from the Editor
the Teaching of Professionalism
As a member of the ASEP Board of
Accreditation, I have reviewed several applications compiled by institutions
interested in being accredited by the American Society of Exercise Physiologists.
Both the institutions and the academic course work have been strong and,
thus my job (as well as for the rest of the Board) has been rather easy.
The Accreditation standards established in the late 1990s by ASEP are a
substantial step forward for exercise physiology.
However, it is clear that not all
exercise physiologists come from the same academic and hands-on background.
Our academic departments have not evolved with new programs of study for
exercise physiologists. Many of our students have questionable degrees,
which have become part of the unfortunate and sparsely discussed predicament
we find ourselves. Anyone who does not understand this point is not
listening to the students. ASEP took the best step forward by addressing
this issue at its origin by establishing strong undergraduate curriculum
requirements. Despite this bold move, the document creators left
out a small detail that distracts markedly from the process. The
Board of Accreditation failed to require the teaching of many of the principles
that ASEP is founded upon. The accreditation document risks becoming
just “another set of standards” and not the proper vehicle for guiding
today’s exercise physiology students in valuing what it means to be part
of a profession.
In established professions, the curriculum
requires an introductory course to the profession that actually includes
very little “science” and “content/methods” of the field. For example,
licensed educators are required to take an “Introduction to Education”
course that actually covers very little material about teaching.
Instead, the course covers issues such as licensure, ethics, standards,
unions, state organizations, reciprocity, and current political issues
related to the field. It is imperative that all professions have
such a course. Unfortunately, this type of course is nearly nonexistent
in the study of exercise physiology. Most “introduction” to exercise
physiology courses are actually courses in applied physiology. Since
the field is introduced as a science, students immediately begin on the
wrong foot. They view exercise physiology as a discipline and not
as a profession and, of course, their teachers are generally not very helpful
in helping the students understand the differences between the two.
I was not part of the list of exercise
physiologists who shared in the creation of the ASEP accreditation document.
Therefore, I have no knowledge of the discussions that transpired regarding
its content. I imagine that the failure to include this material
was largely a political choice. I assume it was predicted that it
would be difficult to convince the faculty to embrace such a significant
change. Perhaps, it was believed that the best that can be done is
to, first, accredit the institutions and, then, gradually modify the standards.
This line of thinking has its advantages. It is very likely that
many exercise physiologists, who have not studied the issues and concerns
that surround the professionalization of exercise physiology, would not
know how to teach professional development. Furthermore, the pursuit
of accreditation itself is a process that is always evolving. And,
yet the question could have been simply: “Can ASEP afford to include such
a requirement?” In contrast, the question I raise now is: “Can ASEP
afford not to include it?”
Exercise physiology will not change
if the ASEP organization continues to only raise the academic standards
of the profession without truly adjusting the content. Without this
shift in content, exercise physiology will evolve from being filled with
students who do not have a clue to college graduates who still don’t have
a clue. In regards to a similar issue, I have said on several occasions
that exercise physiologists should think of themselves as exercise physiologists
and not as physiologists! There is no reason for anyone to take this
comment in a bad way. I remember a professor saying similarly, “Just
because I can read a 12-lead ECG, it doesn’t make me a cardiologist”.
It appears to me that the faculty
of most academic programs believes that the students need more chemistry
and biology courses. They raise the GPA requirements to enter the
program, perhaps, in order to gain respect and quality. Yet, they
fail to see the problem directly in front of them. The academics
of exercise science (and its title) or whatever the title (such as kinesiology)
is other than exercise physiology is still unchanged. Title matters
and no one seems to get this point. Of course the reason is because
there is literally no debate or discussion about professional development.
It is personally draining and professionally risky for the exercise physiology
faculty to persuade others of the importance of title or a professional
development course. The active members of ASEP (myself included)
understand, up to a point. To help others get on board, to begin
the process of thinking professionally as an exercise physiologist, the
ASEP document should be modified to include a course on the professional
development of exercise physiology. Professionalism matters, particularly
as we continue to evolve as a healthcare profession.
