From Cornhole to CPR, Transylvania University has revitalized its physical education class offerings for students to learn lifelong skills while filling out their schedule with a quarter credit.
Other additions include Pickleball, First Aid (along with CPR), Ballroom Dancing, Swimming, and Coaching and Leadership. Fitness Walking and Running will continue to be offered as well this school year, which begins Sept. 5.
“I don’t think we’ve added a new PE course in probably 10 or more years,” exercise science professor JJ Wallace said.
As reflected in the new course list, PE isn’t just about exercise. “It’s about learning to have a new activity that you could potentially use throughout your life for health and recreation,” Wallace said. She added how students might go on to join a cornhole or pickleball league later in life — and get the benefits that come along with engaging in their community.
With cornhole specifically, tossing a beanbag into a hole 30 feet away also helps develop skills that might not be developed by, say, jogging. “Physical activity is not just about sweating and burning calories,” Wallace said. “It’s also about fine motor skills.” Plus: “Most people think physical health, but we don’t always think mental health, social health, emotional health, which can all benefit from this type of course.”
And since it’s having to go to class, PE provides a structured way to work movement and recreation into otherwise packed schedules.
This course lineup also has accessibility in mind. Swimming, along with cornhole, are activities that can be done with the arms alone, for instance. “I’m just trying my best to offer a more diverse range of courses so our diverse student body can participate in the way that they would like to,” Wallace said.
Note that instead of being a time for exercise, the Swimming class is instruction for students who don’t know how to swim. Along with Ballroom Dancing, it’s been offered in the past.
The other potentially life-saving course, CPR/First Aid, is helping to meet a growing demand from students going into health care fields. They’ll learn necessary skills for internships and professional schools while getting certified through groups like the American Heart Association.
Also approved, and possibly in the offering for next year, is Coaching and Leadership with Juli Fulks, whose women’s basketball team won this year’s national championship. Wallace pointed out the interdisciplinary nature of tying athletics into academics — how, for example, a business major could learn team building for the corporate world. “It’s a course that teaches skills beyond just, I want to be a basketball coach,” Wallace said.