Fitness Sports Majors Grow at TAMIU Feb. 2005

Fitness Sports Majors Grow at TAMIU


Recent statistics at Texas A&M International University indicate a considerable increase in the number of students majoring in fitness and sports with 137 students currently enrolled in both undergraduate and post baccalaureate fitness and sports courses.

TAMIU launched the fitness and sports initiative in 1994 in hopes of generating local and international interest in what then seemed an atypical major for students. Coach Rafael Romo, fitness and sports instructor, recalled only having an average attendance of six students per course back in 1999 when he first began teaching at TAMIU.

"It's amazing how the program has grown since then. Now, all of our courses have an average of 45 to 50 students," Coach Romo pointed out.

The interest generated amongst students exists because students want to be involved in coaching and teaching physical education and enjoy going to class, according to Romo. He mentioned the program is one of the best in the surrounding areas and in the state.

"Laredo has not had a fitness and sports program like TAMIU's. We have one of the top percentages of people passing the TexES/ExCET exam and I think that has made people in Laredo actually want to come to school here," Romo indicated.

What makes the University's fitness and sports program different is the involvement students receive from an actual job setting. Romo said students become involved by scouting and officiating at different sports at local schools.

Majors in fitness and sports take general courses during their first two years. At the same time, they explore their career choices so they can choose their field of interest within the major. Students interested in teacher certification take 126 hours of courses and have opportunities to work with children in supervised field settings.

Romo said TAMIU's Bachelor of Science Fitness and Sports degree is a well-established, highly respected degree, and can lead to a variety of careers. The degree prepares graduates for many teaching or leisure-related occupations. And because people may change careers many times in today's world, the wide range of subjects students study at TAMIU means they will be able to adapt to any new opportunity that comes their way.

For example, fitness and sports majors may expect a career as a physical education teacher, aerobic dance instructor, athletic trainer, fitness director (of a health spa or hospital recreation center), athletic administrator, recreation therapist (in a hospital or rehabilitation center), and wellness director. With additional study, one may undertake exercise science research or become a physical therapist.

As the obesity rate increases so does Romo's concern for a healthy lifestyle. He emphasized the importance of practicing what is preached and how physical educators should actually look like physical educators for the sake of promoting healthiness.

"We are becoming so television oriented and computerized that we rarely get out there and exercise. It is a proven fact that students perform better academically if they have some sort of physical activity on a daily basis because it gets rid of the stress, in exchange making the body feel better," Romo explained.

Romo stressed to the importance of keeping the community fit, as it will teach people an active lifestyle and in turn lead them to become productive citizens. He said that helps fitness and sports majors as instructors to enjoy their job and teaching.

Romo said the combined effort of Mr. Todd Farmer, instructor of education, Dr. Sukho Lee, assistant professor of fitness and sports, and administrators Dr. Humberto González, dean of the college of education, Dr. Juan Lira, regents professor and chair of the department of curriculum and instruction, and Dr. Ramón Alaniz, associate dean of the college of education, has guaranteed the program's accomplishment.

"Our goals have made us what we are in the physical education program. Our goals are structured together to where everything we teach leads towards the perfect P.E. teacher," Romo declared.

For more information on the fitness and sports program, please contact Romo at 326.2695, e-mail rromo@tamiu.edu, or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 334A.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu