By Travis David V Whittaker
Starting in grade school and up through high school, physical education was a major requirement. Today, with the advancement of technology, people are becoming less active in daily life. Yet Clackamas Community College had to cut three of the P.E. classes this term.
The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine call for able-bodied adults to do some form of daily exercise. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout. According to one study, a half an hour brisk walk five times a week or playing golf will improve overall health.
The college requires a total of three health and/or physical education credits to obtain a transfer degree or a program certificate. Students have the option to take a one-credit P.E. course three times (some of the courses are online and can be two credits), or to take a three-credit health class to knock out that requirement in a single term.
This term, the college cut three P.E. courses including volleyball, soccer and cardio-circuit (formally known as aerobics). All three of the classes had less than ten people enrolled according to Athletic Director Jim Martineau.
P.E. and health enrollment numbers are lower this year compared to recent years, with 1,266 students in 2016 down from 1,475 in 2014 and 1,835 in 2012.
Karon Allen, who has taught the cardio-circuit class for the last 24 years, only teaches the course on a part time basis at the college. Allen feels that students are in a tough spot to fit them into their schedules.
“I think schedules are tough for students. There are a lot of one-credit P.E. classes offered at the same time during the week,” Allen said.
Allen intends to teach the course again for winter term.
For one student, this was the only class she takes at the college. Anna Senn has taken the P.E. course for the past 12 years. With not being able to take it this term, she has decided to meet up with a few of the other women from the course to continue to work out and stay in shape.
“I will sign up for the class in the winter,” Senn said.
Long-time employee and faculty member Paul Fiskum, who teaches several health and P.E. classes at the college, has had a few classes canceled over the years. The class that Fiskum struggles most with in terms of enrollment is his golf class, which is held at Sah-Ha-Lee golf course in Clackamas. His class has been cut three or four times in his 27-year tenure.
Typically, teachers will be trying to recruit some people into their class, put up flyers around the campus to encourage more people to take the class,” Fiskum said. “It would be sad if we lost golf. It’s a lifetime sport—just a great activity. I wish we could get more people.”
This term, Fiskum’s golf class was in danger of being cut. He was able to salvage the course by doing an independent study with four students who are unable to attend.
A typical health or P.E. course can hold around 20 people per section. But for those who can’t make a P.E. class on a daily basis, the college has a one-credit cross training course that can fit up to 200 people per term. The course allows students to work out at their own pace in the campus weight room and log the time towards the class using a student ID number.
The P.E. department plans to put all three of the courses back on the schedule for winter term that were cut for fall term.
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Travis Whittaker