Since early in Rice's history, completion
of two semesters of basic physical education has been a baccalaureate
degree requirement of all students. Students with physical disabilities
have satisfied the physical education requirement through individual
instruction or classes arranged to meet personal needs.
Over the years, the faculty and administration
have continued to support the idea that physical education is
an integral part of the education of Rice students. Student surveys
affirm the value of the experiences to Rice undergraduates.
Physical education and recreational physical
activity experiences have been an integral part of the liberal
arts offering of Rice University (Institute) since its inception
in 1912. Then, as now, the "Institute" was dedicated
to the development of arts, letters and science. From the onset
the focus was on both liberal and technical education. Although
times have changed and student, faculty and staff personnel have
changed, the philosophy and the purposes of the University remain
stable. The University espouses its belief in providing each student
with a liberal education in arts, science and letters, as well
as providing a specialized education in preparation for successful
vocational endeavor. It is in the endeavor of liberal education
for all students that basic physical education has a role.
Since the inception of the University, there
has been a strong belief that students needed to understand, appreciate
and experience physical activity as one of their educational experiences.
In the incipient years of the Institute this was reinforced through
a requirement for male students to complete a minimum of one year
of instructed physical education. In the 1950's the University
requirement expanded and women students were also required to
complete one year of physical education prior to graduation.
During the early years of Rice Institute,
following the installation of a major program in physical education
exclusively for athletes, athletes certified by the Athletic Department
were not required to take the basic instructional course. They
were required, however, to participate in numerous courses which
offered the content of basic instructional courses as well as
more inclusive content of health, wellness and sports and games.
Currently athletes fulfill the physical
education requirement for they are viewed as students seeking
the same liberal education as are all other students. Excellence
in a sport is commendable, but it is not a guarantee that one
has acquired the knowledge and concepts of wellness, fitness development
and maintenance and the broad experience, knowledge and value
of participation in lifetime sports which will serve the student
It is the belief of the Department faculty
that each and every student at Rice University should have knowledge
and understanding regarding the structure and function of the
human body. It is the intent of the basic instructional required
program to provide the concepts of the functioning body and to
provide instruction and a laboratory in which one experiences
the use of the body in sports, games, dance and aquatics. Students
are given opportunities of selection so that they may develop
lifetime commitment to physical fitness and recreational skills
that will serve them long after completion of their undergraduate
experience. Further, through direction provided in the course
experience, they are encouraged to use the available facilities
and leadership in open recreational activities, intramural activities
and club sports.
The goals of the Basic Physical Education
Instructional Program are presented below.
III. Program Goals
The goals of Basic Physical Education Instruction
IV. Basic Instruction Program Components
The categories (and percentage within the
overall offering) of the courses offered include: Physical fitness/wellness
(31%), individual sports and activities (31%), dance (21%) combatives
(10%), team sports (7%). There are a variety of physical activity
courses within each category. For several years there has been
an average of 31 separate courses involving about 800 students
Students are encouraged to take physical
education courses in which they have little experience; they are
not allowed to repeat the same activities in a subsequent semester.
Because many of the courses include two separate activities each
semester, most students receive instruction and participate in
at least three separate physical activities while completing the
physical education requirement.
V. Quality of Instruction
Historically, the student evaluations reflect
high satisfaction with the effectiveness of the basic physical
education courses and the faculty. Both the full-time and part-time
faculty teaching Basic Physical Education have vast experience
and are recognized experts in their physical activity specialty.
Unquestionably sport is an integral part of every culture in the modern world. Experiencing and understanding some of the many physical activities which are universal among all cultures and encompass virtually all disciplines of human movement in sports, games, aquatics, aesthetics, martial arts and physical conditioning, makes a substantial contribution to the liberal education of Rice students. Because many of our students have little physical activity experience and their athleticism awaits discovery, participating in a variety of physical activities and understanding basic wellness principles reveals another dimension of their university education. Possessing knowledge and skill in physical activities and being fully acquainted with the Department's facilities and equipment provide students with an opportunity to spend wholesome time away from the strain created by rigorous academic demands which few can escape at Rice. This is a very positive outcome of Basic Physical Education that can contribute abundantly to the quality of student life.