Exercise science program is first in Kansas to be accredited


Elizabeth Hanson

Sophomore Sierra McKinney palpates the arm muscle of sophomore Baylee Bartgis. McKinney and Bartgis are both exercise science majors. Image by Elizabeth Hanson.

Baker’s exercise science program recently completed the process for accreditation from the Committee of Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences, making Baker the first college in the state of Kansas and the 45th in the nation to achieve this standard.

“It really puts us as one of the beginning programs in the nation,” Assistant Professor of Exercise Science Chris Todden said. “We are pretty happy about that for being a small school in Kansas.”

The two-to-three-year accreditation process included the committee checking out the program’s facilities, degree requirements and other criteria.

“The reason why we decided to go through the process is because not many schools are accredited,” junior Brenna Herdman said. “We gained information about how to make our program better, how to make it stronger.”

Students in the exercise science program may see some additional perks in the future, such as discounts on certification tests. Senior exercise science major Sammie Schroeder is additionally looking forward to the ability to note the program’s success as she prepares for graduate school applications.

“Some people think that small schools don’t provide students with as good of an education,” she said. “This just shows that we are well-educated and can reach high standards. I’m excited to say I graduated from Baker.”

Recent achievements within the program do not stop there. Schroeder, Herdman and senior Greg Snell took second place at a quiz bowl competition held by the Central States American Colleges of Sports Medicine Regional Chapter on Oct. 20 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They answered an array of major-related questions including ones on strength and conditioning.

“It’s really exciting to be small but successful,” Herdman said. “We kicked butt. Dr. Todden was telling me that four years ago, people didn’t even know who Baker was. By doing so well, we’re only improving Baker’s name in the central states chapter.”

Having met all formal standards, the program should receive official accreditation status in the middle of November. This initial accreditation will last for five years.

“Short term, I think it will help students feel ensured about what they’re wanting to study,” Todden said. “Long term, I think it will be beneficial for us to have been on the ground floor of the accreditation process. This is certainly an initiative to get other schools on board. And for us to take the first step is very exciting.”