Monday, May 29, 2006

Truman: A Gem of Applied Exercise Science Research

Nestled in the midst of northern Missouri farmland, Truman State University (formerly Northeast Missouri State) is a gem of liberal arts education for the citizens of Missouri. Despite the liberal arts label, Truman is also a powerhouse of applied exercise science research. Not the R1 research that drives the dog-eat-dog ivory towers of Washington University or St. Louis University, but the type of research that allows undergraduates--not graduate students or post-docs--to explore the foundations of scientific inquiry in an atmosphere of enthusiasm.

Applied exercise science is not a common feature on today's American university campuses. Most institutions go toward the money; and the money is in high-powered, sub-cellular or genetic research. These institutions and the people trapped in them, live and die by the NIH or NSF grant. Not so at Truman. Research is applied; it is directed at the human level. This type of work is challenging to do well. And although it is not directed at curing cancer or diabetes, or any other Holy Grail of medical research, the knowledge gleaned from such work has the potential to help coaches, athletes and anyone interested in physical education or public health issues.

These people tackle real-life questions for those interested in training for human performance.

Over the next few years, I look forward to working with Jerry Mayhew, Alex Koch, Michael Bird--the pillars of Truman's Exercise Science program--on some very cool projects. And I have to give a shout out to my hometown man (fellow native of Cape GarageDoor, MO), assistant volleyball coach Ben Briney, who has invited me to work on developing weightlifting/weight training materials for his athletes this summer.

Can you tell I'm very excited to work with these people? People who lift weights, exercise AND love science! Nirvana! Oh yeah, did I mention they have a competitive weightlifting team? Let's go, Iron Dogs!

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