Staff Editorial: HP 200 needs change

NW Staff

Every student on campus probably knows about HP 200. It’s the one-credit Health Promotions class – Physical Well Being – that NMU students are required to take in order to graduate. The concept is that the class will give students a working knowledge of physical wellness, while allowing them to assess their own and improve on it.

HP 200, however, fails to meet this goal.

The homework in the class is based on a set of textbook-provided labs that students must complete. By doing these labs, students are supposed to have the opportunity to assess their own physical well-being. The class usually requires that the labs be done at home and turned in to the professor – sometimes on the final day of class. If this process wasn’t hands-off enough already, the amount of lab feedback varies widely by instructor and is, at times, nonexistent.

Sadly, these labs replace real one-on-one time between students and their instructors, time which should be spent helping students evaluate their health. And this time can’t really be too hard to find, for professors or students. In nearly every writing class offered on campus, professors are able to have meetings with students to talk about their work – can it really be this difficult for HP 200?

On top of the time issue, Northern fails to devote the resources and staff required to make the class beneficial. Of the 21 sections of HP 200 being offered this semester, the same associate HPER professor teaches three. Adjunct faculty and graduate teaching assistants teach the remaining 18 sections.

Rather than being aided by a professor solely dedicated to the task at hand, students are left with graduate teaching assistants and adjunct faculty members, both of whom have other schooling and classes of their own to worry about, as well. This combination leads to a classroom filled with people who simply don’t want to be there.

Six of the sections are being offered solely over the Internet. This clearly limits the amount of physical activity in the class. And even if the course is held in a classroom, professors who want the class to do some sort of physical work often have trouble securing exercise time in the Dome.

If the university truly values the idea of HP 200 enough to make it a required class, they should treat it as such. Not only should NMU provide several health professors who are committed to actually assisting students in matters of their own health, they should also make sure that the classes have access to the on-campus facilities, such as the Dome.