Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences

Jody Rajcula, Chair
Berkshire 207a, Midtown Campus
(203) 837-8688
(203) 837-8638 (fax)

Denise Donovan, Department Secretary
Berkshire 207b, Midtown Campus
(203) 837-8612
(203) 837-8638 (fax)


J. Rajcula, Chair D. Colaianni J. Schlict
V. Verhoff    

Adjunct Faculty

E. Abrams M. Allen H. Alviti
B. Applebee D. Arifian G. Ashe-Kinney
L. Bayne T. Blood R. Burkhardt
R. Campbell M. Dalton J. DeBenedetto
J. Dreyer L. Fuller A. Heron
T. Hines E. Hollenbeck P. Hull
L. Peterson J. Tedesco  


There are two distinct degree programs within the health promotion and exercise sciences area: one leading to a bachelor of Science degree and teaching certification as a school health educator, and one leading to a bachelor of science degree as a community health educator. Following completion of a bachelor of science in health education or community health, students will be prepared to sit for the national CHES examination (Certified Health Education Specialist - the credential for health educators). Examination sites are located throughout the U.S., including at WCSU. Additionally, a concentration in physical education is offered to students as a minor concentration in health, leisure and fitness (18 credit program) and/or a 17 credit program in coaching foundations for men and women.


The health promotion and exercise sciences department strives to educate all WCSU students about the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices which encourages life-long, optimal health and well-being. The students in our degree programs are additionally prepared for entry-level, certified health education specialist ( CHES) positions in schools and in a wide variety of private and public settings (i.e. corporations, hospitals, community organizations and other multi-public service organizations). In addition to a liberal arts core of courses, students must successfully complete health content courses and teaching methodology, including the use of technology, in order to achieve professional competence as identified by standards set by national credentialing organizations. The focus of studying health promotion and exercise science is to educate students on the importance of a physically active lifestyle, wellness, fitness, healthy leisure time activities, health promotion, health protection and preventive services in schools and the larger global community.

It is the goal of the health promotion and exercise sciences department to be known as the undergraduate program of choice in the region to prepare for careers in school health education, health promotion studies and fitness/leisure activities. The department also strives to be recognized for its scholarship and to provide programs which utilize a holistic, integrated and multidisciplinary approach. Our programs link the education of the mind with opportunities to apply newly learned skills in experiential, cooperative and internship experiences. The multidisciplinary academic program includes courses in health promotion and wellness, psychology, safety and health protection, total fitness, knowledge of and opportunities for healthy leisure activities, nutrition, biology, education, social welfare and politics, and related areas. As such, this holistic approach to healthy living does not focus on illness or specific parts of the body or one facet of community life. It emphasizes the connection and interdependency of the components of individual and community health. These components include environmental, political and economic aspects of health, as well as the physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual elements of well-being.

Program Objectives

The curriculum is driven by competency-based objectives derived from ongoing internal and external program evaluations. Our graduates' performances in pre-professional activities and worksite placements with schools, public and private health agencies, fitness centers and corporations assist in the realization of the department's mission. We strive to meet the educational needs of a diversified student body so that our majors will be prepared to address health education in a global society.

Responsibilities and competencies for community and school health educators have been established by national credentialing organizations. The seven responsibilities that health educators should be prepared to accomplish as a professional are:

1. Assessing individual and community needs for health education.

2. Planning effective health education programs.

3. Implementing health education programs.

4. Evaluating effectiveness of health education programs.

5. Coordinating provisions of health education services.

6. Acting as a resource person in health education.

7. Communicating health and health education needs, concerns, and resources.

To learn more about the competencies visit the web site for The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. at

Degrees and Programs

B.S. Health Education (PreK-12)
B.S. Community Health

Minor Programs

Minor in Fitness, Health and Leisure

Related Programs

Program in Coaching Foundations for Men & Women
General Education Physical Activity Requirement

Bachelor of Science in Health Education


Certification Program for K-12

The teacher education programs at WestConn are rigorous and not all candidates applying for professional program admission are accepted. While students may gain acceptance to the University, those interested in obtaining state teacher's certification (elementary, secondary, music, and health education) must file a separate application for professional program acceptance usually during the second semester of their of the junior year.

Application And Submission Process For Professional Program Acceptance

Applications for professional program acceptance can be obtained at the department of education and educational psychology (WS 249). Before the process of screening for professional program acceptance, applications must be filed with the chair of the education and educational psychology department after consultation with the student's appropriate teacher education advisor.

