The College of Education will introduce a new minor in Recreation and Sports Studies that’s designed to prepare Butler students interested in health, physical activity, recreation, and sports to lead programs in and outside of school settings.

Butler University College of Education Recreation and Sports Studies students March 27, 2014.

A student in the Ultimate Frisbee/Team Handball course, part of new Recreation and Sports minor.

The minor will be offered beginning in fall semester 2014.

The Recreation and Sports Studies (RSS) curriculum, which is designed to meet the growing national interest in healthy, active lifestyles, covers skillsets and coaching in up to 14 different sports. It also covers dance and games, fitness and health, and the design, marketing, and management of recreation and fitness programs.

Butler’s Health and Recreation Complex, the Sports Medicine division of the Department of Athletics, and three other colleges—Jordan College of the Arts, the College of Business and the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences—will collaborate with COE on the interdisciplinary curriculum.

Americans are increasingly interested in pursuing a health-enhancing, physically active lifestyle for a lifespan, said Associate Professor Mindy Welch, Coordinator of COE’s Human Movement and Health Science Education (HMHSE) degree program.

“Quality physical and health education academic programs in schools are essential but no longer sufficient to achieve this aim,” she said. “Because of this interest, our graduates have opportunities to enter careers and graduate studies in fitness training, exercise physiology, kinesiology, and health promotion, and to work with diverse populations outside the school setting.”

Students majoring in Human Movement and Health Science Education, along with students from other colleges and majors, have already expressed interest in the minor, Welch said.

The more than 200 students employed by Butler’s Health and Recreation Complex, as well as its previous student workers, have  been “begging for more opportunities to develop their interests, knowledge, and professional skills in the fields of physical activity, physical fitness, recreation, sports, and wellness,” she said.

Another indicator of student interests is the number of non-HMHSE majors enrolled in PE 261, Theory of Practice and Coaching, a required course for the Recreation and Sports Studies minor.

Butler University College of Education Recreation and Sports Studies students March 27, 2014.In the five spring semesters since 2009, 37 out of 118 students (31 percent) have been non-majors, Welch said.

The RSS minor can expand the professional toolkit for all COE graduates, according to Welch. She said Butler graduates who become elementary and secondary teachers “often take on professional responsibilities related to recreation and sport. They might have responsibility for integrating physical activity or physical education into a curriculum, creating before- and after-school or recess co-curricular learning experiences, or even coaching a school team.”

While HMHSE continues to prepare teacher candidates for P-12 licensure in physical and health education in schools, COE changed the program name from Physical and Health Education to Human Movement and Health Science Education in April 2013 to reflect its broader mission and areas of expertise.

“The name signals our vital tenets,” Welch said. “ ‘Human’ indicates our mission to serve people of all ages and abilities. ‘Movement’ stands for physical activity in a variety of forms and context. We want that movement to promote ‘Health,’ and the absence of disease. ‘Science’ stands for the scientific foundation of what we teach about movement and health. And ‘Education’ stands for COE’s mission to be leaders in lifelong learning.”

Contact Mindy Welch at to learn more about the Recreation and Sports Studies minor.

Media contact: Mary Ellen Stephenson