Although I would agree that a good
short-term compromise would be to include the “professionalism” material
in other courses, I feel the ideal situation is a separate course since
most instructors would regress and gradually eliminate the content on professionalism.
Fortunately, things have changed since the creation of this document.
There is at least one text written expressly for this purpose. It
is entitled, “Professional
Development of Exercise Physiology”. In time (and it shouldn’t
be too long from now), it will be important for either ASEP or the Board
of Accreditation to sponsor “Professional Development” workshops throughout
the United States. The workshops will help both students and faculty
in understanding the issues, concerns, and concepts of professional development
of exercise physiology. This is not a new idea. Just look around
you. Healthcare professionals from physical therapy, occupational
therapy, nursing, and fields of study have courses on professionalism,
leadership, ethics, and standards of practice. We need to get with
It is time that members of this organization
get together to debate topics such as this one. I invite anyone interested
to write a response or an e-mail to me. I would be happy to post
it on the ASEPNewsletter next month. I am always energized by critical
debate. I welcome it.
Association of Exercise Physiologists
The Wisconsin Association of Exercise Physiologists (WIAEP) will
host their first state meeting on Saturday, March 22nd at ASEP accredited
Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. The WIAEP was founded
by Jason Young, MA, EPC, ATC in December of 2001. Mr. Young is a
graduate of the College of St Scholastica and has been an active member
of ASEP for several years. “This is one of the first significant
steps towards beginning to unify the exercise physiologists of Wisconsin,”
stated Mr. Young. The meeting will address several issues including,
the recruitment of members and establishing a more developed communication
network for EP’s in Wisconsin, the possibility of offering the EPC exam,
and building a relationship with Universities in the state in order to
expand WIAEP membership and increase interest pursuing ASEP accreditation.
For more information about this event, or WIAEP, please feel free to e-mail
at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (715) 736-2239.
American Society of Exercise Physiologists
Dues Renewal Notice
ASEP membership is on a calendar
year basis (Jan – Dec). Renew now to continue your membership through
December 31, 2003. Remittance of the full amount of member dues for
your category will serve as verification that you continue to be eligible
for that membership status.
1. Professional Member ($70)
2. Certified Professional Member
($60) Note: this means EPC
3. Affiliate Member ($85)
4. International Member ($60)
5. Student Member ($40)
6. Sustaining Member ($160)
7. Fellow Member ($70)
Only U.S. funds will be accepted.
Make all checks payable to either
ASEP or the American Society
of Exercise Physiologists. Please mail the check to the following
The American Society of Exercise Physiologists
is the professional organization of exercise physiologists. If you
need assistance or have questions about your membership, please call the
ASEP National Office (218) 723-6297.
of Exercise Physiology
College of St. Scholastica
Please make any changes in name,
address, email address, or membership information when sending your check
to the National Office. Be sure to renew as early as possible to
continue all of your membership benefits.
Visit the new ASEP Web Site (www.asep.org)
for the news about Board Certification of exercise physiologists. or academic
accreditation of undergraduate programs. Note: This www.css.edu/ASEP/
website will remain active for an undetermined period of time.
is not a refereed newsletter. Newsletters are open-ended so as to
present a diverse set of opinions. The papers in the each issue are
concerned with issues and topics that have a bearing on the professionalization
of exercise physiology. As Editor, I especially welcome articles
that critically address specific features of ASEP and its efforts to develop
exercise physiology. Views that support ASEP's vision, goals, and
objectives as well as views that do not provide valuable lessons for our
Submitted papers should be unpublished
and non-copyrighted. Submission of a paper will imply that it contains
original unpublished work and is not submitted for publication elsewhere.
The Editor will pursue a policy of timely and meaningful review of each
paper. After the paper is accepted, the author(s) must provide the
paper's final version in an electronic file on a diskette. The paper
should follow the example of published articles in the ASEPNewsletter.
The text format is flexible (regarding center headings, side flush headings,
and so forth). The reference style should conform to the style presently
used in the JEPonline.