Criteria For Professional Program Acceptance

Students seeking admission to any of WestConn's teacher education certification programs must have completed and met the following criteria:

1. Candidates must pass a Connecticut state mandated basic skills examination (PRAXIS I) in mathematics, reading and writing, or must obtain a waiver from the State Department of Education by presenting a combined score of 1,100 or more with no less than 450 on either the verbal or math subtest. If the SAT was administered prior to March 31, 1995, the candidate must present a combined score of 1,000 with at least a score of 400 on both the verbal and the math sections. It is the student's responsibility to apply for this waiver. (Students may present a passing score on a similar test for another state with which Connecticut has certification reciprocity agreements). Information concerning the PRAXIS I exam and waiver information is available in the Office of the Dean of Professional Studies, Midtown campus, 123 White Hall, (203-837-8575) or in the education department office, Westside campus, Classroom Building 249 (203-837-8510).

2. Present at least a 2.8 cumulative average for undergraduate courses taken prior to professional program acceptance (approximately 90 credits and reflecting courses in progress). Note: The 2.8 cumulative average requirements is effective for all students, including any change of majors. All work done both at WestConn and other colleges will be considered in the computation of the cumulative grade point average.

Note: Students with less than a cumulative 2.8 grade point average will not be admitted to or retained in the program.

3. Completed the University's general education requirements (42 semester hour minimum) in communications, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences and mathematics/computer science, and physical education, as well as complete a writing intensive course. (Refer to specific teacher education program for which general education courses met their degree program criteria.)

4. Complete with a minimum grade of "C" in the following education courses:

ED 206 Introduction to Education
HPX 215 Health Issues in the Schools (Grades 1-12)
EPY 204 Adolescent Development in School Setting
(for Health, Music, and Secondary Education)

5. Prepare and present an essay demonstrating a command of the English language identifying reasons for wanting to enroll, emphasizing experience relevant to teaching health.

6. Present at least two letters of recommendation from persons outside the University who are able to testify to the candidate's suitability as a prospective teacher.

7. Participate in an interview with teacher education faculty who will assess personal attributes that suggest potential performance as a teacher.

Note: Students may not register for the following courses until they have been formally admitted to the health education program: HPX 460, HPX 464, and ED 340.

8. Students must also complete all general education requirements, the courses and credits listed below and free electives to total a minimum of 125 semester hours, including HPX physical activity requirement.

* PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology
* SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology
BIO 105, 106 Anatomy and Physiology I & II
BIO 215 Microbiology
CHE 120, 121 Survey of Chemistry I (placement exam) & II
* COM 161 Group Process
* ENG Writing Intensive Course (W)
* EPY 204 Adolescent Development in School
* ED 206 Introduction to Education
* ED 340 Assessment of Teaching Strategies
* ED 400 Educational Technology
* EPY 405 Introduction to Special Education
HPX 100 Health Maintenance and Promotion
HPX 160 First Aid & Safety
* HPX 215 Health Issues in the Schools
HPX 230 Drug Studies
* HPX 280 Principles of Health Education
* HPX 310 Methods and Materials in Health Education
* HPX 311 School Health Programs
HPX 464 Student Teaching
* HPX 460 Health Education Student Teaching Seminar
*Minimum of "C" grade required.

Required Course Sequence

Freshman Year
Fall Semester
CHE 120 (Placement Test Required)
HPX 100
** SOC 100
** PSY 100
Gen. Ed. Req.

Spring Semester
CHE 121
** COM 161
** HIS 101
Gen. Ed. Req.

Sophomore Year
Fall Semester
** BIO 105
** ED 206 (Prereq. PSY 100)
** EPY 204
ENG 101 (by Placement or Next Level)
Gen. Ed. Req.

Spring Semester
** BIO 105
** HPX 215
HPX 230
** HPX 280
** Writing Intensive Course "W"
HPX 177

Junior Year
(Note: Students must make official application for junior year status by April 1, sophomore year**)
Fall Semester
HPX 160
** HPX 310
HPX Elective
Gen. Ed. Req.
Elective Course

Spring Semester
BIO 215
HPX Elective
Gen. Ed. Req.
Elective Course

Senior Year
Fall Semester (Professional Semester)
** HPX 311
** ED 400
** EPY 405 (Prereq. EPY 204)
ED 340

9. During the spring semester of senior year, students will enter the student teaching phase of the program. In order to register for student teaching, health education majors must present at least a 2.8 overall average. Students are advised not to register for other courses, except for ED 340, HPX 460 and HPX 464, or be working in other jobs during this semester. A student teaching application (available at the education office), approved by the appropriate health education advisor, must be filed with the chairperson of the education department by May 15 during the semester just prior to the student teaching semester. The student teaching requirement for health education majors consists of one semester. Students are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from their assigned schools.

