UW-Madison Department of Kinesiology - History

Medical imaging Carillon Tower Glass blowing Laptop and lecture A smiling student Sunrise over the Education Building Chairs on the Memorial Union Terrace Bascom hall staircase Graduating students in silhouette Crowd of people on Bascom Hill A student tutoring Student with diploma Dance Department performance Night view of Bascom in the winter Memorial Union Terrace in autumn Memorial Union Terrace chairs Dance department performance Bucky Badger in front of a parade float Bascom Hall in the summertime Lincoln statue Students walking in the snow University of Wisconsin - Madison Crest Lincoln statue in the snow Forward Logo Student at graduation Bicycle in the snow Rathskellar Fireplace Sailboat with Capitol Building in the background A sailboat at the Memorial Union Bascom Hill in Autumn Bucky Badger studying with a student. Students among blooming trees at UW-Madison Bucky reading a book University flag on Bascom Hill Video camera view screen Student on a frozen lake Lincoln Statue on Bascom Hill Bascom Hill in winter Students collaborating Memorial Union Terrace chairs in the snow Kohl Center logo Graduates with diplomas A hands-on project Stacked, illuminated figures View from the top of Van Hise


Main Office

School of Education
Unit II Gym
2000 Observatory Dr.
MadisonWI  53706-1121

Tel: 608/262-0259
Fax: 608/262-1656

Email: kines@education.wisc.edu
or by contact form

History of the Kinesiology Department

Emeritus Professor Leonard Larson, a prominent physical educator at New York University, was recruited to serve as Director of the Department of Physical Education for Men in the late nineteen-fifties. One of his principal responsibilities included the development of a doctoral program in physical education. The central administration mandated that this program become a joint offering by the Department of Physical Education for Men and the Department of Physical Education for Women, and these academic units merged in 1978 to form the Department of Physical Education and Dance. Emeritus Professor Henry J. Montoye was recruited from the University of Tennessee to serve as the first chair of this newly formed department.

The Department of Kinesiology was formed in 1990, and this academic unit was comprised of the former Department of Physical Education and Dance and the Department of Therapeutic Science. The University Academic Planning Council, Faculty Senate, and Board of Regents approved this restructuring with the understanding that the Dance Program would become an independent department the following year. The Department of Therapeutic Science included the Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Program at the time of this restructuring, but the Physical Therapy Program relocated to the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation in 1997. The first chair of the newly structured Department of Kinesiology was Emeritus Professor William P. Morgan who retired in 2005.

The Department of Kinesiology has evolved over the years to the point where it is now a multi-disciplinary academic unit with a mission to create, interpret, transmit and apply knowledge related to movement, exercise and human occupation with the ultimate goal of enhancing human health, productivity, and quality of life. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs leading to the B.S., M.S., and/or Ph.D. degrees are offered with specialization in athletic training, biomechanics, exercise physiology, exercise psychology, occupational therapy (occupational science), physical activity epidemiology, motor control and behavior, and teacher preparation. In addition an elective service program of physical activity is offered to the general student population.

Original author: Emeritus Professor William P. Morgan

Women's Physical Education: A History

The UW-Madison: Archives and Records Management Services maintains a wonderful website that deals with the rich history of women's physical education, athletics and dance on the UW Campus.  It is well worth a visit.

Historic photograph of female UW students exercising

Occupational Therapy

Caroline Thompson recalls the History of the Occupational Therapy Program.

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