Practicing Stewardship in Exercise Science

Dec 14, 2016

by Dr. Sara Terrell
Assistant Professor of Exercise Science Program Director

There are so many ways exercise science professionals can make a difference within our campus community and the community at large. Professional socialization and experiential learning opportunities help our students see the value of the exercise science discipline within a greater context and develop stewardship skills that will serve them well as future exercise professionals.

Stewardship is “the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something.” The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) code of ethics centers on stewardship, with a guiding core value that advocates for the exercise profession to “have a purpose to improve the lives of individuals and society at large.”

This demands service and a responsibility for something. As an educator for 15 years in undergraduate exercise science programs, and now as program director here at FSC, it is my responsibility to foster the concept of stewardship among budding exercise science majors.

“I have also been working with the concept of stewardship and its application to building academic programs in higher education.”
Dr. Terrell

And, with this purpose, I passionately advocate that our EXS students get involved in as many professional socialization opportunities as possible. It has always been my goal to expose students to exercise science learning opportunities outside the traditional classroom setting. I always say, ‘look around!’ because opportunities are available everywhere.

One particular example of this becomes clear when our students participated in their capstone course, EXS 4960, Applied Experiences in Exercise Science. Although we have had many success stories in this class, I would like to highlight senior exercise science major, Stephanie Carrillo-Chavez ‘17.

Stephanie is currently designing and implementing exercise training two to three times a week at our downtown Lakeland fire station. Before she started working with the firefighters, she completed extensive research on the struggles our first responders face, such as chronic low back pain, reduced mobility, and reduced cardiovascular fitness. She turned her interest into a formal research project and completed multiple tests to determine baseline fitness parameters and to facilitate her exercise program goals for the firefighters.

What’s even more exciting is she presented her information at the Gulf Coast Fitness Expo will do so again at FSC’s Spring Research Colloquium in the spring. I can’t think of a better example of someone who is improving the health and well-being of a population in need – this truly is stewardship in action!

I have also been working with the concept of stewardship and its application to building academic programs in higher education. I have been afforded an opportunity to present a white paper in January in Hawaii on stewardship as it truly encapsulates a core philosophy of the EXS program at Florida Southern.