Vol 2 No 9
September, 1998
    ISSN 1097-9743 
    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. While it contains views and opinions of the Editor who oversees the ASEP Internet Websites, visitors can have a voice as well. We welcome interested practitioners, researchers, and academicians to e-mail the Publisher their thoughts and ideas or to respond directly via the ASEP Public Forum
    October 1998
Who is presenting at the upcoming ASEP National Meeting? Oct. 2-3, 1998 in Duluth, MN

NEWS Our internet friends worldwide can locate the American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) in the Dr. MEDMarket's Health Services Index! This index contains links to health service providers and related companies. This new capability will allow others to find us from many different windows of opportunities. We are located in the Medical Resources Index Category. 

Dr. Robert A. Robergs is pleased to annouce the third electronic copy of the Journal of Exercise Physiologyonline will be published by ASEP the 1st of October, 1998.
Important NEWS!

TheJournal of Exercise Physiologyonline and the ASEPNewsletter are provided worldwide exposure in Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory. It is the world's leading periodicals directory since 1932, and is used by libraries, publishers, researchers, and subscription agencies. Ulrich's is available in print, on CD-ROM, and online through some of the world's leading data providers: DIALOG, SilverPlatter, OVID, and Lexis-Nexis.

Both the Journal of Exercise Physiologyonlineand the ASEPNewsletter are also included in the ARL Directory of Electronic Journals, Newsletters, and Academic Discussion Lists. The Directory has a wide readership in both its print and electronic versions and is recognized as the standard reference work for information about online serials. For more information about the Directory, please see the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Web site

The ASEP National Office is located on the campus of the College of St. Scholastica in the Department of Exercise Physiology. The department is located in the Science Center in front of the Tower Hall. Why not plan a visit?

New electronic journal
Professionalization of Exercise Physiologyonline

ASEP Membership?
Since January, 1998, ASEP membership has continued to grow. As the first step to the professionalization of exercise physiology, the Society is in the business of preserving and improving the professional status of exercise physiologists. The exciting thing about the organization is that it exists because of the ongoing importance of exercise physiology by exercise physiologists. As Winston S. Churchill said, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

At the present time, there are 100 paying members! That's right. There are 21 members with an undergraduate degree, 49 members with a master's degree, and 30 members with a doctorate degree. The majority of ASEP's membership lies with BS and MS degreed professionals (70% vs 30% [PhD]. In a somewhat different light, ASEP has averaged 11 members per month since January, 1998. That's GOOD. We are here. We will make a difference because it is logical and right. Guess what? There are also 33 non-paying members for different reasons, for a total membership of 133 members!!!

So this is not the end. Nor even the beginning of the end. But it is, we believe, the end of the beginning --- the beginning of the challenging and arduous but eminently doable task of building a visionary organization to professionalize exercise physiology.

What is it about ASEP that is important to know?

What's In a Title?
Tommy Boone, PhD, MPH
Professor and Chair
Department of Exercise Physiology
The College of St. Scholastica
Duluth, MN

Everything! Title is important. I am an exercise physiologist. I am not an exercise scientist. The academic area I work in is exercise physiology. It is not exercise science. The name of the department I Chair is the Department of Exercise Physiology. It is not the Department of Exercise Science. My students get either an undergraduate or a graduate degree in exercise physiology. My students graduate as exercise physiologists!

In the same building I teach, there are academic programs for nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and so forth. At the completion of their course work, the students from these programs graduate into their respective professions. The nursing student, as an example, is a nurse. The physical therapy graduate is a physical therapist. Rightfully so, the academic specificity of each program sets the stage for both professional work and title.

What is in a title? Everything! I can't imagine my students would want to graduate from college with an academic major in exercise physiology to be told that they can not refer themselves as exercise physiologists, but rather exercise scientists (or worst yet, exercise specialists). Would you?

