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 Trustees salute SRU's expanding Adapted Physical Activity Program 



October 2, 2009

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab


Trustees salute SRU's expanding Adapted Physical Activity Program        


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees today as part of their regular meeting presented a resolution honoring the University's Adapted Physical Activity Program for its nationally recognized leadership and declared Nov. 11, 2009, as Adapted Physical Activity Day at SRU.

The resolution cited the specialized program for being named the Adapted Physical Activity Outstanding Program of the Year for 2008 by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance's Adapted Physical Activity Council, and honored the leadership provided by Robert Arnhold,  professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences and program coordinator.

SRU's Adapted Physical Activity Program is an undergraduate minor and a graduate program that specializes in preparing graduates for work with those with disabilities and improving their overall health through physical activities and education.

Arnhold also recently received the Exceptional Parent Magazine's Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award for his advocacy for people with disabilities. Special Olympics selected SRU's APA Program as a national model for piloting its "I Can Do It, You Can Do It" mentoring program for national expansion. The late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics, invited SRU APA students and faculty members to provide leadership for its training-the-trainers program at what was then her Potomac, Md., home

SRU launched Pennsylvania's first graduate program in adapted physical activity in 2008, and it remains one of the few programs in the nation to include programs in the gymnasium, swimming pool, equestrian center and fitness facilities. Kelly Dreibelbis, a 2004 SRU graduate in the program, was named the nation's outstanding undergraduate in the field by the U.S. Adapted Physical Activity Council during her senior year.

Arnhold, and his wife, Pam, Arnhold, an assistant professor in the department, and Amanda Budzowski, a graduate student in the program from Hermitage, and Lauren Rhoads, an athletic training major and physical activity minor from Souderton, updated the trustees on current programs and anticipated expansion. "God certainly shined on SRU the day he brought us the Arnholds," said John Hicks, an SRU trustee.

Trustees also heard from Tyson Johnston, vice president for public relations for the Student Government Association, who provided an update on the NEXTbus system that allows riders to use their cell phone or computer to track the bus stop arrival times of the SGA-provided buses. The bus transportation program, partially funded through a Green Fund Grant, is designed to help reduce the student carbon footprint by reducing the number of individuals who drive to campus.

Trustees welcomed Eric Holmes, a 1993 SRU graduate and former president of the SRU Alumni Association, to the council. Holmes, from Pittsburgh, was nominated by Gov. Edward Rendell and confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate earlier this year.

In his report, Robert Smith, SRU president, outlined a number of accolades accumulated recently by the University, including the eighth consecutive year listing in The Princeton Review as one of the best Northeastern Colleges. "Selection is based on student surveys and narrowed to those with excellent academic programs," Smith said. "Students reported the University had a 'wonderful business school,' notable programs in music and physical therapy, residence halls 'like palaces' and 'excellent education students.'"

He said SRU was one of only 150 colleges selected as a "Great College to Work For" by The Chronicle of Higher Education. "This designation was based on survey responses of faculty, staff and administration." Smith told the council that SRU had also been named a "military friendly" university by GI Jobs magazine "for our work with returning veterans to campus. Only 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide made the list," he said.       

Smith said, that SRU was recently "ranked as one of the safest university campuses in the nation by The Daily Beast." SRU was listed at No. 14 in the Top 25 list.        

In other accolades, Smith told trustees that the 2009 edition of "Beyond the Books, Guide to Service Learning at Colleges and Universities, which profiles the nation's top institutions for service learning, had featured SRU in a section detailing schools that teach students to use academic skills and knowledge for community projects in education, homelessness, inequality and the environment.

Work on the self-study by the University's Middle States steering committee, chaired by Neil Cosgrove, professor of English, and Cynthia Dillon, assistant to the provost for academic affairs, continues on track, Smith said. 

In reviewing the opening of fall semester, Smith said the academic year started with 8,648 students. "Sophomore retention was 80.04 percent, crossing the 80 percent mark for the first time in the University's history since such records have been kept. The 1,545 students comprising the freshman class consisted of an increase of 18 percent African-Americans and 9 percent increase of Hispanics. Overall, 42 percent of the class came from the top 25 percent of their high school class and 13 percent came from the top 10 percent of their high school class. We saw increases in both out-of-state enrollment, 6.3 percent, and international enrollment 4.4 percent, as well as a 2.2 percent increase in our fulltime equivalent enrollment."

 The president also outlined potential budget problems being faced by the University over the uncertainty of the state's budget which has yet to be approved. He said sessions with faculty, staff and students, as well as a new Web site to accept ideas for cutting the 2010/11 budget or increasing revenues would be soon available.

In routine action, council approved submitted reports on contracts, fixed assets and service and supply purchase orders. 

Instructional operational leadership/professional, administrator, grand-funded program coordinator and non-faculty athletic coach and support staff appointments necessary to staff the University for fall semester were also reported to trustees.

 Trustees were told that Melba Tomeo, retired assistant professor at Bailey Library, had been

granted professor emeritus status. Tomeo retired last January after 17 years at SRU.

 Council's next meeting will be Dec. 4.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.

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