Copyright ©1997-2002 American Society of Exercise Physiologists. All Rights Reserved.
Past Issues


Vol 6 No 7 July 2002 
ISSN 1097-9743
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The ASEPNewsletter is devoted to informative articles and news items about exercise physiology. It is a monthly magazine of news, opinions, exercise physiology professionals, and events that shape exercise physiology.  We welcome interested practitioners, researchers, and academicians to e-mail the Publisher their thoughts and ideas. 

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In this issue...

With Evolution from the Theoretical to the Concrete Comes Responsibility
Jesse Pittsley, MA

Its a Game, Right?
Tommy Boone

Board of Directors Meeting


With Evolution from the Theoretical to the Concrete Comes Responsibility
Jesse Pittsley, MA

“I feel this particular e-mail list serve could be used to improve the accountability of the hierarchy within this organization.”

From the Conceptual to the Concrete
During the final year of my undergraduate degree in physical education, I attended the first national ASEP meeting in Duluth, Minnesota.   I recall listening to presentations about the directions of the field, the development of a certification exam, the accreditation of the undergraduate academic programs, and possible licensure.  I recall pondering how great the ideas were and thinking how much work it would take to implement them. The meeting was filled with a purpose, and it was impossible not be swept up by it.  After the meeting, I was confident I was going to become an exercise physiologist.  Also, I knew that I wanted to be active in ASEP. 

Three more national meetings have rapidly come and gone and the first meeting is now significant for the entire field of exercise physiology.  In fact, in a few quick years, many ideas presented during the Duluth meeting are gradually becoming true.  To date, three university academic programs have been accredited by ASEP, and the Board Certified exercise physiologist exam has been given several times at varying sites.  Although this may not sound like a great deal of advancement, those involved know how much inertia has been overcome to transpose those initial ideas into reality.  ASEP and its vision have progressed from the conceptual to the concrete, but with this establishment in reality has come responsibility.

It reminds me of a television commercial where the creators of a young online business are shown huddled around a computer while their product goes up for sale for the first time on the Internet.  When the company sells its first product, the entrepreneurs applaud and celebrate with glee.  But within several seconds, countless orders to purchase the product begin to appear on the monitor.  The commercial ends with the members of the group staring at the computer screen with their jaws dropped, realizing what they had gotten themselves into.  They were no longer just following a dream but were now also providing a service. 

ASEP is no longer an organization hoping to implement its theoretical foundation. It is now responsible to those individuals and institutions that have placed faith in its services.  ASEP is no longer just offering an exam, but now must monitor continuing education credits, future test sites, and train new test administrators.  In regards to accreditation, individuals must travel to evaluate programs and monitor if the recommended changes have been completed to maintain accredited status?  Many new tasks have and are soon to surface that will require a different type of commitment from the members of ASEP.

The Lost ASEP Document
I must admit, until recently I had never read the “Organizational Structure and Responsibilities” document, formally called the “Leadership Manual Responsibilities” on the ASEP homepage.  I was not aware that the organization had such a clear outline of the specific responsibilities of it leading members.  This is a truly significant document for the productive operation of ASEP.  It outlines the positions, boards, and committees as well as the responsibilities of each in the Society.  Until these past couple months, operating ASEP under the accordance of this document had not been possible.  With the establishment of the Board of Directors, I would argue times have changed and it is time to examine the document and take strong steps toward operating ASEP under its format. There are several steps that need to be taken in order for this to be accomplished. 

  • The first step is the recruitment of ASEP members into the various key positions that are not currently filled.  Individuals need to be brought forward to take the positions of Vice- President, Secretary, and Treasurer. These positions could be quickly filled by members of the Board of Directors, thus allowing several members of the board to have a greater sense of ownership and a more active role in the organization. This would also disperse some of the delegation requirements and “grunt” performed by the President and other key individuals. 
  • The second step is that the current list of committees must be examined to see which are still needed for the function of ASEP and which may be dissolved or merged into other committees for more efficient use of ASEP members.  For example, the Certification committee should probably be deleted since a similar committee would be developed within the context of the Board of Certification, which should become an incorporated organization with its own bylaws and constitution.  The Board of Accreditation should also become an incorporated organization.  Both boards stand on their own merit with direct service to the national organization. Once the committees have been examined, specific chair positions and membership slots can be inspected to ensure that the correct people are in each position.  For example, the State organization and the University Chapter Committee could be merged with the Licensure committee and the University Chapter Committee aspect of the former could be made separate.  The new Licensure committee could then be comprised of the Presidents and active members of the ASEP affiliated state organizations along with other members of ASEP who desire to be included in the licensure cause.  This committee could serve as a network for all state organizations and work to recruit new state organizations.  The Student Chapter committee could then assists in allowing students the rare opportunity for leadership in a national organization. foster more action and advancement in this area.

