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College Spotlight - The College of Health and Human Performance


The College of Health and Human Performance is on the move when it comes to offering its students top-notch academic and research opportunities—and ultimately improving lives.

The very mission of HHP, officially recognized as a college in 2003, is “to improve health, well being, and quality of life.” The college is attracting talented and motivated students through its special career, educational, and research opportunities, says College of Health and Human Performance Dean Dr. Glen Gilbert.

Currently, HHP has about 2,000 declared and intended undergraduate majors, 350 graduate students, and 100 faculty members. Additionally, about 9,000 ECU alumni have earned degrees from the college.

HHP’s wide variety of programs is offered through the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, the Department of Health Education and Promotion, and the Department of Exercise and Sport Science. The college also includes the aerospace studies (Air Force ROTC) and military science (Army ROTC) programs.

The college has earned recognition for many of its programs. The recreational therapy program, offered through the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, boasts higher than a 90-percent pass rate for the national certification examination sponsored by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

Additionally, the Department of Health Education and Promotion’s online MAEd program for licensed teachers is the only online program of its kind in the state.

This department has long been known for its standout achievements. In fact, Dr. Katie Walsh, the director of the department’s athletic training program, was recognized by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) as the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer for 2010. Also, Ronnie Barnes, alumnus and vice president for medical affairs and head athletic trainer for the New York Giants, received the 2010 Lifetime Contribution Award from NATA’s Research and Education Foundation.

The Department of Health Education and Promotion also established ECU’s volunteer program. HHP faculty member Judy Baker operated the program out of her HHP office for over 15 years.

The Department of Exercise and Sport Science and the Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) are home to the bioenergetics and exercise science doctoral program, ranked fourth nationally by Academics Analytics. The department’s Lifetime Physical Activity and Fitness Laboratory program is a key component of ECU's Foundations Curriculum.

Combined with Health in a Modern Society, offered by the Department of Health Education and Promotion, it ensures that ECU graduates are well versed in both personal health and physical fitness essential for a vigorous life.

Researchers in the department's Activity Promotion Laboratory have developed a national model for increasing the fitness of school children with “Energizers,” which are 10-minute sessions that integrate physical activity and academic concepts. “Energizers” have been adopted throughout North Carolina public schools.

The On-Campus Adapted Physical Education Practicum has proved individualized instruction to children with disabilities for more than 20 years. Many ECU students have gone on to careers in this area, including Ann Hughes, the 2009 National Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the year.

Other notable labs and centers at HHP include the Academic Advising Center, the Activity Promotion Laboratory, the After-School Activity Program, the Biomechanics Laboratory, the Biofeedback Laboratory, the Visual Motor Laboratory, the Motor Development Laboratory, and the Regional Training Center.

The Air Force and Army ROTC programs are also an important component of the College of Health and Human Performance.

The Air Force Detachment, which opened at ECU in 1948, is one of the oldest—and most successful—in the nation. In fact, in the past three years, five out of 30 cadets have finished in the top 10 percent of their field training.

The Air Force program has also produced notable alumni including Gen. Gary North, the first Air Force four-star general to graduate from ECU.

Army ROTC at ECU was established in 1983. Just last year, the program’s logistical specialist was selected as best in his field among all ROTC programs in the eastern half of the nation.

With its unique programs and variety of opportunities for students, the College of Health and Human Performance is a hub of learning and research that is changing the lives of people in the region, state, and beyond. Innovation in the classroom and in the lab continues to produce new ways to promote health and boost quality of life.