I suppose it is possible to totally miss the point of an academic major. Most people wouldn't think that would ever happen. Yet, I have had one such experience in recent months in which a graduate from my department was led to believe that h/she could not be an exercise physiologist without a doctorate degree. Many people who tend to believe such nonsense have PhDs! They worked hard for the degree and, therefore, unless everyone else walks the same walk, they can not be one of them.

When I look back at the courses I took at the PhD level, I can appreciate that undergraduates who are in an academic exercise physiology major are taking courses very similar to my graduate work. This point is especially true if the exercise physiology professors are doing their job. Therefore, in short, one could understand that certain undergraduate students have the right to refer to themselves as exercise physiologists (even if they have not published one article). Why? Because publishing per se, while important, does not make an exercise physiologist. Moreover, there are many exercise physiologists who do not publish!

Bear in mind that I understand the difference between an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree. Clearly, there are differences between the two which isn't the issue in this paper. The point is my students are required to take the following core courses: kinesiology, biomechanics, physiological assessment, cardiac rehabilitation, exercise prescription, ECG/stress testing, advanced exercise physiology, sports nutrition, psychophysiology and so forth. Depending upon their specialization in the exercise physiology major (athletic training, sports psychology, research, sports management), they are required to take additional courses. They are also required to do an internship in three of the four options.

In addition to taking a significant number of exercise physiology courses, the students are responsible for paying college tuition in the amount of $60,000 or $70,000. Naturally, after graduation, the students are required to start paying for the loans, which is even higher than the amount indicated because of additional college expenses and loans!

What is in a title? Everything from money to pride. It defines the person and, in many cases, it is the person. For example, I have been an exercise physiologist since I completed the PhD from Florida State under the mentorship of Dr. Ron Byrd (an exercise physiologist). I stopped being a physical educator in 1971. It is amazing to me that I'm still explaining this point to other educators. I can still remember a colleague at a previous university who was determined to convince me that I was a physical educator. Why? Well, because my undergraduate and master's degrees were in health and physical education.

I can only imagine how the reader may view such an idea. It doesn't make sense to me. Rather, as a person gets more or different degrees, that person has a right to the new academics titles. In fact, although I haven't worked in public health since earning the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, I have the right to refer to myself as a public health professional. By the same token, when I finish the Master of Arts degree in Management, I have the academic right to the professional title and all that it defines (an so it is with my students who graduate as exercie physiologists).

Titles are important! They define who we are and what we do. The problem with exercise physiology as a career field is that unfortunately there isn't an academic history to examine and study (i.e., outside of contemporary version of the closure of the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory). Surely, someone other than I has figured out that we, as exercise physiologists, are (and have been) more than the idea of two decades of outstanding productivity from the "fatigue lab."

Exercise physiology has without question been influenced by the great men and women of the past. Their contributions to the scientific discovery of facts about human performance are tremendous. We owe them plenty because they created a window of opportunity where it did not exist. That doesn't mean, however, that it would not have been created at some point along the way. Physical educators have, for example, accomplished much of what physiologists and/or medical doctors set out to do decades ago. Our heritage is rightfully more in the hands of educators than doctors. It is more aligned with academic course work than laboratory experiences, although the latter is changing.

With the right course work and hands-on experiences (both practical and research), students can be academically prepared to be exercise physiologists. They should be academically prepared by exercise physiologists and not by medical, physiological, or biological science departments. The acquisition of knowledge and its organization for dissemination in college classrooms by exercise physiologists prepares the students for service in the profession of exercise physiology.

But, of course, not all academic programs are equal and, for the most part, there are significantly more "exercise science" programs than "exercise physiology." Not only are there problems with lack of consistency from one college program to the next, there are disagreements as to which courses should be included in such programs. To be sure, since there is a difference in what constitutes an academic degree versus an academic emphasis, programs that offer a degree in exercise physiology are (potentially) better than programs with an emphasis. Generally, therefore, students from academic programs with a major in kinesiology or human performance and an emphasis in exercise science (or even exercise physiology) are not as well prepared as students from departments with a degree in exercise physiology.

