Program History

Applied Physiology Laboratory

In the late 1960’s, the Exercise Physiology laboratory was called the Applied Physiology laboratory.  In that timeframe, the Kent State University Faculty Exercise Program began evaluating the effect of exercise on serum cholesterol under the direction of Dr. Larry Golding. 

The current Exercise Physiology Laboratory was erected in 1979, also under the direction of Dr. Larry Golding who was joined by Dr. Wayne Sinning.  The main focus of the laboratory was human performance, protein supplementation, exercise testing, and body composition analysis. The laboratory was equipped with treadmills, cycle ergometers (Douglas bags and an array of equipment to evaluate metabolism), in addition to an underwater weighing tank, and an environmental chamber. During his tenure at Kent State University, Dr. Wayne Sinning organized YMCA workshops for certification of individuals to become Fitness Instructors. Since 1971, approximately 137 dissertations have been completed by over 11 graduate faculty.

Exercise Science

As Exercise Science was born out of physiology and physical education and it has become increasingly tied to the Allied Health Professions due to advancements in technology, the field has become more accreditation-oriented as well as specialized and has since moved away from physical education. This evolution has created the need for exercise science to become a new major with a new core which is more specific to the Allied Health Professional and the science of exercise physiology as a whole. Thus, in 2009, the Exercise Science major separated from Physical Education and become a stand-alone major. The purpose of this move was to create a new major with two Concentrations: a) Exercise Physiology or, b) Exercise Specialist. 

In 2013, a third concentration, Pre-Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy, was created.  In addition, the Exercise Sciences program at the undergraduate level has transitioned from the YMCA to ACSM CAAHEP Accreditation.

Continued Growth

Enrollment in the exercise science and exercise physiology programs has increased tremendously over the past 10 years.  Numerous factors likely contributed to this increase in enrollment especially the heightened visibility when the major separated from physical education and the addition of new faculty members Dr. Jacob Barkley (2006), Dr. Angela Ridgel (2008), Dr. John McDaniel (2010), Dr. J. Derek Kingsley (2013), Dr. Adam Jajtner (2016), and Dr. Meghan Magee (2023) which diversified the research opportunities offered to potential doctoral students. Currently, the program has approximately 350 undergraduate students, 25 masters students, and 20 doctoral students.

A hallway lined with framed photos of the doctoral students from the exercise science and exercise physiology programs.
The wall of 121 doctoral graduates in the Exercise Science and Exercise Physiology program, MACC Annex.