Please appreciate that
from both passion and concern.
passion is my desire to help students find better career opportunities
My concern comes from
watching and hearing about students having such great difficulty in
respect and credibility after graduating from college.
As a college teacher of nearly 40 years, I am
of the belief that an undergraduate degree should set the stage for
It is that simple for
Since the founding of ASEP in 1997,
I have been convinced that we can and should come together to deal with
challenges and obstacles to being an exercise physiologist.
The ASEP way is clearly the best way of doing
After all, it is the reality
of exercise physiology as a profession.
if not most, of what it is has been designed specifically from
that of other established organizations, such as physical therapy,
therapy, and nursing.
The idea that exercise physiology
should stay within the generic organization of the American College of
Medicine (ACSM) makes no sense at all.
ASEP exercise physiologists understand that they need their own
professional organization just as
other healthcare professionals have their own individual organizations.
They get this point.
other exercise physiologists are so slow to do
so isn’t a mystery.
It is more of the
gaming that goes on within the context of the existing ACSM
In general, academic exercise
physiologists support the traditional paradigm of ACSM as their primary
Of course this is a major
mistake that is obvious to anyone with his or her eyes open.
The second way of seeing exercise physiology,
the ASEP way, has been around just over 10 years.
is the product of the necessity to change
direction from just being a research discipline to a healthcare
profession. Research itself benefits
exercise physiologists with the doctorate degree, but does little to
help the no-doctorates find employment.
This article seeks to explain
some of the difficulties with the change process.
there is conflict between the old and new way of thinking about
exercise physiology. A lot
of work is yet to be done, especially across the next serveral decades.
However, what is
at the heart of the transition from the old to the new is the need to
update the way exercise physiologists think about themselves.
Even if the majority of academic exercise physiologists refuse to
listen to the needs of their students, it isn't a credible reason to
not work to change "what is" to "what can be." N
surprisingly, many college teachers are interested only in doing
research. That's why they are happy when they can
get their teaching load reduced.
In retrospect, being part of the
ASEP experience has been educational on many different fronts.
The most obvious change is that teaching is
recognied as being important in helping college students develop as
professionals. There is also the appreciation for the struggle to
move from ACSM
to ASEP. It hasn't been easy, and it isn't likely to get much
better for several years.
To state the
obvious, how the reader sees exercise physiology is to a large extent
product of what is teachers are willing to share with
It is also based on what the reader has read about the change process
and the work towards professionalism in exercise physiology. To
ask the obvious question, "How many articles have you read in PEPonline
or JPEP?" How often do college teachers relate the content of
these articles to class work? Probably, the answer is not very
many. After all, it is also obvious that hardly any academic
exercise physiologists actually publish in either ASEP professionalism
So, let me ask you this
“What is the real reason for
not abandoning the comfort of our familiar beliefs and practices?”
I believe two things.
There is the obvious answer and the unobvious
First, the obvious answer is that
existence of decades of failed leadership has set the stage for
The desire to be recognized
as a physiologist and scientist is
so strong that it is a psychological indication of weakness and the
courage to acknowledge the truth.
end result is the continuing repetition of mistakes.
Why? Because it is very
difficult to break free from decades of thinking, history, and familiar
of the prevailing culture.
words, if the academic exercise physiologists are not fearful and
overwhelmed by the
ASEP paradigm shift, then, they must be too caught up in their status
and promotion issues.
it is too risky or that they will have to abandon the comfort of
their position with sports medicine.
the reason, many turn a blind eye to changing.
The second reason is this:
within the old paradigm the need
to defend its hierarchy, power, and bureaucracy.
essential lesson is that both exercise
physiologists and non-exercise physiologists come together to maintain
medicine path of organizational status.
shared power (and often times, their greed) is exploited however
necessary to effectively destroy the competition.
In short, then, they aren’t
interested in losing membership to another organization even if it is
thing to do. If this is the case,
and non-productive. I think so, but without a doubt the behavior
exists under the false perception of
ithout the ability to think
straight, their unrecognized fear and insecurity
moves them to act in unprofessional ways.
is a sad statement of the collective actions of many academic
However, this analysis is appropriate and
relevant, and I have learned that it is difficult for my colleagues to
free from the prevailing failed rhetoric of yesterday's thinking.
Traditional ways and strong communities of
shared thinking tjat research and publishing are the only thing
important have created a belief of
And yet, while they feel
comfortable in sports medicine and exercise science, they
have failed to
think beyond themselves.
Students suffer from the lack of financially sound career
opportunities in exercise physiology. Just think
about it. It wasn't until
ASEP surfaced did anyone
realize that exercise physiologists did not have their own Code of
less their own professional standards of practice. No one
questioned the fact that students were not accessing credible
jobs. The so-called "clinical" exercise physiology path isn't the
answer. Indeed, it gradually being consumed by physical therapy
The question is this:
Where are the
leaders in exercise physiology?
logical answer is there haven’t been any leaders
because they have been taught to think as healthcare professionals.
This shortage of leadership has allowed the leadership from the
established professions to bring into their practice documents the
power of exercise as medicine.
It has encouraged
behaviors that are simply inappropriate for adults.
The ASEP vision is entirely
The leadership is not acting
in isolation to their problems, but rather addressing them with a
meaningful interconnectedness between professionalism and credibility.
This has been done through very specific
developments in accreditation, board certification, and standards of
Now, the challenge for the ASEP
leaders is to learn how to deal with the change process and the
isolation, criticism, and indifference
from the old paradigm.
Also, while it
obviously becomes challenging on occasion to deal with these
conditions, the ASEP leadership is mentally and spiritually at work to
stay the course, to stay focused, and to stay on target.
What I understand is that I am not a failure,
regardless of the lack of help or their unwillingness to get the big
So, I say to myself,
more often than I need to:
“Just do the
Don’t take it personally.
Time will take care the issues, obstacles,
Change is process that
takes place on many years if not decades.
is not an event.
So, stay the course.
Never give up.”