The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.


EFFORTS to provide physical education for men at the University of Michigan began in the 1860's. In December, 1868, President Haven presented a petition signed by 250 students "praying for the establishment of a gymnasium" (R.P., 1864-70, p. 312). In September, 1869, the following resolution was adopted by the Board:

Resolved, That the University Senate be requested to examine and report to the Board in regard to the propriety of establishing a Gymnasium in connection with the University, … also in regard to the relation which it shall hold to the University Course, if so established; and to collect information and present their views respecting the entire subject of introducing Gymnastic Exercises as a part of a course of Education.

(R.P., 1864-70, p. 376.)
After making a study of certain Eastern colleges and universities which already had gymnasiums and the effects of gymnastics upon the scholarship and the physical condition of the students, the Senate, in 1870, reported:

A vast expansion of the scope of our American college system is the characteristic educational fact of the last fifteen years. One very important direction in which this recent enlargement has shown itself, is toward systematic physical culture, as a regular part of the work of a college course …; There is no other spectacle of a want of symmetry in the development of a human being so glaring and so painful as that of a cultivated mind inhabiting a neglected, feeble and incompetent body. And the declaration is confirmed by the fact that the principal modern writers on education — Roger Ascham, Bacon, Cowley, Milton, Locke, Rousseau, Dr. Arnold, Horace Mann, and Herbert Spencer — have insisted upon the equal rights and the equal needs of the body and the mind, with reference to systematic training. Yet, in America fifteen years ago, no contrast could have been greater than that which was presented between theory and practice upon the subject. All our educational authorities sanctioned physical culture; and all our educational institutions neglected it.

(R.P., 1870-76, p. 7.)

The Senate thereupon recommended the establishment of a Department of Hygiene and Physical Culture, the construction of a gymnasium to cost about $25,000, and the appointment of a professor to be in charge of the new department. It was also recommended that attendance at the gymnasium be optional but that those students who did participate should pay a fee of $2.00 to $3.00 a year "to meet operating costs until Page  1982either by private munificence or by state endowment the expenses of the department should be otherwise provided for." Apparently, no steps were taken by the Regents to carry out these recommendations.

Finally, in 1878, an earlier Football Association was reorganized by the students as the Athletic Association of the University, an incorporated society with its main objective the raising of money for the gymnasium. When, after many years of student effort, the money was turned over to the University in 1894, the total was only about $6,000. In 1879 the University once more took the initiative. In his report to the Regents for that year, President Angell stated: "A well-equipped gymnasium is … much needed. It would not only contribute to the physical well being of the students, but would also confer indirectly both intellectual and moral good. The health and consequently the intellectual and moral vigor of not a few of our students suffers from the lack of sufficient … exercise" (R.P., 1876-81, p. 419).

In 1880 President Frieze urged the Regents to take steps in this direction:

Among the wants recognized by the University … is that of a gymnasium for the promotion of the physical development and health of the students… A sound mind without the sound body loses half of its efficiency. For several years our students … have been making earnest and commendable efforts to raise the funds necessary for the erection and equipment of a suitable building. But the opportunities within the reach of students for creating such a fund, are exceedingly limited; and they cannot hope, without assistance, to raise the requisite amount. The struggle which they are making deserves our hearty sympathy.

(R.P., 1876-81, p. 585.)

In 1885 the faculty of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts asked the legislature for an appropriation for this purpose, but five years later, in October, 1890, President Angell was still pointing out the urgent need for a gymnasium. By this time it was clear that it was useless to expect any assistance from the legislature. The first real help toward the gymnasium came in January, 1891, when Joshua W. Waterman, of Detroit, contributed $20,000 with the provision that a like amount be raised from other sources. The Senate took charge of the fund-raising campaign, and a student committee was appointed to help in the drive. By April, 1891, $20,182 had been collected. Plans were drawn, and the cost of construction was estimated at $60,000 rather than the $40,000 on hand. Work on the building began in April, 1892. Progress was slow owing to the shortage of money and materials. The University finally appropriated University funds in order to complete the building. The J-Hop of April, 1893, marked the informal opening of the gymnasium. It was not until October, 1894, that the gymnasium was equipped and ready for classes. Final cost of construction was $65,134.

