By JAYCIE DOERR, NEWS3 Executive Producer & WC Editor-in-chief
MACOMB, Illinois (News3 & WC) – Western Illinois University (WIU) is one of four universities in the United States with an academic minor in scuba diving.
Classes in scuba diving have been a part of the Department of Kinesiology at WIU since the 1960s, but in 2008 the classes were built into a minor by former program director Dan Walters. The department is currently searching for a new director.
The minor is made up of four classes, each with the goal of giving students different diving certifications. These begin with open water scuba certification, and continue with certification in rescue diving, wreck diving, or ice diving which is common in the midwest.
“Certainly they learn how to dive, they learn the basic skills, to become a safe and efficient diving, but along with that they learn a lot of, they learn a lot about themselves,” said Christopher Kovacs, a professor of kinesiology at WIU.
Students enrolled for the scuba minor also have the opportunity to travel to Florida, the Caribbean, or California to get real dive experience. Kovacs said that he favors great lakes diving, and taking students there to learn how to dive a little closer to home.
Students who frequently participate in the scrubs diving minor are Law Enforcement and Justice Administration majors. The specialty in rescue diving makes them an asset to any law enforcement agency they go to work at, according to Kovacs.
In the future, the Department of Kinesiology wishes to expand the scuba diving minor to offer one class, KIN 108 as a general education course to make diving experience more accessible. They also hope to open up the diving programs to local community groups, and offer dual enrollment for high school and community college students.
If you want to learn more about WIU’s minor in scuba diving, contact Christopher Kovacs at email@example.com.