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Updated 10:00 AM November 24, 2008




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Kinesiology officially named a school by regents

The Division of Kinesiology has been renamed the School of Kinesiology, effective Dec. 1, by action of the Board of Regents Nov. 21.

The name change reflects the growing prominence, enrollment, body of research and number of faculty positions over the last decade.

"The renaming of the division to a school reinforces that the importance and quality of what we do is on par with the other schools and colleges at Michigan," Dean Beverly Ulrich says. "I believe we have reached this point because of the growth over the years in the importance and impact of our research, quality of our academic programs and our service. This is a historic and exciting moment for our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends."

Kinesiology, simply put, is the study of movement. In the last 10 years, enrollment has grown to 800, the fourth highest among the 12 schools and colleges with undergraduate programs. The faculty has revamped the curriculum in three of four majors for undergraduates, and the graduate program also continues to grow. The doctoral program is recognized as one of the best in the country, and about a third of the faculty have leadership editorial positions in prominent research journals.

Research funding for kinesiology has grown as well, and the division ranked first among CIC kinesiology programs for external funding in 2006-07, and in 2007 it ranked third nationally among kinesiology programs for NIH funding. Between 1999-2007, total external funding increased 300 percent. External funding for 2008 is about $7.6 million and should increase to $7.8 in 2009. The school offers four majors and 11 research centers in three buildings on campus.

Earlier this year, the division celebrated the grand opening of its new space in the $11.5 million newly renovated Observatory Lodge building on Washington Heights, across from the School of Public Health.

"In the past decade and a half, the Division of Kinesiology has grown considerably, rising to new levels on the measures we value most highly," Provost Teresa Sullivan says. "In changing its name to School of Kinesiology, the University gives appropriate recognition to what has been achieved and gives voice to our expectations of continuing and significant contributions to our understanding of human movement and physical activity."

The division functions exactly the same as any other school on campus except in name, but in becoming a school, it enhances U-M's national leadership in the field, which is growing in the United States and Canada. Of the 61 universities that offer doctoral degrees in kinesiology, five of the academic units are schools.

"Faculty members from the Division of Kinesiology are valued contributors to the academic mission of the University," says James Woolliscroft, dean of the Medical School. "This action to rename it the School of Kinesiology recognizes the importance of their contributions to the University of Michigan, the state of Michigan and beyond."

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