Thinking: A Critical View by the Editor
My impression after some
time in this business is that we are turning out copycats. The next
PhD is almost an exact copy of the mentor. This is evident by the
lack of new ideas in the field. There is also the problem that no
one questions anything. It isn’t that the professors don’t think
well and fairmindedly. They do! The problem is that they are
only fair-minded about their work and, yes, the work taught by their mentors.
What they don’t do so good is think well and fairmindedly about beliefs
and research conclusions that are diametrically opposed to their own.
They are locked into yesterday without an understanding that potentially
threatening viewpoints and beliefs are important to learning how to think.
The point is that critical
thinkers suspend judgment (1). When is the last time you talked to
an exercise physiologist who didn’t know everything. Forget about
humility, it is an unfortunate byproduct of the head-in-the-air teaching
that is non-practical and seldom down-to earth. Students are taught
to think like the professor who seldom teaches students the skills to analyze
accurately the problem at issue. It is easier for the professor to
teach students not to question and to accept the reality of the professor.
After all, the professor is the teacher. Who else is prepared to
analyze complex and ambiguous issues? Most, including students, would
say, “the teacher is the teacher”. Who can argue or would want to
argue with the teacher? Anyway, it takes a certain amount of knowledge
to take over the teacher!
Critical thinking is absolutely
essential to professionalism. If we don’t adapt our minds to thinking
critically and straight, then we are predisposed to uncritical and crooked
thinking. The latter simply won’t work when the purpose of an education
is to learn how to re-think systems and ideas. Failing to learn how
to think is a major problem. When we fail to cultivate minds that
understand the lack of permanence in research, we enable ideas if not put
into motion individuals with the inclination to continue the notion of
what was believed to be right versus what might actually be right.
Not knowing what is right insulates the person from the reality of what
is right and, thus not knowing what is right sets the stage for fads and
Do professors want to unwittingly
master the past traditions or do they want to teach students how to think?
After careful reflection, I have concluded that professors are always focused
to do their very best. The question of course is, “Are professors
dodging new ideas, equivocating over possibilities, or side-stepping the
obvious?” The answer is easy to come by, especially given the disciplined
nature of the PhD tradition. Who in their right mind would go against
or question the well-meaning education at the doctorate level? Today,
few if anyone would stand up and say, “Hello, Dr. so-and-so, are you really
sharing with your students the complete and unbiased version of the information
under discussion? No one is going to put the knife at his neck
and ask such a question.
However, the issue is not
whether a student will question the professor, but whether the professor
will question him- or herself as a critical thinker. Self-improvement
begins with the professor, and without changes in teaching, students have
little opportunity to articulate the hope of learning how to think.
It is also not just about the inability of professors to think straight,
but whether they are willing to check up on themselves. For example,
are they willing to evaluate their thinking skills in accordance with certain
intellectual standards, including but not limited to relevance, accuracy,
and precision? Are they willing to develop their thinking skills
to help students improve their own thinking?
1. Paul, R.W. (1993).
Critical Thinking. Santa Rosa, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.
You Believe ASEP’s Web Presence? Some
333 million people had Web access last year! That number is up 94%
from 1999. Internet access grew more quickly around the world than
in the United States and Canada. Hello world, it’s no secret the
World Wide Web has opened the door around the world. In just slightly
more than three years, the access to ASEP views and online keyboard articles
and a variety of organizational documents have grown much more than we
might have realized.
Certification Sites and Dates
On Saturday, May 5, 2001
- the College of St. Scholastica, Department of Exercise Physiology in
Duluth, MN will be an official site for the Exercise Physiologist Certified
(EPC) exam. Part I of the exam will start at 8:00 am, and Part
II of the exam will start at 1:00 pm. Please consult the EPC site
for additional information. For an application, click
here. The Board will hold a review of all complete files by April
1, 2001 for the May 5th EPC exam at the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth,
MN and August 31st for the September 27nd EPC exam at the University of
Memphis, Memphis, TN. Candidates will be notified in writing of the
for the Accreditation of Undergraduate Programs in Exercise Physiology
response to an ASEP member who wrote in an asked "What is Electronic Publishing?"
-- The following was written:
to an eMail at the ASEP National Office
The National Office Perspective
What is it? Electronic
publishing! How does it compare with print-copy publications?
These are just three questions. There are literally hundreds of unanswered
questions about electronic publishing. Some of the questions arise
from the tension between authors, publishers, and copyright material.
Who owns the electronic manuscript? Other questions have to do with
concerns by professors. They want to know if the electronic publications
will help them get promotion and tenure.
There are answers to these
questions, and all the questions yet to be asked will be answered.
The mystery of the electronic era isn’t any more complicated than the times
spent decades ago working through the development of hard-copy journals.
After all, publishing is publishing and both forms require an author (or
authors). The only thing that is different is the medium. What
is the big deal? Electronic publishing is not an experiment.
It is reality, and like all real jobs, it requires some work to see it
through. Perhaps, it would be of some interest to know a few
of the steps to publish an article in the PEPonline
journal. The article is:
1. Written and saved
in Microsoft Word.
The transition from paper to
electronic publishing presents several challenges for ASEP, as the publisher,
and the Editor of PEPonline.
The most significant challenge is the time involved creating the web page
and linking the article to other online pages. Pagination is only
possible with conversion of the Microsoft Word document to the pdf format.
Is it worth it? You bet. Is it having an impact on the exercise
physiology community? We hope so. It is one of the goals of
the Board of Directors to publish articles for all exercise physiologists
who need to make use of the information.
2. Attached to an email
sent to the National Office.
3. Distributed to reviewers.
4. Either accepted or rejected
5. Edited for dissemination
on a web page.
6. Posted in a new webformat.
7. May also be posted in
a pdf format.
8. Linked to the PEPonline
9. Archived for storage
with the PEPonline
10. Linked to the ASEP contact
page, as a monthly item.
Journal of Exercise Physiologyonline
Exercise Physiologist's “Contemporary” Interpretations Of The “Ugly and
Creaking Edifices” Of the VO2 max Concept
of Exercise Physiologyonline
Drink Improves Time to Exhaustion after Recovery from Endurance Exercise
issue is full of research articles.]
months for JEPonline
are now Feb, May, August, Nov.
The next issue is
1. There will be about 6-8 manuscripts
in the issue.
of Exercise Physiologyonline
Exercise Physiology is Every Exercise Physiologist's Responsibility!
Full-Text Online Journals
Press: Free Online Full-Text Articles
ASEP Board of Directors is happy to annouce an "Agreement" between the
American Society of Exercise Physiologists and Michaela Conley, President
and founder of HPCAREER.NET,
IIc. This Agreement outlines the terms under which HPCAREER.NET
will share revenues generated through jointly advertised career opportunities.
On-site conference services provided by HPCAREER. NET and collaborative
marketing and promotional activities will incur no additional cost.
As of March 1, 2001 all ASEP advertisements will be handled by HPCAREER.NET,
IIc. The ASEP advertisement web page will be updated to reflect the
change in policy, and to establish direct contact with HPCAREER.NET. Take
a look at the FLIER.
A student stopped me in the
laboratory and asked, “How do I write something about professionalism if
I don’t get it?” My first thought was that she was joking with me.
Then, I realized that she was serious. It was all there in front
of me. An excellent student without a notion of what I’ve been writing
about. Talk about caught with your pants down!
Tommy Boone, PhD,
MPH, FASEP, EPC
Professor and Chair
Director, Exercise Physiology
Department of Exercise Physiology
College of St. Scholastica
Following a brief discussion,
as if to put closure on the problem, we walked to class reflecting on the
power of knowing or, if you will, the lack of power due to the lack of
knowing. I had failed to understand that the act of writing about
professionalism isn’t enough. I should have known this all along,
but such is life.
It dawned on me just how
much I needed to learn about writing and the power of words. By a
twist of events I now understand that I have little knowledge of what is
important and, perhaps, convincing in published work. As I look back
I have more questions than answers. Talk about stopping in your tracks.
Confused and suddenly filled with emotions, “How could this happen?” left
me wondering if we strive too hard at times.
I guess I had the impression
that if you write the articles, they will read them (and, yes, understand
them). Talk about what horse I rode in on! My wife, I think,
knew all along. She has asked me more than one occasion, “Tommy,
are you the only one reading the articles?” Generally, I smile and
laugh a little and say, “Of course not Brenda, look, see the counter on
the page. What does it say? Nearly a1000 hits on the PEPonline
articles since October." Not bad, right? Now, I realize that
even if there are hits (and possibly readers), still, remarkably, no one
may understand the purpose of the articles.
Behind the things we think
are obvious to the reader, there is another reality. When finally
realizing it, I remembered the awesome power in face-to-face conversations.
We didn’t have the computer back when, and feelings were associated with
on-the-spot facial and physical expressions of a passionate speaker.
Talk about talking then and in getting an idea across to your audience.
Today, it is different. On the one hand, the computer has opened
the door of words to an international stage. There are web sites
with the power to cause a person to think, and yet the written word without
a body is a bit like a language without words. Even writing straight,
that is, saying it like it is, and even writing with “passion” are but
rough comparisons to the real thing.
Whether we like it or not,
if we are going to close the gap between what is written and what we believe
should be practiced, we need more physical reality, more body language,
and more of each of us face-to-face, talking and sharing our ideas about
professionalism. It is not enough to live for the few moments that
allow for the questions about exercise physiology certification, licensure,
and accreditation and, yes, all the other generally non-discussed issues
that relate to the professionalism of exercise physiology. Clearly
the coming together face-to-face is a matter of importance
Until then, and until we
have workshops on professionalism, and for the moment anyway, I will continue
writing an endless number of articles with the hope of speeding up the
reflection process. Once our eyes are open, the possibilities are
to an eMail at the ASEP National Office
After reading several
of the articles on PEPonline,
a student from a well-known university wrote in and asked, “Why should
I go to a college or a university to get an academic degree in exercise
physiology?” I wrote back suggesting that her answers to the following
questions (1) might help her consider whether a college
degree in a field is better than a concentration.
What are the pros and cons of pursuing the academic degree in exercise
Answer: The upside is
the knowledge that students go to college to earn an academic degree in
their chosen field of study. Why should a career in exercise physiology
be exempt from the same thinking? The answer to this question might
tell you something about the field. Also, the sooner students knows
about the differences in program offerings, the sooner the students can
enroll in the right program so they will be able to sit for national certification
as an exercise physiologist. Should the student enroll in a sound-alike
program that isn’t exercise physiology and will not allow the student to
pursue exercise physiology certification and title, then the student will
not be ready at graduation to access professional opportunities when they
arise. Therefore, thinking through the right decision should begin
as early as possible.
Is this the right time for this decision?
Are the risks of pursuing this goal worth the rewards?
Is this an impulsive decision?
How will I benefit from my time and investment?
How will pursuing this goal affect my day-to-day living?
One way to determine the
differences among difference academic programs is to pull each department
up on the Internet and compare the courses, faculty, hands-on experiences,
and, for certain, the title of the academic degree. In the end, after
careful study and after graduation with the “right” academic degree, the
student will have the certificate and recognition with which to earn both
respect and a good living. While in college, however, the student
will very likely want to help other students in other colleges and universities
come to the same understanding.
Think about this way:
“Even if a student could take all the physical therapy courses he/she wanted
to in the Department of Kinesiology, could the student sit for the physical
therapy licensure exam? The obvious answer is NO! The courses
must be taught in an officially recognized Physical Therapy Department
(which is recognized by the national physical therapy association), just
as the exercise physiologist is educated in the Department of Exercise
Physiology. It really is that simple, although there exists a multitude
of possibilities that distract from what should be.
“It’s time to listen
to your instincts. If your gut tells you it’s the right decision,
then make a commitment to pursue your dream and give it everything you’re
got.” -- Don Gabor
D. (1998). Big Things Happen When You Do the Little Things Right.
New York, NY: MJF Books.
From The Students of St.Scholastica-
Value Sharing Ideas
As the editor pointed out,
for 40 months, the ASEPNewsletter
has been sharing ideas and issues, both in editorials and short articles,
on the Internet for the world to understand our concerns, hopes, and dreams.
Now, as a student majoring in exercise physiology, we invite you to be
an active participant in the ASEP venture to develop and extent the discussion
of exercise physiology as an emerging profession.
We are just a few among many
students at the College of St. Scholastica who believe in the importance
of ASEP. All of us are members of the ASEP Student Chapter.
Our aim is to bring attention to exercise physiology. Together, with
the help of our professors, we can chart a new course for all graduates;
one with increased job opportunities.
We started the ASEP Student
Chapter to reach out to new friends in exercise physiology. The results
have been excellent. There has been some incredible sharing, mostly
by email with other students. Think about how you can help, and don’t
be afraid to do so. We need everyone involved to share “our” vision
and to make the ASEP view of the new exercise physiology possible.
As we continue to read the
we look forward to increased participation by other exercise physiologists.
We are interested in what professors think about ASEP and the ideas of
professionalism. Whatever your thoughts may be, the editor will publish
them. We need your best thinking. For all of you who understand
our plea for ideas and editorials, thanks for helping us believe in the
from the Editor
Welcome to the month of March.
I’ve been anxiously waiting this moment and, now, the only electronic monthly
newsletter written expressly for exercise physiologists has made yet another
commitment to service our readers expect. And at the same time, we
are constantly making an effort to transcend the boundaries of traditional
views to bring innovations that improve the way exercise physiologists
work and live.
As Editor of the ASEPNewsletter,
I’ve reached out to a greater audience of possible contributions to further
market exercise physiology and builder the infrastructure of the new exercise
physiologist. By “reaching out” I mean that I have mailed letters
to several hundred ASEP members. My strategy is to offer an expanded
range of services by inviting ASEP members to submit ideas, articles, and
points of view about “anything” of interest to our readers.
We’re proud to cerebrate
the beginning of this effort and announce that this months edition is its
“40th” issue. As the sole editor of these issues, I want you to know
that I am interested in your thoughts and ideas. I want to be helpful
however possible in recognizing your importance to the profession.
The readers want to know what you do and the future of exercise physiology
from your perspective. The Internet has provided us increased leverage
in committing ourselves to increased opportunities, but it also requires
input from the readers.
There is a lot of energy
and excitement in exercise physiology. Consider sharing both with
others around the world in looking forward to a new exercise physiology
and a new professional adventure for all of us.
Boone, PhD, MPH
Resistance to Your ASEP Views
All of us have heard the
statement, “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t
persuade all of the people all of the time.” No exercise physiologist
can convince every one of his/her beliefs. Professors, counselors,
doctors…they all stumble and fail to persuade, regardless of their passion.
Such is life. There is probably nothing more difficult than trying
to make sense of something. ASEP is no exception, especially since
it is the new kid on the block.
We are all fallible and,
really, all we can do is give it our best. Do not expect all of your
professors or colleagues to agree with your views about what should be
done to professionalize exercise physiology. It’s not going to happen.
You will just end up frustrated. Instead, celebrate the successes.
Be thankful of the positive conversation with a student in your class or
with your professor. It is okay to share your thinking and feelings.
Sharing is likely to be a better approach than the idea of “winning” is
Remember, most people don’t
like to be convinced their thinking is wrong. Their identity is linked
to their own ideas. Leave room for compromise and further discussion.
Don’t “talk down” to your friends. Avoid overgeneralizations, labels,
and showing resistance to an objection. In short, focus on the other
person’s feelings. At the end of the day, you will feel good about
your beliefs and having shared them with others.
Overcoming the Fear in
Starting a State Association
Just when you think a month
of emails with different individuals is about to turn into something big,
it doesn’t happen. The change of events goes something like this:
First, the decision to start an ASEP state association of exercise physiologists
is made between me and someone else. Second, several phone calls and a
dozen emails later, the discussion is dropped, and you don’t hear from
the well-meaning friends. While there are all kinds of reasons for
going through with the decision, doubt sets in and orders us to stop.
Remember the quote by Shakespeare, it equally true today:
“Our doubts are
our traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to
attempt.” -- William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Our nameless fears can make
us or break us. Frequently, they stop us from doing by undermining
our confidence and energy to try and to make a difference. Our doubts
are influenced by what others say, what we read or fail to read, and thus
we find ourselves saying, “Could they be right?” or “What am
I doing?” So, in the end, what needs to be done doesn't get
done. Personally, I handle my fears and doubts by repeating the statement:
overestimate the intelligence of others and never underestimate your intelligence.”
Repeating the statement during
the critical moments has helped me to stay the course. I have also
substituted words into the statement and repeated the strategy many times
to acknowledge and face my fears.
the desire of others to do whatever is necessary to insure that I will
fail and never underestimate my desire to win regardless of the negative
comments and hard work.”
We all have fears and doubts.
It is just that some of us persist regardless of the negativity.
But, when we fear that we are biting off too much, when we fear that our
colleagues will not speak to us, when we fear losing everything, or when
we fear looking ridiculous, we turn the other way.
On the other hand, what some
of us fear the most is “not doing the right thing”. Whether
we like it or not, fear is part of everything. So, how does a person
check his/her fear at the door? How does a person keep at what ought
to be done even should every single person closest to him/her disagrees?
The answer is as simple as
my high school coach use to say, “Tommy, you can either do it or not.
If you want to do it, then do it. No one is holding you back but
yourself.” I learned years ago that overcoming fear is a personal
thing. Either a person jumps, when necessary to save his/her life,
or doesn’t jump and suffers the consequences. Overcoming fear can
be the only logical decision to continue living, or otherwise life may
not be worth living.
Call it whatever you will,
but when people tell you “it’s a stupid idea” or “you will end up by yourself”
– make the fear work for you. Take a deep breath and, if you are
doing the right thing for the right reason, then do it. Just do it.
And, remember, even while you doing it, while you are demonstrating tenacity,
and while you are clearly courageous in steps you have taken, remembers
always Jack Lemmon’s line:
“I work on fear.
I have not overcome a certain insecurity, and God help me, I hope I never
lose it, or I’ll be lousy.” -- Jack Lemmon
As important as it is for each
of us to want the support of our colleagues, it may be necessary to embrace
our fears of rejection, criticism, and failure and do what we believe we
should do anyway. In short, stand tall and act on your feelings.
Senator Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) said it this way:
“It is from numberless
diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others,
or strikes out injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”
A tiny ripple of hope is all
that is necessary to do the impossible. As an example that everyone
has heard of in track and field, no one had broken the “four-minute mile”
before Roger Bannister. But, in 1954, at a meet in Oxford, England,
on May 6th, he ran a mile in under four minutes (3:59.4 to be exact).
He did the impossible, and it opened the door of opportunity. Six
weeks later, John Landy of Australia ran a mile in 3:58.0 and, hence what
was believed to be impossible was possible.
Part of the courage to deal
with rejection is to believe that you know you can do it. Take a
few seconds to picture it clearly in your mind. Knowing yourself
starts with an awareness of the PsychoCybernetics author, Dr. Maltz, understood
as a “guidance system” within us. Call it what you will, but if you
believe you can start an ASEP state organization, then you can. So,
how about deciding on a specific time period to complete it, say one month
or even two months, and then work with ASEP to get it done.
“It’s not the size
of the army but the power within the army.” -- Napoleon Bonaparte
Computers and Cyberspace
Separating Facts from non-Facts
The world of exercise physiology
is becoming increasingly interesting. It is changing at a rate parallel
with today’s technology. The Internet has become the expert in fitness
and health. Young and old computer users are embracing the rapid
rise in new players, new products, new perspectives, and continuously new
online bits of stimulating information. Students, parents, teachers,
and athletics search the Internt for advanced techniques to run faster,
to jump higher, or to lose extra pounds. Whatever is the issue, the
Internet has taken the place of real experts breathing oxygen and pumping
blood through their arteries.
With the ever-increasing
use of computers and reliance on increasingly competitive perspectives
and a growing complexity of information, the need for credible facts, opinions,
and ideas is imperative. Too few users are unable to separate facts
from mindless contributions to the Internet. The modern-day users,
the students, look to the Internet for solutions to every conceivable class
project. The computer is therefore the new library. The door
is the keyboard, and the books are the websites. They can drink and
eat while clicking on new pages. Food doesn’t have to be left at
the door, and you can talk as loud as you like! The new library is
Eventually, of course, despite
the easy and facilitated access to Internet information, there is the inevitable
question: “Who is responsible for making sense of the information?”
One answer is that it all depends. Where can we turn for an answer
to this question? Who would want to second-guess the computer cyber-library?
Obviously, the unquestioned academic attraction of the Internet has transformed
how students think and study, and what they believe.
©1997-2000 American Society of Exercise Physiologists. All Rights