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Southern Oregon University

Department of Health, Physical Education and Leadership
Vision and Mission



The Department of Health, Physical Education and Leadership (HPEL) provides academic programs in health, physical education, outdoor recreation and pre-physical therapy. Our vision for the future includes adding the following programs: minor in health/wellness promotion, growing our outdoor adventure & leadership program with wilderness therapy and swiftwater rescue and certificate programs in coaching, aquatics, adult fitness, and physical education. We aim to provide exemplary programs in these areas.



In keeping with the University’s mission, the HPEL Department is dedicated and focused on the development of the whole student: physical, mental and intellectual. Programs within the department are interdisciplinary by nature, and combine the fields of education and social sciences. The department is dedicated to providing a high quality education and career preparation with the idea of excellent teaching being central to our mission. Our students teach in a variety of settings, including schools, sports arenas, fitness centers, community/public health organizations, physical therapy clinics, and outdoor recreation endeavors.


Our programs:

  • Provide opportunities for personal, intellectual and professional growth in the areas of teaching, fitness, outdoor recreation, physical therapy, public health, allied health, coaching, wellness, sports medicine, and sports participation.
  • Are distinctive in that the faculty and staff have unique training and experience, particularly in the areas of wellness, sports medicine, outdoor recreation, and athletics.
  • Utilize faculty that are engaged in research in a wide array of areas including: wellness education, children′s fitness, obesity, osteoporosis, outdoor recreation, athletic injury prevention, health psychology, spiritual health, healthy aging, and world health issues.
  • Provide extensive community based service learning opportunities.
  • Create learning environments that embrace the values of critical thinking, integrity, cultural understanding, inquiry, and mutual trust and respect.