The Ouachita Baptist University Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies has created two new emphases: pre-professional studies and recreation/sports ministry. Together, these two emphases offer Ouachita students a more directed focus toward specific education and career opportunities.
“I’ve been working with our deans, encouraging them to consider new degree programs that draw on our strengths,” said Dr. Stan Poole, Ouachita’s vice president of academic affairs. “I’m pleased that our faculty have been so willing to work across their department lines to develop creative degree plans that meet the needs of our students.”
Prior to these new emphases, students needed additional minors, such as biology and mass communications, to specialize or enhance their kinesiology/leisure studies majors. These new options will incorporate various departments on campus, offering individualized degree programs for students while utilizing Ouachita’s current faculty and staff.
The emphasis in recreation/sports ministry was developed in order to fill a growing need in today’s ministry landscape. Ouachita graduates currently working in that field played a pivotal role in helping to create the new emphasis.
Keith Chancey, president of Kanakuk Institute and director of Kanakuk K-Seven, a popular Christian summer camp, is just one example of a Ouachita graduate dedicated to recreation and sports ministry.
“I have literally seen hundreds of thousands of kids and counselors come through the gates of Kanakuk Kamps,” Chancey said. “They have had their lives changed for eternity because of what Christ has done. God uses this camp to give proper self-image, courage, community, faith and truth. … What we are doing is very important to making a difference for Christ in our world. Camping is an investment into eternity.”
More than 100 students at Ouachita work at camps similar to Kanakuk each year and, according to OBU’s Fall 2011 Ministry-Related Vocation Survey, many of those students hope to follow a similar career path in the future.
The recreation/sports ministry emphasis will incorporate courses from the Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies, the Pruet School of Christian Studies and the Rogers Department of Communication. For kinesiology/leisure studies majors who chose an emphasis in recreation/sports ministry, employment opportunities after college may include work at sport-, outdoor- and church-related ministries in addition to Christian camps.
For students who are considering graduate/professional programs in athletic training, exercise science or physical/occupational therapy, the new pre-professional emphasis is an ideal fit. It features a partnership among the Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies, the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition.
“There is such flexibility in the pre-professional emphasis,” said Dr. Mike Reynolds, chair of the Kinesiology and Leisure Studies Department, adding that the emphasis can be adapted to fit the prerequisites for a variety of professions or graduate programs. This new strategic approach will increase the amount of flexible elective hours for each student.
“If you have a desire to teach/coach, work as a church recreation minister, become a personal trainer, run your own camp, work for the National Park Service or pursue a career in a health-related field, one of these emphases is for you,” Reynolds said.
The Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies is part of Ouachita’s Michael D. Huckabee School of Education. It offers four emphases for its students, including fitness, pre-professional studies, recreation and recreation & sports ministry.
“The faculty in our department are excellent at advising and counseling students toward an emphases that matches a student’s interests,” Reynolds added.
For more information, contact the Mike Reynolds in the Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies at (870) 245-5188 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Rachel Gregory