Les Malbon, professor of kinesiology at VIU, is excited to see the program he’s taught for over 40 years continue to grow.
VIU’s Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education became Bachelor of Kinesiology in September 2020—a move that better reflects the program’s content and student interests, Malbon said in a VIU press release.
Malbon will be retiring in about a year, and when that day comes, VIU will remember him as a pillar in the school’s sport and psychical education field. Malbon has had a hand in the progression of the program, helping develop both the physical education minor in 2002 and the major in 2006, and assisting in the recent transition to kinesiology. He’s now adapting to yet more change, developing online activity courses in the Bachelor of Kinesiology Program.
Malbon remembers his days as a student back in 1974 when VIU was Malaspina College and the Physical Education Program operated out of the old Nanaimo hospital building on Kennedy Street.
“The primary focus back then was on anatomy and physiology and a first-year sport/physical education sociology course, plus a variety of experiential activity courses,” he said. “At the time most students, including myself, were interested in becoming teachers. Now there is a diverse stream of professional options students can pursue, and course content has expanded to include rehabilitation sciences.”
Malbon said he’s had to evolve with his program, which now has a stronger focus on professions in occupational, physical or massage therapy, and chiropractic medicine.
Malbon said he’s designed a new course on nature, health, and physical activity that focuses on a more holistic perspective that “includes courses such as the health of the human spirit, local food sovereignty and sustainability, and the seven dimensions of wellness: intellectual, environmental, social, emotional, physical, occupational, and spiritual health.”
Malbon came up with the idea for the new course following his recent completion of an international diploma recognized by UNESCO through the University for Peace in Costa Rica on The Earth Charter and Education for Sustainable Development.
Louis Mattar, the chair of the Kinesiology Program, defines kinesiology as “the art and science of human movement … from a physical, social and psychological standpoint.” He said in the VIU press release that Malbon exemplifies what the program is about.
“While all of this COVID crazy is happening, Les has shown students that you can adapt, learn and manage stress in ways you never thought you could,” Mattar said. “The material that he teaches is about the whole person.”
“There is breadth, depth, and diversity in our program,” Malbon added. “I am grateful to work with incredible colleagues and teach remarkable students who have gone on to make positive contributions in their communities and the world.”