The required program. — Dr. James B. Fitzgerald became the first Director of Waterman Gymnasium in 1894, and Keene Fitzpatrick, who was appointed Instructor in the same year, became Acting Director in 1899 and Director in 1904. In the year 1901 George A. May, M.D., a graduate of Yale University, came to Michigan as Fitzpatrick's assistant, with the title of Instructor in Physical Education. Dr. May was officially appointed Director of Waterman Gymnasium in March, 1910. He held this position until 1942. He was a well-known personality on the campus and was familiarly called "Doc" by the students who had passed through his gymnastic classes.

Gymnasium classes were formed in 1894-95 for those who wished to attend, but no credit was given for the work. In Page  19831898, however, a resolution was passed by the Regents making gymnastics compulsory for the freshman class of the Literary and Engineering departments. The 1901-2 Calendar announced: "Work in the gymnasium, twice a week, is required of first year students [who] … are expected to report to the Director … between October 1 and October 26 for physical examination and assignment to sections" (Cal., 1901-2, p. 113).

By 1917, however, the following information concerning facilities and physical training for men was given in the Catalogue.

Waterman Gymnasium affords excellent opportunity for all phases of gymnastic and indoor athletic activities. The main floor is a rectangle 246 by 90 feet, with truncated corners, allowing if desired a 75-yard straight away sprinting track. There is also a dirt pit for jumping and shot putting, covered by a trap door when not in use, as well as equipment of the various kinds of apparatus usually found in the best modern gymnasiums. Several smaller rooms are devoted to administration, fencing, boxing and other special purposes, while the basement is given to baths, lockers, handball, shotput, and a rifle range… A gallery makes room for an elliptical running track, ten laps to the mile.

Before beginning gymnasium work each student receives a thorough physical examination, in order to eliminate those who are not physically capable of doing the regular class work. Every student examined is measured and furnished with an anthropometric chart, which affords a comparison of his own measurements with those of the average student and reveals for correction any abnormality that may be present. A second measurement is made after the class work is finished, in order to note what changes have taken place.

The compulsory work in Physical Training is planned to produce uniform development, which is of the greatest importance; … Credit toward the requirement in physical training is given for outdoor sports in season, … After the close of the season for these sports, students participating in them just report for regular indoor work. An outdoor running track has been constructed adjacent to the gymnasium, in order to secure outdoor running when weather conditions permit.

(Catalogue, 1917-18, pp. 134-35.)
The nature of the formal program of that time is revealed in this description of facilities and equipment.

By 1920-21 the program still consisted of gymnastics, track events, fencing, boxing, wrestling, and rugged outdoor sports such as football and cross-country running. Attendance was required at lectures in personal hygiene, which were added in the fall of that year. In 1925 the students in the required program were classified in four groups: those who were qualified for active practice sessions in the various freshman sports, those who passed efficiency tests and were capable of doing more advanced work, those in the regular physical education classes, and those who needed special corrective work. Students in the regular physical education classes had calisthenics, apparatus work, tumbling, and mass athletics.

Until the late 1920's the program was very formal. In the past quarter of a century, however, physical exercise and recreation have reflected the basic changes in American attitude. After World War I, physical training was advocated as a solution to the unfitness of American youth for war, which the draft statistics had disclosed. In time there was a trend away from strenuous, disciplined exercise and toward voluntary participation in the more enjoyable forms of sport:

In the University … the required physical training program for freshmen was enthusiastically promoted; yet fifteen years later, its organization was at a minimum level whereas the recreational [intramural] sports program was enjoying increased facilities, staff, and general popularity. The recreational program, of course, was not generally Page  1984concerned with developmental exercises and strenuous training. It is true that in varsity athletics, where there is a strong conditioning emphasis and regularity of participation, the number of sports as well as the number of men in each sport increased to some extent; yet the total varsity participation still did not exceed one-tenth of the University male population.

("Report Concerning Physical Education at the University of Michigan," Bell, Mitchell, Crisler. 1945.)

In 1925 the University was stirred to action concerning the student's bodily training and development. Therefore, the Day Committee was appointed in May, 1925, to consider the "place and function of varsity athletics in University life … and to analyze the required physical education program." The final outcome of the Day report resulted in the building of the football Stadium, the Sports Building, the Women's Athletic Building, and Palmer Field. Instruction in the required program for men continued to be given in Waterman Gymnasium. The Day report has remained as an outstanding example of a scholarly and statesmanlike attitude of the faculty toward the proper place of physical education and athletics in University life.

In 1932 a new committee was appointed by the University Council to investigate the place of physical education in the University and the immediate problems in this field. More specifically the committee was expected to determine the requirements in physical education, to express an opinion as to whether the separate schools of the University should determine requirements, and to make recommendations in view of the evidence gathered. The trend away from formalized activities to sports was apparent when the committee recommended voluntary play in place of required exercise and advised that the latter should be maintained at a minimum.

At this time all departments of the University with the exception of Oral Hygiene and Military Science required one year of physical education. Since 1928 military drill has been accepted in place of the physical education requirement. The objectives of physical education as reported by the 1932 committee, with Nathan Sinai as chairman, were to promote and maintain proper growth and development, to improve neuromuscular control, to provide corrective work, and to develop individual interest in physical education so that later life leisure time might be served. The recommendations of this committee included the following: the one-year requirement, thirty periods of selected activity, special requirements for varsity work, military drill, band members, and employed students, and a clarification of the organization of physical education at the University. This report resulted in a decision to the effect that the physical education requirement would be determined by the separate schools and that greater freedom would be permitted in the election of activities in the second semester. The Catalogue for 1932 stated that after spring recess "students … could select any outdoor or indoor activity for which facilities are furnished, namely, golf, tennis, swimming, baseball, softball, track and field, gymnasium activities, wrestling, boxing, fencing, handball, and squash." By 1939 the student was permitted to select activities in the first semester as well as in the second. Boxing, wrestling, basketball, track and field, fencing, and gymnastics were offered. In the second semester he was permitted a choice of badminton, volleyball, golf, handball, fencing, boxing, wrestling, gymnastics, and basketball.

With World War II, physical fitness became of paramount importance. The Regents, in May, 1942, adopted the following Page  1985program for the emergency period:

A physical conditioning non-credit course conforming to Army and Navy requirements, especially designed to fit students for services in the Armed Forces, beginning June 15, 1942. … This … course shall consist of three one and one-half hour periods per week … [and] shall be supplemented by corrective exercise where necessary.

As a condition to continued attendance at the University, the above physical training course is required of students who, at the beginning of a particular term, are (a) registered under the Selective Service Act or (b) enrolled in special enlistment programs. … This course may be substituted by the student for the present required course in physical education.

Each period of one and one-half hours is divided into two forty-five minute sections for mass activities and for individual activities. The mass activities program consists of calisthenics, games, relays, obstacle racing, and individual and mass combative exercises. The individual program includes boxing, gymnastics, wrestling, track and field, and games. All students are required to pass the standard Navy swimming test.

(Announcement, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, 1942-43, pp. 226-29.)

In order to carry out this program a complete change of departmental procedure was necessary. Only those activities which emphasized physical conditioning and the building of self-confidence were selected. The students were enthusiastic about the program and indicated a desire for postwar physical education along similar lines. As a result, in March, 1944, a committee was appointed by Herbert O. Crisler, Director of Physical Education and Athletics, to recommend a new physical education plan. The committee centered its attention on the required work, with the realization that the program should emphasize the individual rather than mass needs and that physical education should be an integral part of a University education.

The report, completed in October, 1945, stated that in 1938-39, of twenty-five universities surveyed by McCristal and Miller (McCristal and Miller, pp. 70-80), seventeen had a requirement of two or more years and that seventeen gave credit for physical education. The University ranked in the lowest quarter of this survey with respect to credit and requirement because Michigan did not give credit and required only one year of work. The committee made an intensive study of the program as it was before the war and of the emergency program which replaced it, and as a result the following recommendations were made: that the requirement, to become effective in October, 1946, be increased to six semesters, that credit be given for physical education, that a continuous program of research be established, and that steps be taken to secure adequate facilities and staff. No undergraduate was to be excused from physical education and, although special consideration would be given war veterans they, too, would be subject to the requirement. It was recommended that physical education be integrated with the other units of the University, that the program be centered around the needs of the individual and that counseling service be provided, and that the required program, intramural sports, and varsity athletics be integrated so that the various staffs could most fully serve the individual student. It was also recommended that the intercollegiate competitive program be broadened in order to accommodate more men and that extramural sports days be encouraged and planned.

No faculty action was taken to put the 1945 committee's recommendations into effect. The present-day curriculum in the required physical education program falls short of the proposed 1945 plan. Nevertheless, under the direction of Mr. Page  1986Howard Leibee, who was placed in charge of the Required Program in the fall of 1945, considerable progress toward the ideal curriculum has been achieved. Since 1945, when conditions have warranted it, new courses have been added. The curriculum has become much more flexible, permitting election of physical education activities that have a carry-over, life-long value. Progression in the instruction has been emphasized, too, so that students who choose certain sports may find advanced instruction available to them. Because of the complete coverage of the program, comprising activities for the handicapped as well as for all levels of physical fitness and skill, there is no need for exemptions from the requirement, as was frequently the case.

Despite the increasing enrollment of freshman students, every effort has been made to keep the classes small and the instruction as individualized as possible. A number of graduate students who have had special experience in sports are utilized as teaching fellows. The twenty courses offered, with several sections available in popular activities such as golf, tennis, and swimming include: Developmental Activities, Swimming (beginning and intermediate), Life Saving, Diving, Badminton, Basketball, Self-Defense (boxing, wrestling, and hand-to-hand), Golf, Softball, Fencing (beginning and intermediate), Trampolining and Gymnastic Activities, Individual Exercises, Tennis (beginning and intermediate), Squash, Weight Lifting, Fly and Bait Casting, Ice and Figure Skating, Bowling, Square and Social Dancing (Co-recreational), and Sports Survey.

At present all of the courses in the required physical education curriculum are activity courses with the exception of PEM 60, a sports survey course, especially for students who for medical reasons are unable to participate in physical activity. This unique course acquaints the student with theories, techniques, and practices utilized in sports activities suitable to his professional field. It deals with the place of sports in our social, economic, and educational life and emphasizes safety principles as applied to sports activities.

All students are required to have a health examination before attending the first class. During the year physical fitness tests and motor-skill tests are given, and advisory follow-up work is undertaken. All students failing to pass the swimming test must elect Beginning Swimming. At the end of the semester the students are graded upon their physical proficiency, knowledge of sports, attitude, and progress in improvement.

Intramural Sports

Before 1912 there was no central organization to promote sports for the general student body, so the students of their own accord began to rally around specific units. Teams were organized representing the different colleges and schools, and games were played between them. The Michigan Alumnus for February, 1912, stated: "Twenty games between the Laws, Engineers, Homeops, Lits, and a combined team known as the Sciences, from the Dental, Medical and Pharmacy Departments, made up the interdepartment schedule of hockey games held during January." And the Michigan Daily for October 3, 1913, reported: "The First Annual All-Comers Championship Tennis Tournament for the title of the campus will start on the Ferry Field Courts today, with thirty-two contestants entered."

In this way an embryo intramural program developed which became more and more student controlled. Finally, however, Page  1987it grew too large to be handled without a stronger and more permanent centralized authority. The Men's Athletic Association, which had permitted the use of its fields and other facilities, realized that some form of control would be necessary. Thus, in the fall of 1912 Prentiss Douglas, a member of the football coaching staff, was appointed half-time to take charge of intramural athletics, which consisted, actually, of interclass sports. An article by T. Hawley Tapping, at that time a staff member of the Michigan Daily, is herewith quoted: "In the school year of 1912-13, the department of intramural activities was first created. Prentiss Douglas, this fall the coach of the freshman football team, was made the director … and it was a success from the very first."

The University of Michigan thus became the first educational institution to appoint a coach to direct its intramural program. This move toward a unified system was helpful to the Men's Athletic Association because it permitted direct control over space and equipment. The fields and courts were assigned impartially and without confusion, the games were better supervised, and any loss or damage to equipment could easily be traced. Under Douglas' direction the intramural program was expanded and improved. Greater interest developed in interclass competition and in promoting the physical welfare of the students; enrollment increased in sports, and the value of the new branch in college athletics was recognized.

The following year (1913-14) Floyd Rowe ('08e), who was appointed Intramural Director on a full-time basis, established procedures which were to continue for many years. Records show that some two thousand students took part in thirteen sports programs. The use of the word "intramural" in this sense is credited to Allen S. Whitney of the School of Education and a member of the Board in Control of Athletics.

Owing to the pressure of World War I, the work was largely superseded by military activities in 1917-18. It was reorganized in 1919 with Elmer Dayton Mitchell ('12, Ph.D. '38) as Director. Increased enrollment and the impetus given to athletics by the war caused an immediate increase in intramural participation. Fourteen sports made up the program at that time. The fraternity sports program and the all-year point system were established, and, with the growth of intramural athletics at this and other Western Conference schools, the first meeting of the Western Conference Intramural Directors took place in 1920. This group, which has continued to the present time, has had much to do with the development of the program throughout the country.