Delegation and Accountability
Delegation and accountability are two of the most difficult aspects of operating any organization.  Rarely do individuals desire to tell respected colleagues what to do.  A way to avoid putting people in this type of situation is to clearly outline the responsibilities of each chair and position and devise ways to ensure that these responsibilities are upheld.  Currently the “Organizational Structure and Responsibilities” document requires that the chair of each board and committee write two letters a year to the President to update the organization on the progress of that particular committee.  This is not enough networking.  The newly established e-mail list-serve could be used to improve the accountability of the ASEP leadership.  Each chair should be responsible to write an “update” letter to the members of the list-serve every two months for active committees and boards and every four to six months for less active committees.  This would help inform the members of ASEP and others who are interested about current advances of the organization and also offer an external reinforcement to help keep the committees moving forward.  Copies of these letters can be included in the current ASEPnewsletter for future reference.

No one wants to send the “Sorry gang, we didn’t do anything this month” letter to the members of ASEP.  To avoid this, chairs of committees would hopefully begin to actively appoint responsibility to its members.  For example, the chair of the Board of Accreditation could ask three of its members to find a school that could be lobbied to pursue the Accreditation process. Members of the Licensure committee could be asked to find three states that could be assisted in forming a state organization by identifying key exercise physiologists in those states.  As tasks, such as these examples, are completed the information can be included in the next update letter.

Finally, how do we make this all happen?  In a dream world, each chair would diligently write an update letter every sixty days telling the members of the list-serve what had been accomplished.  We all know things rarely work out this way.  Also, no one wants to be the “bad guy” by pushing others to complete tasks.  This is where the President and the Board of Directors must step forward to make sure the objectives of a committee are being met and that the members of ASEP are informed of it.   This requires that those individuals be firm and specific about their requirements and understand that the assertiveness is for the good of the organization. 

Final Remarks
ASEP has reached a new level of existence that will require an increased commitment from its leadership and its members.  Structural guidelines have been created to guide the organization through this process.  But, to this date, these guidelines have not been fully taken advantage of and/or implemented in any consistent fashion.   ASEP members must step forward and examine the “Organizational Structure and Guidelines” document on the ASEP homepage and offered assistance and advice where appropriate.  Finally, it is important to get involved with the e-mail list-serve.  It can help improve the communication and accountability in the organization by requiring chairpersons of all committees to construct update documents for those subscribed to the service.  It is my opinion that the future is bright for ASEP and these small, but important steps can help to significantly move the organization forward. 

Its a Game, Right?
Tommy Boone
Professor and Chair
Department of Exercise Physiology
The College of St. Scholastica
Duluth, MN 55811

SEVERAL DAYS AGO a colleague said “Well, its all a game.”  He was referring to our conversation about professional organizations.  What is it about different professions that get under the skin of people?  You could say it is the arrogance of the organization itself.  But, of course, organizations don’t exist.  They don’t have emotions or even rights.  People do have emotions and rights.  Organizations are made up of people and, therefore, organizations can be said to have emotions and rights.  It is just a matter of interpretation by allowing your mind to move a step ahead of rational thought.

It is only natural for people to want to think right.  We work at it.  We practice it, and appreciate the value in critical thinking [1].  At times, though, we get caught up in someone’s intentions to think differently or to act differently.  It is these times that create confusion and disorder.  It is also a time when power becomes the trigger that controls who master’s what and when.  Power controls, guides, and even deceives.  It is a strategy with intentions and actions that is said to define the game.  Power is also an art, especially in knowing what to do and not to do [2].  Some challenges require a frontal attack and others required a less obvious approach.  The value of knowing which one to use at the right time is playing the game with power.

