History of the Department

Over the past four decades, what started as a professional-degree program in physical education has evolved into the Department of Integrative Physiology, with a broad range of physiological research programs and a science-based liberal arts curriculum that provides a foundation for a host of career options.

In 1973, the Department of Men's Physical Education and Recreation, which was located in Carlson Gymnasium, merged with the Department of Women's Physical Education and Dance, which was housed in Clare Small. At that time, the dance faculty in the Women's Department moved to theatre to become the Department of Theatre and Dance. Due to the decline in the demand for physical education teachers, the abolition of mandatory physical activity classes for students in the College of Arts and Sciences (1979), and the increasing interest in the physical therapy profession, the department changed its name in 1985 to the Department of Kinesiology. The recreation faculty moved to the Business School. The department almost immediately (1987) began to develop a proposal for a PhD program and this was eventually approved in 1996.

The curriculum and research interests of the faculty continued to evolve and in 2000 the name changed once again to the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology in recognition of the increased emphasis on the physiological aspects of movement. Given this focus, Dean Speer of the College of Arts and Sciences began the process of transferring the nine physiology faculty in the Department of Evolutionary, Population, and Organismic Biology to our department. The result of this reorganization, which was completed in 2003, was the Department of Integrative Physiology. The Department of Integrative Physiology has emerged as one of the high-performing faculties in the College of Arts and Sciences.