COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The University of Missouri Board of Curators approved Thursday a new degree focused on fitness, which will be completed completely online.
The bachelor of science in fitness programming and management program is 100 percent online and targeted at off-campus students only. Curator Darryl Chatman said curators had tough questions about the logistics of an online fitness degree at an earlier committee meeting.
The proposal received praise from several curators Thursday, saying it falls in line with the university's NextGen initiative and the UM System's push toward online learning.
Steve Graham, Senior Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs for the UM System said this program fits into the larger picture of what the NextGen Precision Heath initiative is.
"As we get programs that help people help our citizens become more aware of the health issues, and how to stay healthy, how to actively engage themselves in exercise and eating and fitness, that they will be able to provide a better, healthier population," Graham said.
The President of the University System Mun Choi gave an update on the NextGen Precision Health Initiative at Thursday's meeting.
Choi said it is more than just the building going up on Mizzou's Campus, but a system-wide approach to health care.
He said while Mizzou is receiving a new building, all of the universities in the system have been given funding to hire more faculty and do more research based on the initiative.
The new fitness degree program will be taught through technologies such as video conferencing. Students will also attend a “virtual” workshop focusing on advanced techniques.
The ability to teach exercise will be assessed through videos submitted by students, papers and online projects.
With a completely online degree, the university hopes to target mid-career professionals, active or retired military or people looking for a career change.
"It's not only unique, it's innovative in terms of tackling a real-world problem," Graham said.
In the first year, the program's budget allows for 30 full-time students and 15 part-time students. The university hopes the program will be able to accommodate 120 full-time students and 60 part-time students in four years.
The university hopes this program will help people in more rural areas of Missouri to teach their communities disease prevention as obesity rates continue to rise. The program will provide all of the coursework needed to take the national American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer Exam.
Check back for more on this developing story.