|Copyright ©1997-2002 American Society of Exercise Physiologists. All Rights Reserved.|
Vol 6 No 12 December 2002
Board of Directors
Code of Ethics
Conditions of Service
Conflict of Interest
Goals and Objectives
Job Search Strategies
Links-Related to EPs
4th National Meeting...
What is ASEP?
newsletter is designed to update the members of the ASEP organization and
the general public on the current events regarding ASEP. The newsletter
will contain actions recently taken by the Board of Directors as well as
any recent information, decisions, and future goals of ASEP. There
will be featured updates from the chairpersons of the leading ASEP
committees, news briefs regarding the recent advances in the professional
development of exercise physiology and guest editorials. If you would
like to contribute to this newsletter or if you are just looking for general
information regarding ASEP, feel free to contact me at the following e-mail
address. Also, don't forget to sign up for the "ASEP
E-mail Updates" of this newsletter.
Greetings “Professionalization Fans”!
The holiday season is upon us and we are moving forward to a new year. I would like to thank you for taking some time and visiting the ASEP homepage. For those of us who value the concept of professionalization, it is always wonderful to find others are interested or even just curious about what ASEP is accomplishing. Below are several links including my monthly “Comments from the Editor” and a couple news items regarding the latest actions of the Board of Licensure. This month's focus is about using a simple team management structure to get the most out of its members. Also, regarding the Board of Licensure, this newly constructed Board had its first phone conference meeting this past month and a summary is available. The Board of Licensure announced it is officially sending its “Case for Licensure” to President Richard Kreider and the ASEP Board of Directors for revision and approval.
Matt Wattles, chairperson of the Board of Licensure has announced that the Board of Licensure is sending its Case for Licensure to the ASEP Board of Directors. “The Licensure Case will be used by each ASEP affiliated state organization to help achieve licensure. Although many states are in the early stages of this effort, it is important for all state ASEP affiliated organizations to be on the “same page”. Do to the importance of this document, and its overall potential as an ASEP statement that will be circulated through the public, the members of the Board of Licensure feel that this is a great opportunity for ASEP Board of Directors to demonstrate its continued support of licensure. Members of the Board of Directors are requested to review and expand on a document (where necessary) to make sure that it represents the ASEP organization. This action was prompted by a phone conference held by Board of Licensure with regards to the Indiana Association of Exercise Physiologists that plans to attempt state licensure for exercise physiologists in 2003. The state organization believes it has a good chance of obtaining licensure. “This will be first of hopefully many dominoes to fall,” stated Matt Wattles. One of the requests of Indiana to the Board of Licensure was that the licensure case be reviewed and scrutinized by the ASEP Board of Directors. The case will be sent to the ASEP Board of Directors in December.
Along with the holidays season comes another important season in my life -- “Basketball”. I’ve always been a big fan of basketball. It is a special sport of strategy. The athletes have to be competent in a variety of skills. And, they must work together to help their teammates, especially their strengths and, where possible, minimize the exploitation of their weaknesses. Every year, it becomes apparent that the championship teams are comprised of athletes who understand the game and who place great value in their role (as part of a team). Each great team has a shooter, a ball handler, a rebounder, a defensive specialist, a crucial “off the bench” player, and several others who contribute in an appropriate manner to the cause. In the end, all players work as an efficient and competent unit.
Although it is common to see champions operate as smooth running engines by the end of the season, most do not start that way at the beginning of the year. It is up to the coaching staff to identify the role and expectations of the players. The staff will also identify what system will be used to get the most out of the unit. It is a complicated task that requires a strong understanding of each athlete as well as a lot of communication. Success in the process involves repeated trial and effort and some luck.
Interestingly, a well functioning basketball team is not unlike any successful research group, cooperate unit, or an organization. Many good research teams have meticulous data collectors, statistic specialists, the equipment “handymen,” and the ever-so-valuable writers. An organization like ASEP has many of the same attributes. There are the “visionaries” who often design the organizational structure and the future directions. There are the consistent “doers” who are the pillars of the organization. These individuals work to maintain the established structure of the organization. They also handle many of the daily tasks. Unfortunately, though, organizations do not operate to their potential with just these individuals. The problem is that most of the time visionaries and doers cannot get it done alone. Without the “commanders” -- the implementation of the daily tasks and the instruction provided the doers to reach the dreams of the visionaries, the organization would remain stagnant.
All three types have to be present and working for the organization to advance. This is simple management structure, and we understand that most of us fall into each of these categories at different times in our lives. Despite the simplicity of learning how this system works (and which category we fit into today), it can prove to be difficult to keep the gears of the organization moving smoothly. To succeed, most sports teams practice almost daily to learn and to evaluate what is done correctly. Furthermore, many have very active coaching staffs that instruct and recruit players who are given consistent external reinforcement through their weekly competitions. The athletic arena is perfectly designed for learning, performance, and advancement. Creating this same atmosphere with a new national organization is difficult, but not impossible.
There are many obstacles to work through when implementing even simple the management policies. The most difficult is that members have responsibilities outside the organization. There may also be relatively little external reinforcement for taking action. Point blank: Being an active member of an organization may present conflicts (both personal and professional) in time and in interests aside from work. As an example, I had a choice this afternoon. Either I would finish a grant proposal or write this brief essay. It wouldn’t take much to figure out what the department would prefer me to do. As with many of us, it is very easy to only think of the short term and say, “Spending my time on ASEP just isn’t going to pay the bills.” But, that is exactly what ASEP is trying to do for all future exercise physiologists (i.e., help secure their future so that their bills can be paid).
What is unsettling is that many exercise physiologists (and students, too) are doing very little to advance the professionalization of exercise physiology. Perhaps, they need a little push or some help in understanding the ASEP vision. Maybe they don’t feel part of the process. Or, maybe they need considerably more reinforcement than they are presently getting. Whatever the reason, most of us will drift into the role of a passive observer who sits back and watches what is happening or, even worse, regress or leave the field. We shouldn’t but we do. Maybe we should not forget just how valuable and beneficial it is to consistently complete small routine task on behalf of exercise physiology. The accomplishment of just one task may set the stage for a higher quality of professionals. Perhaps, we need to get with the idea that writing and speaking about exercise are important. So what if it isn’t the The Great Gatsby. So what if we don’t collect data but, instead, write from our hearts. There is a time and place for kinds of writing. Maybe, in the long run, it will be better than publishing in Cell, Science, or Nature.
Many exercise physiologists (including some ASEP members) have found themselves more passive than they should be. Maybe, it is bacause they do not know what to do. Or, they feel they are not a valuable part of the process. Like my students, most of which will not study outside of class unless given a “reason” to study, exercise physiologists (and especially members of ASEP) must be instructed on what action to take. It is the job of the ASEP managers to direct these instructions. Examine any team without a well functioning coaching staff and you will see my point. At best, teams without solid managers are inconsistent and at their worst they are prime examples of anarchy and paralysis.
The ASEP web pages are filled with many statements, hopes, dreams, and “calls to action”. There are plenty of lists and reasons to work towards professionalization. Personally, I gather a lot of my motivation to contribute to this cause by exploring the links of the ASEP site. This is the purpose of a homepage, and for a few very motivated personalities this is all that is required to initiate action. However, for an organization to be active and successful, there must be much more. For example, the ASEP visionaries have written and spoken, the commanders have been set in place, and the doers are available. It is now just a matter of ASEP employing simple management techniques to move the organization forward. It is my hope that the ASEP leadership moves through this holiday season and into the Spring Semester of this academic year in the spirit of addressing this issue.