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Physical Activity Leadership

Regular physical activity enhances children’s academic and school success. Schools have an obligation to utilize the power of physical activity to create an active culture for all. University teacher preparation programs are uniquely positioned to foster the creation of active schools through the development of future school professionals (both undergraduate and graduate). Thanks to the foresight and passion of faculty and administrators, coupled with seed funding support from an innovation grant, this new Master’s program at UNC was designed to advance the seamless integration of physical activity in schools with quality physical education as the centerpiece. As an interdisciplinary graduate program, faculty are committed to teaching and researching the implementation and dissemination of evidence-based practices.

Our History

National professional development (PD) programs have been launched to tackle the public health concerns of youth physical inactivity by training school leaders to coordinate the implementation of comprehensive school physical activity programs (CSPAP). Initial process and outcome evaluations have been mixed. This new Master of Arts in Teaching Physical Education and Physical Activity Leadership (MATPE_PAL) program was designed to provide interested school professionals with the implementation knowledge, skills, and support to direct sustainable CSPAPs.

The MATPE_PAL program is one of the first degree programs of its kind to prepare school professionals for the broadened leadership role in school PA promotion. The University of Northern Colorado is an ideal setting to pioneer this effort, given:

  • Faculty are committed to CSPAP teacher training
  • Colorado’s stronghold as state with lowest rates of adult obesity and overweight children
  • UNC’s extensive history as Colorado’s principal institution for teacher education

As a timely and warranted master’s program, the MATPE_PAL program:

  • Extends lessons learned from CSPAP PD efforts
  • Advances a widely advocated whole-of-school model for providing 60 minutes of daily PA
  • Answers calls to reshape the preparation of school PE/PA professionals around public health goals
  • Addresses some longstanding struggles in the demand and status of PE teacher education programs

We hope this program will help align our undergraduate and graduate programs around school PA promotion and inspire other universities to follow.