Even a degree in exercise science is not without problems because one doesn't know (without analyzing the course work) if the major (by title) is a new program of study or simply a change in the department name in which the old course work still remains in place. All one has to do is look up several colleges on the internet to verify this point.

The problem is multi-dimensional, but it shouldn't take from what has already evolved as a natural state of academic and professional development. Consequently, only academic exercise physiology programs graduate exercise physiologists. Programs by the name of exercise science can not graduate exercise physiologists no more so than an academic major in science can graduate a biologist.

The problem lies not with the academic exercise physiology programs, but instead with programs that do not offer a major in exercise physiology. Such programs should be updated with an adequate listing of course work. In some cases, many of the college instructors may require better academic training. This is not a new thought or criticism. The issue of quality instructors dates back for decades. Part of the problem is the lack of a professional organization to guide the development of the professional and, in particular, the development of the instructional courses in exercise physiology.

Not surprisingly, it is difficult to emphasize the importance of title without discussing the importance of qualified faculty to oversee rigorous requirements for exercise physiology students. In fact, it is now time more than ever before to address both issues at the undergraduate level and not just at the doctorate level. Exercise physiology is now more than only an in-depth academic preparation at the doctorate level. Graduate programs are important but now undergraduate programs that offer exercise physiology course work are important too.

Hence, the era has ended when only PhDs can be called exercise physiologists. With the ending of one era and the beginning of another era, there is justification in acknowledging an exercise physiologist by title. This approach is consistent with the earlier examples of being a nurse after earning an undergraduate degree in nursing.

Since physiology societies and sports medicine organizations have not worked to promote the identification and/or upgrade of the content of what constitutes an exercise physiology curriculum, it the responsibility of the exercise physiologists who teach in the academic settings to do so. However, college professors have been very slow in addressing this point. Exercise physiologists have joined the college ranks as professors, and have ended up teaching essentially the same three or four exercise physiology courses year after year. The professors have not addressed the issue of curriculum revision from an exercise physiologist's point of view. Essentially no one has addressed which courses should be taught, how they should taught, how much hands-on experiences or laboratory opportunities are required and so forth. Not until the organization of the American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) has there been an emphasis on academic development and consistency from one college to the next.

Given the lack of significant in-roads into communicating "what is what" -- exercise physiologists have thus done their work without considering the pitfalls of continuing without serious thought given to professionalism, program prerequisites, and cognate course requirements at all levels of the students' education. As a result, there is the notion that certification by sports medicine groups will legitimize the field. Surely, everyone realizes that any certification process that doesn't require a specific educational foundation (as in a college degree) is essentially useless. It is truly a bandage that will not work. It can not correct the problem of lack of attention paid to professionalism.

Because ASEP is the professional organization committed to the unity of exercise physiologists and the professionalization of exercise physiology, it will attract the attention of national and international thinkers. Many of these thinkers will embrace the move towards more academic programs (majors) in exercise physiology and less in exercise science. Specialization will gradually fall by the wayside as professionalization through better and more comprehensive course content and hands-on laboratory and internship opportunities become commonplace. The academic structure will be degree specific with professional expectations and outcomes. The Society will empower exercise physiologists thus enabling them to advance in the job market. It will embrace all aspects of exercise physiology, particularly the title of the profession.

What is in a title? Everything! Exercise physiology defines who we are and what we do. Today, we are a mix of exercise scientists and exercise physiologists. In the near future, more of us will be exercise physiologists and less exercise scientists. There is a difference. Interestingly, Charles Tipton used the title "exercise physiology (ogists)" nearly 80 times in his paper entitled, "Contemporary Exercise Physiology: Fifty Years...." I believe the title "exercise science" was used one time in the 24 page paper. Also important and of major significance is the title of the piece. Think about it.

Our power lies in our title as exercise physiologist!

ASEP Table of Contents