension. 

Meyer stated that Wellness 110 has a primary focus more on social, emotional, and physical wellbeing compared to the Wellness 111 course that dives further into spirituality, nutrition, and environmental sustainability. 

Wellness 110 and 111 go hand in hand with a lab for each class as well. Classes will typically meet only once a week, where they will complete the labs by doing activities. 

Outside of class time, students could expect to complete readings or watch short videos. 

“The courses were designed so they’re very self-reflective,” Meyer stated. “It’s designed to be very individualized.” 

Gwen Halaas, the Dean of the Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions, helped create the revision and new vision for the wellness course.  

During the revision of the course, the main goal according to Halaas was to recreate the course so it included more aspects of overall wellness. This included aspects of life like occupations and vocations, environmental health, and social health.  

A focus was to help teach students about how to build life skills and good habits such as healthy coping mechanisms.  

“It’s much more than just physical wellness,” Halaas said. “We thought it was really important for first year students in college to learn more about all of the dimensions of wellness.” 

There was also the need, according to Halaas, for a more consistent curriculum. She discussed how there was a lot of variability in professors who were teaching the course. 

Anthony Renz is a wellness instructor at Concordia, as well as the college’s head baseball coach and equipment manager. He has had experience being a wellness instructor since approximately 2020. 

Before the wellness revision was made, a physical education class would only span for approximately half a semester. Classes would take place multiple times a week depending on the days that they were being instructed.  

The revision edited the time that was needed to complete the course. It is now being taught over a whole semester, with the lab taking place once a week.  

“You kind of get more individual detail based on each topic, and a little more time to discuss each topic,” Renz said.  

Renz stated that students can expect to have more time for hands-on activities as well.  

“I think it should enhance the wellness experience for every student,” Renz said. 

From an instructor perspective, Renz stated that teaching could also be more seamless with the revision. Every week there would be one topic with an activity to go along with it.  

He discussed how it was less seamless having only eight weeks in past semesters and trying to get all the information included in teachings and activities. 

“I think it’s a little less bogged up. I think it helps with retention and activity involvement with the students,” Renz stated. 

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