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Features University dubs HPR ‘School of Kinesiology’

University dubs HPR ‘School of Kinesiology’


The University of Southern Mississippi changed the name of the School of Human Performance and Recreation to give it a better appeal and to reach larger target audiences. The school is now known as the School of Kinesiology.

Scott Piland, director and professor of the School of Kinesiology, said the major drive behind the name change is an effort to better reach prospective students online — a means for the school to appear on search engines.

“In order for us to be current and for us to be recognizable, (we needed) to make the name change” – Piland

According to the American Kinesiology Association, kinesiology is defined as the academic discipline that involves the study of physical activity and its impact on health, society and quality of life.

Hanna Knowles, marketing communicator for the School of Kinesiology, spoke about the kinesiology program’s opportunities.

“The Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree offers three emphasis areas. These include exercise science, kinesiotherapy and physical education.” – Knowles

The School of Kinesiology also offers undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Undergraduate majors include athletic training, exercise science, kinesiotherapy,research agendas from projects important so they have the GP along history of passionate physical education, therapeutic involving health interventions to to succeed in our programs,” efforts to better serve our recreation and sport coaching education.

Master’s degrees are offered in exercise science, physical education and sport coaching education. The Ph.D in Kinesiology offers emphasis areas in sport pedagogy, biomechanics and exercise physiology.

“(Students) will understand the human body through the perspective of movement and physical activity.This knowledge will range from basic body structures to the overall social, emotional and physical benefits of positive physical activities.” – Piland

Nancy Speed, assistant director and physical education instructor at the School of Kinesiology, discussed what students might learn.

“What you learn about kinesiology depends upon the degree, which is why we have a core set of classes where you learn the bones and the muscles, bone mechanical principles and learn how the body responds to exercise,” Speed said.

“For instance, physical education would be about teaching you in coaching education about sport performance and how to improve people who have chosen to be athletes,” she said. “In exercise science you have a lot more of those principles that are applied specifically to exercise and how your body reacts.”

The School of Kinesiology faculty pursue a variety of research efforts facilitate new knowledge across all of our disciplines and they provide valuable experiences for our students at each level of degree programming,” Piland said.

Piland affirmed that the School of Kinesiology, in collaboration with colleagues from the School of Polymer Science, has secured a $4.9 million grant with the U.S. Army to develop a pneumatic cushioning system for the advanced combat helmet.

“We have a brand new lab that we are installing right now that is looking at impact mechanics to the head, brain and the neck,” Piland said. The tests will be applied to both combat helmets and eventually to sports helmets. “It’s endeavors such as these that serve to set us up apart from other programs in the region and lead directly to overall long-term success of our students.”

Piland discusses his obligation to helping students succeed in the program. “We have a dedicated center to do things like advise and offer tutoring for all of our classes. In fact, we have a specific office dedicated to tutoring and that’s our (Academic Skills in Kinesiology) Center.”

“Every orientation, I tell students to invest in themselves academically by making good grades and getting off to a good start in college is very important so they have the GPA to succeed in our programs” – Speed

The ASK center is located in the student success center and is equipped with technology such as iPads, surface pros, apps and software that will allow for immediate engagement with students.

“This school is founded on a long history of passionate efforts to better serve our great state. Rebranding to the name ‘Kinesiology’ allows us to continue to build upon our past success creating a bright and innovative future,” said Piland.

The School of Kinesiology at USM remains the only kinesiology school in Mississippi.

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