10. Students earning other than a "P" grade in student teaching may be required to complete additional student teaching and/or course work before receiving a recommendation for graduation and certification. Students must have at least a 2.8 cumulative average in all courses to graduate as a health education major.

11. After completing the academic program and successfully completing student teaching, the PRAXIS II examination must be passed. The PRAXIS II exam tests the essential subject area knowledge unique to each certification teaching area. The Initial Educator Certificate will be issued by the State of Connecticut upon completion of program requirements and the passing of PRAXIS II. All secondary CONNTENT exams are being offered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). ETS utilizes the national teacher examination (PRAXIS) specialty area tests for CONNTENT requirements. Additionally, students are encouraged to sit for the national CHES exam.

Bachelor of Science in Community Health (B.S.)


Completion of all general education requirements, the courses and credits listed below, and free electives to total a minimum of 125 semester hours, including HPX physical activity requirement:

CHE 102 Everyday Chemistry
BIO 105, 106 Anatomy & Physiology I & II
MAT 115 Intro. to Biostatistics, or MAT 120 Elem. Statistics
ENG Writing Intensive Course
COM Communication elective
SW 215 Human Behavior & Social Env.
PSY 218 Principles of Behavior Modification

HPX Requirements

HPX 100 Health Promotion and Maintenance
HPX 201 Community Health (Fall only)
HPX 205 Nutrition and Health
HPX 230 Drug Studies (Spring only)
HPX 253 Concepts of Diseases (Fall only)
HPX 280 Principles of Health Education (Spring only)
HPX 285 Service Learning in Community Health I (Fall only)
HPX 310 Methods & Materials in Health Education (Fall only)
HPX 342 Global Health (Spring only)
HPX 380 Worksite Health (Spring only)
HPX 381 Environment and Health (Fall only)
HPX 385 Service Learning in Comm. Health II (Spring only)
HPX 486 Program Planning and Evaluation (Spring only)
HPX 490 Practicum (Fall only)
HPX 491 Senior Seminar (Fall only)
Note: Community Health education majors are required to maintain a 2.5 average in their academic major.

Required Course Sequence

Freshman Year
Fall Semester
* HPX 100
BIO 105 (Fall only)

Spring Semester
MAT 115 or 120
BIO 106 (Spring only)

Sophomore Year
Fall Semester
* HPX 201 (Fall only)
HPX 253 (Fall only)
* HPX 285 (Fall only)
CHE 102
COM or ENG Elective

Spring Semester
HPX 205
HPX 230 (Spring only)
SW 215
COM or ENG Elective
*HPX 280 (Spring only)

Junior Year
Fall Semester
*HPX 310 (Fall only)
HPX 381 (Fall only) or HPX 380 (Spring only)
HPX Elective

Spring Semester
PSY 218
*HPX 342 Global Health (Spring only)
*HPX 385 (Spring only)
HPX 486 (Spring only)

Senior Year
Fall Semester
HPX 490 (Fall only)
HPX 491 (Fall only)

Spring Semester
Free Electives
* Must be completed prior to HPX 490 and 491.

Minor in Fitness, Health and Leisure

This eighteen (18) semester hour minor introduces the student to the area of physical fitness and health in preparation for entry level positions in corporations, fitness centers and the growing number of institutions concerned with employee well-being.

A fifteen (15) semester hour core of required courses provides a survey of the ideas in the field and an additional three (3) semester hours in health education, fitness education, recreation or dance enables further study in a specific area of a student's choosing.

