AT CHATTANOOGA**

[Dr. Joseph Beckett]

Dr. Beckett Heads Up New Master's Program in Athletic Training

With the enthusiasm and impatience of a runner waiting for a long distance race to begin, Dr. Joseph Beckett is anxious to get UTC's new master's degree program in athletic training up and running.

Thanks to a $1 million dollar gift from Columbia/HCA, the University will plan and implement the program over the next five years. Applications are currently being accepted and Beckett will greet an entering class of 20 students as early as this June.

Building programs from scratch is a challenge Beckett apparently relishes. "This will be the third program I have developed. I either love the challenge of it all, or I'm crazy," he admitted with a laugh. On a chalkboard that takes up most of one wall in his office, Dr. Beckett has a "to-do" list rivaling a coach's game strategy for the Super Bowl. Since arriving in January, he has been methodically tackling each item on the board, molding a program which he believes will eventually become nationally recognized.

By 2003, Beckett plans to cross the finish line with a fully accredited program.

According to Beckett, athletic trainers' responsibilities include prevention, evaluation, management, and rehabilitation of injuries to physically active individuals. The new advanced program combines theory and practice in preparing students for leadership positions in the role of allied health practitioners in sports medicine. Graduates will hold a master of science degree in athletic training, with one of three specialty concentrations: exercise physiology, sports management, or sports nutrition.

"As a career path, the field is wide open with options. Students can either teach or work at a university or high school. Or, they can work in sports medicine clinics, private clinics, and industrial rehabilitation clinics. I think this program can be a flag-bearer in the trenches of the community's schools, businesses, industries, and hospitals," said Beckett.

Deborah Arfken, assistant provost for Graduate Studies, said UTC expects to draw students from the entire Southeast area, since no institution in this geographical area offers master's degrees in this discipline. "There are only 12 such master's degree programs in the entire United States," she said.

"We are grateful to Columbia/HCA for their generous gift which made this program possible," said Dr. Mary Tanner, dean, College of Education and Applied Professional Studies. The athletic training program was developed through a campus and community partnership under the direction of Tanner and former Chancellor Fred Obear, Dr. Timothy Summerlin, dean of arts and sciences; Dr. Bob Norred, department head, Exercise Science, Health, and Leisure Studies; and Dr. Leroy Fanning, UC Foundation professor of Exercise Science, Health, and Leisure Studies.

Prior to coming to UTC, Beckett served as chair of the Department of Sports Medicine at the University of Charleston, West Virginia, from 1985-97. He developed a sports medicine and athletic training program for the university and served as school's head athletic trainer until 1992. From 1983-85 he served as the athletic training curriculum coordinator and head athletic trainer at West Virginia's Glenville State College, where he was responsible for the development, implementation, and promotion of the GSC athletic training curriculum. He has been active on numerous college and university and state committees and serves on the Joint Review Committee for accredited programs in Athletic Training (JRC-AT).

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Last updated: March 9, 1998.
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