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Department/Program Description

Wesleyan does not offer a major program in physical education. A for-credit program emphasizes courses in fitness, aquatics, lifetime sport, and outdoor education activities.

No more than one credit in physical education may be used toward the graduation requirement. Physical education (.25 credit) courses may be repeated once only.

Limited-enrollment courses. Students taking a class for the first time are given preference over students wishing to take a class a second time, and upper-class students have preference over lower-class students. Performance tests may be required to qualify for intermediate and advanced classes.

Athletics and Physical Education at Wesleyan— A Statement of Philosophy

“I have always thought that sports are an integral part of liberal education...The reason has to do with the difference between being active and remaining passive. Sports provide the occasion for being intensely active at the height of one’s powers. The feeling of concentrated and coordinated exertion against opposing force is one of the primary ways in which we know what it is like to take charge of our own actions.”—Louis Mink

Professor Mink, in Thinking About Liberal Education, said that liberal education is an intensive quest for fulfillment of human potential. It challenges the whole person—mind, body, emotions, and spirit—to pursue mastery of skills, broad and focused knowledge, coherent understanding of human experience, and a passionate desire to exploit one’s capacity in the service of human freedom and dignity. As Mink suggests, structured physical activity is a key part of that pursuit. When it is in harmony with the broader educational purposes of an institution, it contributes to them, draws significance from them, and enhances the educational result.

The Department of Physical Education and Athletics provides the Wesleyan University community with a spectrum of activities that will be of benefit in developing healthy, energetic, and well-balanced lives. The objective is to meet the needs of students and to engage other campus constituencies in physical activity. Physical education and athletics at Wesleyan also reflect a commitment to equal opportunity for men and women at all levels of achievement.

Intercollegiate athletics provides the student with the advantage and privilege to achieve a more sophisticated mastery of skills through practice and contests. The pursuit of excellence can be realized through elite NCAA Division III competition with a focus on regular season and New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) conference play. In the pursuit of excellence, the Athletic Department strives to be the most innovative and successful athletic program in the prestigious NESCAC and a leader at the national level.

Wesleyan University pursues excellence in all of its programs. Athletics, as an integral part of the overall educational process, is uniquely positioned to enhance a liberal arts education. Wesleyan coaches share the same goal as the entire Wesleyan community: to transform the lives of our students. To achieve this goal, the University is committed to support our highly trained and dedicated faculty-coaches who practice their craft in state-of-the-art facilities.

Programmatic balance is a key criterion of physical education. The program is internally balanced to ensure equal opportunity for the pursuit of its several objectives. Moreover, physical education at Wesleyan is designed within the controlling context of liberal education.