Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences

Dr. Joe Schmalfeldt, Department Chair

Wilson Physical Education Complex, Room 237

505.454.3032 FAX: 505.454.3001


Mission of the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences


The mission of the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences is to improve the quality of life related to the many aspects of human movement. We concentrate on a full spectrum of human potential, from young to old, fit to unfit, recreational to higher athletic, healthy to diseased, and able-bodied to disabled. Our programs are related to the study of exercise physiology, health, teaching, athletic injuries, recreation, sports administration, and coaching.



  • Ronald Benedict (Exercise Science)
  • William Hayward (Exercise Science)
  • Kathy Jenkins (Exercise Science)
  • Yongseek Kim (Recreation and Sport Management)
  • Joe Schmalfeldt (Physical Education)
  • Ruthy Watson (Exercise Science)


Resources and Facilities

Two undergraduate majors are available in the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences: human performance and sport (HPS) and health. The HPS major offers a choice of three concentration areas: exercise science, physical education and recreation and sport management.  Additionally, three minors are available: HPS, health, and coaching.  There are also four concentrations in health: pre-professional athletic training, health education, health promotion and wellness, and pre-professional allied health.  Additionally, four minors are available:  HPS, health, coaching and recreation.

The department offers courses for the community as well as for university personnel. The New Mexico Highlands University Wellness Program (HU-Wellness) provides a variety of health promotion activities including classes, consultations, seminars and workshops. Fitness and health assessments with consultation and exercise prescriptions are available to employees, students, and community members. The Cardiovascular Health Enhancement and Exercise Rehabilitation (CHEER) Program provides supervised exercise classes for patients with heart disease.

In addition, the ESS department cooperates with other academic areas within the university by providing opportunities for students to take a variety of academic classes. There are numerous activity classes for students, faculty, and community members to take, such as skiing, swimming, golf, fitness activity, racquetball, and weight lifting. As part of their core requirements, students have an opportunity to take at least two physical education courses or the Fit for Life class (wellness course). The Fit for Life course is a prerequisite for all ESS majors.

The career choices for students receiving a major in the ESS are numerous: activity director/instructor, aquatic manager, adapted physical education instructor, athletic director, athletic trainer, personal fitness trainer, cardiac rehabilitation specialist, community health consultant, corporate wellness director, employee wellness consultant, health promotion and wellness leader/director, exercise laboratory technician, physical education teacher, health education teacher, recreation director, senior citizen recreation director, therapeutic recreation specialist, travel and tourism director, and many more.

The John A. Wilson Physical Education Complex is the pride of the program. The building offers modern facilities for physical and health education instruction and student and faculty research, as well as complete facilities for athletic training. The HU Wellness Program and Exercise Science Laboratory enable students to obtain practical experience in fitness testing and exercise programming.


This major is under the College of Arts and Sciences