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Southern Oregon University


In keeping with the University's mission, the Department of Health Physical Education (HPEL) and Leadership is dedicated to and focused on the development of the whole student: physical, mental, and intellectual. Programs within the department are interdisciplinary by nature and combine the fields of education and social sciences. The department is dedicated to providing a high quality education and career preparation with the idea of excellent teaching being the central to our mission. Our students teach in a variety of settings, including schools, sports arenas, fitness centers, community/public health organizations, physical therapy clinics, and outdoor recreation endeavors.  


HPEL provides academic programs in health, physical education, outdoor recreation and pre-physical therapy. Our vision for the future includes adding a minor in heath/wellness promotion, continuing to grow our outdoor adventure and leadership program with wilderness therapy and swiftwater rescue and certificate programs in coaching, adult fitness, and physical education. We aim to provide exemplary programs in these areas. 

Our programs:

  • Provide opportunities for personal, intellectual and professional growth in the areas of teaching, fitness, outdoor recreation, physical therapy, public health, allied health, coaching, wellness, sports medicine, and sports participation.
  • Are distinctive in that the faculty and staff have unique training and experience, particularly in the areas of wellness, sports medicine, outdoor recreation, and athletics.
  • Utilize faculty that are engaged in research in a wide array of areas including: wellness education, children′s fitness, obesity, osteoporosis, outdoor recreation, athletic injury prevention, health psychology, spiritual health, healthy aging, and world health issues.
  • Provide extensive community based service learning opportunities.
  • Create learning environments that embrace the values of critical thinking, integrity, cultural understanding, inquiry, and mutual trust and respect.

HPE Program Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to articulate the foundational principles of comprehensive health promotion
  2. Students will be able to explain fundamental principles of exercise science
  3. Students will be able to communicate effectively through writing in Standard American English
  4. Students will be able to communicate verbally in ways appropriate to purpose and audience
  5. Students will be able to assess information resources effectively and apply logical reasoning in the analysis of theoretical and practical issues/settings
  6. Student will formulate and use quantitative/mathematical approaches to address abstract and applied problems
  7. Students will model and maintain professional, ethical, standards in individual practice, conduct and citizenship, especially as related to the discipline and profession

OAL Program Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to articulate and/or identify key concepts related to outdoor adventure theory and facilitation.
  2. Students will be able to articulate and apply risk management procedures commonly used during outdoor activity facilitation
  3. Students will be able to communicate effectively through writing using Standard American English.
  4. Students will demonstrate effective verbal communication skills appropriate to the setting and/or audience (field/ professional settings).
  5. Students will be able to apply logical thought to theoretical and practical issues by analyzing/evaluating an argument's logic, evidence and efficacy
  6. Students will demonstrate the ability to access and utilize information resources effectively and ethically.
  7. Students will demonstrate professional/ethical standards in individual practice/conduct as related to the discipline and profession