The Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department has numerous research opportunities:
- The Health Education Faculty is conducting research on health risk behavior patterns of college freshmen. Collaborating with faculty outside the College of Education, Barbara Williams and Sandra Mimms are co-investigators with faculty in the departments of Biology and Mathematics. The main focus of the research includes the six categories of risk behaviors identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), especially those risk behaviors related to HIV/AIDS and psychoactive drug use. The team includes, Dr. Karts Bibb, lead investigator and co-investigators Dr. Shuntele Burns, Dr. Shreekumar Pillai (Biology), and Dr. Sandra Walker (Mathematics).
- The Physical Education Program has received national recognition for its Wee Can Fight Obesity project which addresses the obesity crisis in the state of Alabama. Dr. Charlie Gibbons is the lead investigator and Ms. Connie Dacus is the co-investigator along with students from the HPER Exercise Physiology classes. The program targets students in grade three with an emphasis on implementing exergaming using the Wii Fit gaming system as an additional instructional tool in the physical education classroom. The program began with six pilot schools with a grant from (Mid-South Conservation and Development Council) and continues to expand with new schools being added as additional funding resources are found.
- The Physical education Program is also conducting research on lifetime fitness and wellness across the lifespan headed by Dr. Doris P. Screws.
- The Recreational Therapy Program main research focus is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD).