As of a few days ago, I am now crutchless for a quarter to a third of the day and will be so for the next week and half. While I have looked forward to this with great anticipation, I must confess that it was a bit frightening at first, having been dependent on crutches for the last three months. On that first crutchless evening, my wife and I walked around our block, something I haven’t been able to do since early January. It was great! I felt good and quite optimistic. I was so excited that I had trouble sleeping that night.
Much of my formula for success – and my belief in eventual full recovery – is the physical therapy I receive here in Pullman. The clinic I am a patient at, Proformance Physical Therapy, has been supportive and accommodating. I have a top-notch physical therapist and wonderful physical therapy aides who carry out directives from the therapist, guide me through rehab protocols and monitor the treadmill in the therapeutic pool that I’ll walk in for an hour each day, into July. The physical therapy aides are upbeat, see the world in positive terms, are highly professional, and are my cheerleaders. All of these individuals are WSU students or graduates, and three of them are graduates from the college’s kinesiology program!
Proformance Physical Therapy has and continues to hire a number of our kinesiology students and it is clear they received both a quality education and are trained well on the job. It is great to see our graduates find work that is related to their undergraduate education. The three kinesiology graduates that work with me have high professional goals to pursue physical or occupational therapy as a career. The work opportunities provided by Proformance Physical Therapy make achievement of these goals a real possibility. As dean, I am very pleased with this vote of confidence for our graduates from a local business.
The college’s kinesiology program had struggled for many years. While there had been several reasons for this, a key reason was that the college itself had not set it as a priority. This is no longer the case. In March of last year, President Floyd met with program faculty and students. While he saw firsthand the poor resources the program had, he also saw the potential the program has to make a real impact. As a consequence, the president jump started rejuvenation and revitalization of the program with resources that are now being used to establish the infrastructure for an exercise physiology lab.
Since then, the college has hired two new tenure-track faculty members that will start in the fall and will outfit the exercise physiology lab and a biomechanics lab. The reason and resources for this are simple and straightforward. Kinesiology has approximately 1,000 enrolled students. I fully expect this number to increase each year for the foreseeable future. It is an enrollment-growth program and with the increased enrollment, generating additional resources that are, in turn, being used to build the program. This is a strategic investment in an undergraduate program that has rapidly become a major contributor in WSU’s push to enlarge its enrollment.
I am proud of what the kinesiology program provides, the quality teaching and research that is being done, and the potential it has to offer a premier undergraduate education for students. My experience working with graduates of the kinesiology program at Proformance reinforces my belief that the earlier decisions made to invest in the program were the right decisions, decisions that will pay dividends for students and in turn, the community and beyond.