Required: (15 SH)

HPX 100 Health Maintenance and Promotion
HPX 157 Leisure and Recreation in a Changing Society
HPX 160 First Aid and Safety
HPX 252 Recreation and Leisure Activities
HPX 254 Fitness Seminar and Lab
HPX 405 Field Experience by Arrangement (1 SH)

Select 3 SH from the following electives:
HPX 150 Dance Workshop
HPX 230 Drug Studies
HPX 315 Leisure and Recreation for Special Populations
HPX 325 Business, Industrial and Commercial Fitness and Leisure
HPX 352 Mental Health
HPX 401 Leisure Counseling

Core 15
Elective 3
Total SH 18

Program in Coaching Foundations for Men and Women- 17 SH


General education requirement - 2 SH physical activity courses
Total of 15 SH in concentration

Required Core Courses: (9 SH)

HPX 312 Physical Education Programs in the Modern School
HPX 160 First Aid and Safety
HPX 250 Movement Education
HPX 251 Scientific Foundation of Human Movement
Electives (6 SH)

Select 3 SH from the following:
HPX 150 Dance Workshop
HPX 299 Student Developed Study
HPX 400 Outdoor Education
*Select 3 S.H from HPX Physical Activity Core listing
*A student wishing to pursue the coaching foundations program may substitute varsity and/or approved coaching experience for as many as two activity courses.

General Education Physical Activity Requirement- 2 SH

Refer to physical activity courses (under course descriptions at the back of this catalog) for list of activity courses that satisfy this requirement. Students must take a total of 2 semester hours of activity courses to satisfy general education requirements. Courses beyond the minimum will be credited as free electives. Golf and other courses conducted off-campus, require an extra fee to cover the costs of special personnel and/or facility. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the off-campus sites.

Students fulfilling varsity team requirements shall receive .5 semester hours of physical activity credit. A maximum of one point is acceptable for general education credit. Because of the physical demands of activity courses offered at WestConn, students are strongly urged to have a physical examination prior to registering for these courses. Since part-time students are not covered by University accident insurance, part-time students are strongly urged to carry accident insurance.

Agencies used for Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences and Community Health Field Placements

AIDS Project, Danbury CT
Alternative Incarceration Center, Danbury, CT
American Red Cross, Danbury CT
American Red Cross, Waterbury, CT
Bethel Health Dept., Bethel, CT
Brewster Athletic Club, Brewster, NY
Birth Partners Labor Assistants, Naugatuck, CT
Cardinal Hayes Home for Children, Millbrook, NY
CHHA - CT Holistic Health Association, West Hartford, CT
Danbury Children First Initiative, Danbury, CT
Danbury Health Care Affiliates, DHCA, Danbury, CT
Danbury Hospital, Danbury, CT
Danbury Dept. of Health and Housing, Danbury, CT
Danbury School System Danbury, CT
Danbury High School Roberts Ave. School
Hayestown Ave. School Danbury Youth Services, Danbury, CT
Danbury Visiting Nurses Assoc., Danbury, CT
DATAHR, Brookfield, CT
Row Chemical Corporation, Fitness Center, Danbury, CT
Devereux Glenhome School, Washington, CT
Filosa Nursing Home, Danbury, CT
Green Chimneys, Good Friends, Danbury CT
Hancock Hall, Danbury, CT
Harambee Center, Danbury, CT
Heal the Children, New Milford, CT
HealthQuest, Danbury, CT
Health South, Danbury CT
Hispanos Unidos Contra El Sida, New Haven, CT
Human Resource Development Agency, Naugatuck, CT
Interfaith AIDS Ministry of Danbury, Danbury, CT
Just for Women, Waterbury, CT
Laurel Ridge Nursing Home, Ridgefield, CT
National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD), New Fairfield, CT
New Fairfield H.S., New Fairfield, CT
New Milford H.S., New Milford, CT
New Milford senior Center, New Milford, CT
Newtown Youth Services, Newtown, CT 06470
Northwest CT AIDS Project, Torrington, CT
Planned Parenthood, Danbury, CT
Pitney Bowes Corporate Fitness Center, Danbury, CT
Region #15, Pomperaug High School, Southbury, CT
Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club, Ridgefield, CT
Rockland County Dept. of Health, New City, NY
Regional Hospice of Western CT, Danbury, CT
Salvation Army, Danbury, CT
St. Mary's Hospital, Waterbury, CT
Sun Family Outreach Program, Meriden, CT
The Nat'l Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine, Brewster, NY
Town of Kent, Environmental Protection, Kent, CT
Union Carbide, Occupational Health, Danbury, CT
United Way of Western CT, Danbury, CT
War Memorial, Danbury, CT
Waterbury Health Dept., Waterbury, CT
Western Connecticut State University, V-DAY Project,
Until Violence Stops, Danbury, CT
Women's Center, Danbury, CT
Women, Infant and Children, WIC, Danbury, CT
Youth Action Programs & Homes, Inc., NY, NY
YMCA, Waterbury, CT


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