Organizations are complex and immensely important.  Any one person who tries to accomplish what an organization can do is making a big mistake.  That person will learn the meaning of the game and its power.  Seldom ever can a single person outshine the masterful integration demonstrated by the members of an organization.  Entire books have been written on this point.  The key to the game is in understanding the power of an organization.  It can be an untapped gold mine of potential to change how people think.  It isn’t always.  Part of the reason for its unpredictability lies in the commitment of its members.  The key to the power lies in the hearts of the members.

Okay, so what does this have to do with the professionalization of exercise physiology?  Although it can be said that creating a profession is like a game, the truth about games and emerging professions is that both get interesting when they attract attention.  Just as it is a common mistake for one person to go against an organization, it is equally foolish to entertain building a legitimate profession without opening people’s eyes.  It is in the work of not allowing others to ignore the members of the organization.  This is exactly why I write everyday and play the game, apart from other responsibilities in the ASEP organization.  No one can completely ignore the work of the ASEP members as long as I’m writing on their behalf.  This point I’m making is not about me, however.  No, it is about mystery of hard working members; the difficulty in explaining or grasping why they do.  No one, not even my wife, understands the passion and motivation behind ASEP as do those who live it. 

If you find yourself thinking about joining the Society, I understand how it may have cornered your feelings.  I understand your desire to do the right things, even unsettling things to both yourself and your friends, to help with the emerging profession.  I understand that it is not about greed or attention, but rather your concern for exercise physiology.  There are times when it is right to do something; working for others is especially a good feeling.  The only thing I can say to you personally is to act on behalf of your emotions.  Your friends will come to understand eventually.  In the long run, the ability to move yourself and to help others is an issue of character far more important than any link to the past.

All of us have only so much to give, and there is a time and place when it comes together.  Once the feeling is understood, step up to the plate and let others know of the reason that drives you to exhaust yourself.  The point of “having a purpose” is to live it.  Demand it of yourself and do the repair that is necessary along with your own change of thinking.   The most powerful persuasion lies with the power of your words backed by your unbroken loyalty to the emerging profession.  At times, you may feel helpless, if not, actually a sense of drowning in your own passion.  But, you are among others who have witnessed the promise of a new exercise physiology.  There is only one thing you can do: Stand tall, keep your ground, be yourself, and reach out to the members of ASEP. 

Do not give in just because your association with a non-member thinks another way is the only way.  Ignore this feeling and work to teach yourself about nothing less than absolute equal opportunity, financial stability, and respect that other healthcare practitioners have enjoyed for years.  Be the person who creates change in your work environment.  Do not just sit back and take it.  You do not have to swallow your pride.  It is a game, but it is more.  It is all about the “game” and the power that other organizations can and do exert to influence others.  The best you can do is, at least, be aware of the power position from those who don’t want you to do what you think is right. 

Do not think that you are without support.  Anyone in the ASEP organization is willing to create a friendship with you.  Any ASEP member can be but not always wrapped up in the Society as you may wish to be.  This feeling of wanting to serve is critical to the purpose and success of exercise physiology.  It is also the essence of professionalism and giving back to those who got us to where we are today.  Their application of exercise physiology concepts and ideas set the stage for a new way to think about the work of exercise physiologists.  So, if you need to turn to an ally for help or for comfort, do not hesitate, regardless of whatever it might be.  Even should you run upon a strong personality with the reputation of something different from the ASEP perspective, hold your ground.  Don’t turn back.  Don’t stop moving towards the ASEP vision [3]:

reddot.gif (297 bytes)To be recognized as the leading professional organization of American scholars and practitioners in the study and application of exercise physiology to fitness, health promotion, rehabilitation, and sports training. 

reddot.gif (297 bytes)The Society is dedicated to unifying all exercise physiologists in the United States and worldwide to promote and support the study, practice, teaching, research, and development of the exercise physiology profession. 

reddot.gif (297 bytes)Through proactive and creative leadership, the Society empowers its members to serve the public good by making an academically sound difference in the application of exercise physiology concepts and insights.