In the fall of 1921 the department was transferred from the Athletic Association to the Division of Hygiene, Public Health, and Physical Education (P.R., 1921-22, pp. 153-54). A substantial increase in its budget also resulted. With increased facilities provided from inter-collegiate athletic funds, it was now possible for the students to take part in informal sports participation, whereas previously participation had been confined to organized athletic competition. As a result, the name of the department was changed from Intramural Athletics to the more inclusive title of Intramural Sports.

In 1921-22 the game of speedball was introduced by Professor Mitchell as a substitute for football, which was proving too hazardous for untrained players without adequate protective equipment. The game combined the outstanding features of soccer, basketball, and football. In 1941-42 the popular game of touch football was added. Softball, introduced in 1922-23, was readily accepted because Page  1988it required a small area of playing space and little equipment. Practice was held to a minimum. The game has continued on the program to the present time.

The construction of Yost Field House (the first field house in the country), which was opened in 1923, aided in the development of intramural athletics. Varsity activities were removed from Waterman Gymnasium, thus freeing its facilities to a great extent for use by intramural sports. Over the years the Field House also has been the scene of many intramural events, particularly indoor track and field.

Another administrative change took place in 1926, when intramural sports and the programs in physical education for both men and women were placed under the jurisdiction of the newly created Board in Control of Athletics (R.P., 1923-26, pp. 868-71). The greatest stimulus to the intramural program, however, came in 1927-28 with the construction of the magnificent new Sports Building. Owing largely to Fielding H. Yost's enthusiasm and his belief in and support of "athletics for all," the building was opened in October, 1928, the first university-owned structure in the nation devoted primarily to intramural sports (see Part VIII: The Athletic Plant). Open House was held on March 21, 1929. A program, built around winter sports, has continued as an annual event. Many championships and exhibitions are held, and instructional clinics are conducted by outstanding sports figures.

Faculty members were quick to take advantage of the fine facilities at the Sports Building, and in 1929-30 a number of tournaments were conducted for them. A favorite game is water polo, which was introduced in 1925 when the Michigan Union swimming pool was opened. The game is played during the noon hour, with the participants going to the Michigan Union for luncheon immediately after the game. The game of paddleball invented by Earl Riskey, a departmental staff member, was added in 1930-31. This game, which is similar to squash, is played with a wooden paddle in a handball court under handball rules. It has continued on the program to the present time.

In 1933-34 the federal government inaugurated a program of federal aid under F.E.R.A. (Federal Emergency Relief Administration, later N.Y.A.), which provided aid for students on jobs not already held by salaried workers. The program made a definite contribution to intramural athletics at Michigan because it augmented opportunities for student teachers and made possible the repair and addition of facilities. The Board in Control of Athletics was changed to the Board in Control of Physical Education in 1934-35 (R.P., 1932-36, pp. 297-98).

A new emphasis developed in 1935 on recreation as a valuable contribution to the wise use of leisure time and on sports which had a "carry-over" value. Students were urged to take part in golf, badminton, bowling, tennis, swimming, handball, squash, paddleball, skating, and the like. It was recognized at this time that impromptu play was just as important in the intramural program as organized competition, and a program of instruction was set up for those who wanted to participate.

Before 1937-38 graduate students competed with undergraduates. In this year a separate division was created which gave the graduate student an opportunity to compete in intramural sports.

The completion of the West Quadrangle resulted in competition between Residence Halls. The program was inaugurated in 1939-40, and the seven Page  1989houses in the Quadrangle participated enthusiastically. At the end of the school year an athletic banquet to which intramural participants were invited was held, thus setting the pattern for future residence halls groups. The facilities of the Sports Building were made available each Friday evening for a corecreation program, and men and women students engaged in volleyball, badminton, basketball, paddleball, squash, and swimming. This program has continued to be popular.

The year 1939-40 also saw the first attempt at a recreation program for foreign students. There was team competition in soccer and volleyball, and individual tournaments in badminton and tennis. A special open house was held at the International Center at which time various championships were played, and students gave exhibitions of the various sports and recreations of their own countries. In 1953 the game of cricket was added for the benefit of the foreign students. It is interesting to note that cricket was originally responsible for the University's first official recognition of athletics. In 1865 the Regents appropriated $50 in order to prepare "a suitable place on the grounds for the use of the University Cricket Clubs" (R.P., 1867-70, p. 95).

The East Quadrangle program got under way in 1941 with the opening of the first three of the houses. Under this new organization, Quad champions chosen in each sport met the West Quad winners for the residence halls championship.

During World War II the Department of Physical Education for Men conducted a physical conditioning noncredit course especially designed to prepare students for service in the Armed Forces. The intramural, athletic, and physical education facilities were made available, and programs were carried on for Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. For this special instruction a physical fitness test was given, and students were placed in special groups in accordance with their scores. The year 1943-44 saw a curtailment of the intramural program owing to the emphasis placed on physical conditioning and military skills during the war.

The Board in Control of Physical Education became the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics in 1942 (R.P., 1939-42, pp. 859-61). Professor Elmer Mitchell was appointed chairman of the Department of Physical Education for Men, and Earl N. Riskey, working under his direction, was placed in charge of intramural sports.

In 1945 the University acquired Willow Village, a former war workers' housing unit, and in 1946 the Department of Physical Education for Men inaugurated a temporary intramural program for students in residence there. Rodney J. Grambeau, who joined the intramural staff in 1947, was put in charge of the work.

A full-scale intramural program was resumed in 1947-48. A competitive program for faculty members, set up in 1948-49, was expanded the following year when some 150 faculty members competed with the same number of students in six sports. The faculty won, and this event has been continued every year.

When the South Quadrangle was opened in 1951, seven houses took part in the first program for that group. With this, the third Quad, the Residence Halls program attained second place in the all-intramural program with a total of twenty units. Only the social fraternity division, which had forty units, was larger.

The unprecedented growth of student enrollment places an ever-constant burden upon the intramural program to provide adequate facilities for an "athletics for all" program. This need is recognized Page  1990and is partly being met by new additions of athletic fields, such as Wines Field, which is lighted at night to take care of the increased number of teams, and by the addition of the old varsity swimming pool, which, since the new varsity pool has been completed, has been turned over completely for classes and intramural recreation. The University has taken cognizance of future needs by acquiring lands adjacent to the new North Campus for recreational use.

Professional Preparation of Teachers

At the March, 1920, meeting of the Board of Regents, President Burton presented a communication from the Michigan State Department of Public Instruction with respect to the preparation of teachers in the field of physical education. A year later, the Board took the following action establishing a Department of Physical Education:

There is hereby created and established a University Department of Physical Education.

This Department shall be put in charge of some person to be chosen by the Board of Regents who shall have the rank, privileges, and duties of a full professor and hold the title of Director of Physical Education …

The Director … shall be in primary charge of all athletic fields for men and women, of both gymnasiums, … of all sports, indoor, outdoor, intercollegiate, and intramural. He shall … by virtue of his position … be a member of, and Chairman of the present Board in Control of Outdoor Athletics, … All trainers, coaches, and assistant coaches … shall be appointed by the Board in Control of Outdoor Athletics on the recommendation of the Director of Physical Education.

(R.P., 1920-23, pp. 120-21.)

President Burton outlined a plan, which the Regents approved, for the projected department, and with Regent Murfin he was empowered to work out detailed arrangements, including the making of appointments. The resolution creating the Department of Physical Education was then rescinded because the matter was referred to a committee which recommended instead the establishment of two departments:

  • (1) We recommend [that] there be established two departments: (a) A University Department of Hygiene and Public Health including a Department of Physical Education. (b) A Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
  • (2) The man chosen to be in charge of the first-named department shall be given the title of Director of University Hygiene and Public Health and shall have professional rank. He shall be Professor of Hygiene and Public Health in the Medical School, shall have supervision of the University Health Service, of all gymnasiums, and of intramural activities…
  • (3) Intercollegiate Athletics shall be placed in charge of a man to have the title of Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. He shall be chosen by the Board of Regents…
  • (4) Assistants connected with the School of Education shall be nominated to the Board of Regents, through the Dean of the School of Education and President of the University.

(R.P., 1920-23, pp. 203-4.)

The appointment of Fielding H. Yost as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics was announced in June, 1921, and that of Dr. John Sundwall as Director of the Department of Hygiene and Public Health, including Physical Education, in September of the same year.

The four-year curriculum. — The new four-year curriculum inaugurated in the fall of 1921 was aimed to meet the demands for competent young men and women to supervise the physical health of children in the public schools, to provide recreation for growing youth, and to instruct prospective coaches in scientific methods of training school teams. It Page  1991also endeavored to provide training in physical education for high-school teachers and principals and school superintendents. The course was so constructed as to combine general education with specialized training in two lines: (1) that which included gymnastics, play, and games for persons of all ages and the program of recreation and health for young people; and (2) that of athletic training which would fit the prospective candidate to train scientifically the school teams in various branches of competitive sports, to give instruction in skilled methods of play, and to build up a competitive but friendly rivalry with other schools. Instruction was provided by the School of Education, the Department of Hygiene and Public Health, and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Provision was made for directed teaching to be given during the junior and senior years, and for the student to give instruction in gymnasium and intramural activities.

A plan presented by Dean J. R. Effinger of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, recommending that courses for athletic coaches be given in the summer session, was inaugurated in 1922 under the sponsorship of the School of Education. In the following year credit was given for the course.

In 1923-24 Fielding H. Yost and George Little were appointed Professor and Associate Professor, respectively, of the Theory and Practice of Athletic Coaching. Courses covering the school program in physical education, graded play and games, organization and administration, first aid, and practical hygiene were offered. A bulletin on Physical Education, Athletics, and School Health was published in 1922, stating the objective of the course to be the preparation of the student to enable him to assume the duties of a director of physical education and school health. The objectives were the same for men and women, with the exception of coaching. The student was trained to conduct physical examinations and gymnastic activities, to teach health education, to advise concerning the location and planning of the gymnasium, playground, athletic field, and equipment, to advise concerning heating, lighting, ventilation, and sanitation of school buildings, to direct playground activities, to provide health education and recreational training for teachers, to coach or supervise coaching of football, baseball, track, and swimming, and to assume responsibilities for the business management of various teams.

Subjects comprising the curriculum were organized into four groups, the first of which included rhetoric, chemistry, sociology, public speaking, educational psychology, educational administration, vocational guidance, and secondary education. The second group consisted of subjects selected to acquaint the student with the normal processes of the body, such as zoology, anatomy, general physiology, applied physiology, with particular reference to nutrition, metabolism, growth, neuromuscular physiology, exercise, fatigue, and rest. In the third group were courses designed to familiarize the student with the fundamentals of mental hygiene, bacteriology, introductory hygiene, physical reconstruction, school health problems, communicable disease control, first aid, and sex hygiene. Group four included subjects designed to prepare the student to organize and supervise the various interests and activities in physical education and athletics. Kinesiology, community play, history and principles of physical education, and the theory of administration of physical education were included.

After the reorganization of departments in 1923-24, the professional program in Physical Education, Athletics, Page  1992and School Health was known as Department "F" of the School of Education. Actions were taken to meet the need for trained personnel in these fields. In the University Catalogue for 1924 the following statement by Dr. Sundwall appeared: "In order to meet the need for well-trained instructors and supervisors, the universities and colleges are instituting courses in physical education. The physical instructor should have academic and professional training equal in every respect to that of general educators… The physical educator by virtue of his training, his ideals, and importance of his work becomes an integral part of the faculty."

The change in the requirements of the School of Education, as made by the Board in 1925, provided that, beginning in October, 1927, the student should have junior standing and 25 per cent more honor points than hours, except for those students who entered the four-year curriculum in physical education. At the same meeting requirements for graduation were changed to 124 semester hours and 25 per cent more honor points than hours of credit. Since that time the student pursuing the four-year curriculum in physical education has had to meet the same requirements for graduation as have other students in the School of Education. The entrance requirement for the four-year curriculum differed from that of other departments in the School of Education because students majoring in physical education were admitted in the freshman year, yet the number of academic hours and honor points required for graduation was the same.

The following faculty members have served as chairman of the departmental program: Dean Allen S. Whitney (1922-27), Dr. John Sundwall (1927-30), Dean James B. Edmonson (1930-36), Professor Laurie Campbell (1945-48), Dr. Margaret Bell (1942-45; 1951-54), and Professor Elmer D. Mitchell (1936-42; 1948-51; 1954-57).

Graduate curriculum. — The graduate curriculum for teachers was introduced in 1931 with three sequences available: administration, supervision, and teaching. Dr. Jackson Sharman, who had previously been state director of physical education in Alabama and had just received his Ph.D. degree from Columbia University, was appointed to take charge of the new graduate work. He remained until 1938, when he accepted the position of head of the Physical Education Department at the University of Alabama. From 1938 the graduate teaching, including the direction of theses, was shared by qualified members of the staff working under the direction of the elected chairman of Department "F."

A sequence in school health education was inaugurated in 1932 in co-operation with the Division of Hygiene and Public Health, and in 1936-37 a fifth sequence leading to the master of arts degree in education was approved. The requirements for this degree included twenty-four semester hours of work and a thesis. In 1937-38 the enrollment of undergraduates totaled 126, of which 71 were men. The number of graduate students had more than doubled since 1936-37, with 82 enrolled. A program leading to the Ph.D. or Ed.D. degree was established in 1938 (see Part VI: The School of Education).

By 1939, 220 men and 165 women had received the undergraduate degree. Undergraduate minors in school health and in physical education were introduced in 1937. An increasing graduate enrollment was apparent over the five-year period from 1936-37 to 1940-41. From a total of 33 men and women it rose to 174. By August, 1949, a study showed that 291 men and women had received master's degrees in education, with specialization Page  1993in health, physical education, and recreation. Since then, with the postwar G.I. influx and the increased college enrollment, the number has greatly increased, and, each year, in addition, some twenty to thirty doctoral applicants and candidates are working on their requirements.

After World War II there was an unprecedented enrollment in the professional curriculum, particularly on the graduate level. There was a dearth of teachers for the many positions that were open, and many of the service men who had worked in physical training and recreation programs of the U. S. Army, Navy, and Air Force were eager to resume their educational preparation and were enabled to do so financially by the provisions of the G.I. bill. In particular, the demand for graduate work increased heavily, and new sequences of study were added to those already established to take care of the new needs in recreation (community, industrial, agency, and hospital), in camping (with new emphasis on school camping and outdoor education), and on safety education (with emphasis on life saving, liability, and driver education). Enactments by the state legislature enhanced the interest in these new areas of instruction. A noticeable trend in education, which greatly affected physical education, was the demand for the master's degree. Many large cities and some states insisted on the master's degree as a requisite for teaching in high schools.

With this development the Department of Physical Education was called upon to introduce Saturday classes and Extension classes for teachers in service. This need has been met correspondingly as it has developed, and the trend has now developed similarly in the direction of the doctoral degree. The great increase in the size of college and university staffs, because of the current expansion of student enrollment, partly accounts for this growth, but there are other factors as well. The new community college movement is one — it creates a demand for teachers with higher degrees. Also, a number of state departments of education and large city departments have created supervisory and co-ordinating positions which call for more than the usual amount of academic preparation.

Research. — With the appointment of Paul Hunsicker in 1949-50, it was possible for the department to emphasize experimental research. Before this time graduate research had been mainly of a philosophical, historical, observational, and survey nature. Professor Hunsicker, with a background obtained in the Physical Fitness Laboratory at the University of Illinois, served as a graduate adviser in the experimental area. This supplemented earlier research procedures which had been under the direction of Professor Mitchell. Some helpful grants from the Graduate Research Committee, together with special appropriations from the University, made it possible for special research equipment to be obtained.

The problem of housing was one of the first tasks that confronted the building up of an impressive research laboratory; but, with the acquisition in 1955 of the former Athletic Administration Building on Ferry Field, the matter of space was satisfactorily solved. Dr. Hunsicker now has assistants and a well-equipped laboratory in which departmental and graduate research is conducted. These studies are largely in the areas of physical fitness, age growth, gerontology, and motor-skill learning. Some of them are carried on co-operatively with other graduate departments of the University; others with research departments of industries, the armed services, and public and private agencies.

In his recent annual reports Professor Page  1994Mitchell has continued to mention the need for academic titles for staff members, adequate office space, an increase in the budgetary item for teaching fellows, and a budget for research studies by staff members.

By 1955, with the larger enrollment of doctoral students, research output had increased. Co-operative research with other graduate departments of the University was still increasing, and outside public and private agencies were turning to the University for guidance in the areas of physical education and recreation.

Although the general trend in other universities has been toward separate undergraduate curricula in physical education, health education, and recreation, the policy of the department at the University of Michigan, since its inception, has been as yet to offer a generalized four-year curriculum with subsequent specialization at the graduate level. Nine sequences of related course work leading to the degree of master of arts or of master of science are available. The doctoral program leads either to the degree of doctor of philosophy or doctor of education.


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