Time seems to go much faster as I get older. This is my eighteenth year at Cal Poly and I’m still enjoying the university and our students. This year we had over 1200 students apply for next fall quarter. We accepted 150. To give you an example of the quality of our entering freshmen, their High School GPAs are 3.9 with SATs of around 1250. This has been the case for the past several years. Students transferring from community colleges have a GPA of about 3.3. The quality of our students is admirable and we have graduated many very promising professionals. We currently have about 400 undergraduate and graduate students in our program.
One problem that we have run into is a shortage of students entering the Teaching Concentration. The number of applicants to this program has decreased tremendously over the past few years. Approximately 95% of our new students are entering the Exercise Science and Health Promotion Concentration. We are looking at ways to increase the pool of potential teachers by considering a separate major for the Teaching Concentration. This would allow us to have better control over students being admitted into teaching.
This past year we have been busy hiring new faculty and staff. Mariam Emyan is now our half-time office assistant. She comes to us from Business Administration where she earned her Masters degree. She has excellent computer skills and is learning the intricacies of our department quickly. If you have a chance, stop by and say hello. She has added to the international flavor of our staff with Shirley being from South Africa and Mariam from Armenia. This Spring Quarter, Dr. Ann McDermott will be joining us from Tufts Medical Center. She has been doing post doctoral work with the USDA. Her Ph.D. is in Nutrition with a Masters degree in Exercise Science. She will be heading our new Center for Obesity Prevention and Education. Much of her research has been related to the morbidly obese. Her addition to our faculty will help provide the department with a new direction to address the growing obesity problems in California and the U.S. Her primary responsibility will be to generate grants to promote this program. We have hired a full-time lecturer to direct the internship program for the Exercise Science and Health Promotion Concentration. Jennifer (Davis) Olmstead will be teaching some of the classes in this concentration and will develop internship sites for our students. Jennifer received her Masters Degree from our department and has been working the past couple of years at a fitness facility. She was supposed to start next fall but we have had her teaching some of our core courses this winter and spring quarters. We are very pleased with our new additions and are excited about our future directions.
College Based Fees (CBF) has been a real blessing for our department. Not only have we been able to purchase state-of-the-art equipment but we have funds for student travel. Students can attend conferences and have registration fees paid as well as some other travel expenses. We have had many students as presenters at state, regional, national and international conferences over the past few years. This is good for the students to be professionally active with our faculty. Feedback I have received from conference attendees is very positive. I am proposing $15,000 be allocated from CBF for student travel next year. The number of students taking advantage of this has increased steadily over the past few years. CBF has allowed our department to hire Graduate Teaching Assistants. We have 6 graduate students who are currently employed to teach ProActs and labs. This is a major benefit for our graduate program.
This year is Sonja Glassmeyer’s final year of FERPing (Faculty Early Retirement Program). She has been extremely valuable in supervising internships, developing intern sites and teaching in the Exercise Science and Health Promotion Concentration, not to mention all of the other activities she has lead over the years. We wish her the best in retirement. She will be missed tremendously.
On a personal note, I seem to keep busy and manage to keep my fingers into what is happening in lifeguard programs in the U.S. I was recently in Irvine as an advisor for the revision of the American Red Cross lifeguard program. I was asked by the Red Cross to oversee the filming of extreme shallow water spinal injury management techniques. These are skills I developed at Cal Poly that were adopted by the YMCA and now by the Red Cross. This year is my parent’s 60th wedding anniversary and my family will be having a reunion to celebrate this momentous occasion. There are over 30 in my direct family (parents, kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids). Jill and I are looking forward to this gala and have planned an Alaskan Cruise following the party. That should be quite a good time and a nice break from work.