Remember: It is a game, but a very important game.  Your actions and all the work and practice that go into the game should be in accordance with the ASEP vision.  To be recognized as “the” professional organization of exercise physiologists is something to be proud of.  To help avoid the loss of exercise physiologists to other professions, your work is part of the total effort to “unify” all exercise physiologists.  Your work and your tricks of the trade are extremely important.  Work to find the thumbscrew you can use to get others to commit to the game.  In this sense, it is true, as in all games, there is the need to find the weakness in others.  The way you go about it determines the correctness of doing so.  It is up to you be a nice person in asking for their assistance in a dignified way, but understand this:

“There can be no reality without polarity.”  -- Carl G. Jung

That said, it is clear that the game must be played and, as such, without two sides to an issue, there really isn’t a game.  Also, if professionalism isn't taught alongside other exercise physiology courses, the game is essentially meaningless.  Professionalism and professional development are priorities in exercise physiology education at all levels.  The current focus on professional development is the backbone of the ASEP organization.  It is an ongoing and necessary step that requires some discussion about how and in what way can it be incorporated into the students’ education. 

In my own position as Chair, I plan to reduce the credits for a spring course from 3 to 2 and add a 2-credit “professional development in exercise physiology” course.  Without the course, it is virtually impossible for the students to appreciate the broader intellectual components of professionalism and professional development.  In other words, I’m acknowledging that the students’ course work must be upgraded to require the study of professional development, knowledge, methods, and skills in addition to the exercise physiology and/or stress testing/ECG courses.  The game dictates a new reflection on what the curriculum ought to be in the 21st century.

On one level, the members of the ASEP organization knew this was coming.  On another level, they have been appreciative of the work that has already been done.  It is time to start thinking like other professionals, and much of this new way to view exercise physiology can take place through the eyes and minds of others.  They, too, understand the “game”.  For more information about professionalism, refer to the following articles on the Internet:

The Development of Professionalism
The Path of Professionalism
Toward a Normative Definition of Medical Professionalism
Exercise Physiology Professionalism
What is the Definition of a Profession


1. Levy, D.A. (1997). Tools of Critical Thinking: Metathoughts for Psychology. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
2. Greene, R. and Elffers, J. (1998). The 48 Laws of Power. New York, NY: Viking.
3. American Society of Exercise Physiologists. (2002). Vision. [Online]. Accessed June 26, 2002.

Board of Directors Meeting
The ASEP Board of Directors meets in Las Vegas this month to discuss the direction of the Society.  Several important items will be discussed, some of which are the following:

1. Introduction of New Members of the Board of Directors 
2. Identification of the New ASEP Fellows 
3. Moving ASEP Forward

a. Overcoming obstacles 
b. Increasing membership/interest 
c. Increasing member involvement
d. Increasing student chapters
e. New state associations 
4. Membership Report 
a. Number/type/new and consecutive members
b. Membership process at the ASEP National Office
c. Secretarial help
5. Financial Report 
6. National Meeting Update 
a. Finalize location/dates 
b. Suggestions for speakers 
c. Finalize presentation submission deadline 
7. Accreditation Report/Status 
a. Status update
b. Application under review
c. Suggested changes to the original document 
8. Certification Report/Status 
a. Members certified
b. Locations for 2002-2003 exams
c. Suggested changes to the original document 
9. Electronic Journals Report/Status 
a. Submission information/policy
b. Indexing status
c. Publications (number/type/where) 
d. Suggested changes 
e. Associate editors/editors: who are they? 
10. E-mail and Internet ASEPNewsletter Report/Update 
11. Licensure Update 
a. Summit outcomes (proclamation)
b. Moving forward
c. Licensure bill: discussion/work with Steve J. 
12. Research Report 
a. Purpose
b. Student Development Research Grants 
13. External Sponsorship Report 
14. International Affair Report 
a. Progress
b. Federation of Sports Science and Exercise Physiology (FSSEP) 
15. Developing Collaborations/Partnerships with other organizations 
16. Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs 
17. Organizational Structure and Responsibilities 
18. Other Business 
a. ASEP resource manual
c. EPC grandfathering procedures
d. ASEP bylaws and constitution
e. ASEP job postings
f. Marketing