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Dr. Joan Rocks

A glimpse of her tennis shoes is all that is noticeable as she moves quickly from the office, to the gym to the classroom. Dr. Joan Rocks is living what she teaches and demonstrating how the practice of Athletic Training is a profession and a lifestyle. Rocks is the Chair of the Department of Health and Sport Sciences, directs the master’s program in Allied Health, and is an athletic trainer with Otterbein’s athletic teams.

 “My students keep me going. They push me every day with their questions- and they push me to get better prepared and find the answers or help them find the answers.”
Student inspiration helps Rocks keep her fast pace caring for student athletes as well as developing future athletic trainers.

When evaluating post-graduate training programs for athletic trainers, Rocks found that most were missing a focus on how to teach and train new athletic trainers, and were limited to the clinical aspects of the profession. In order to close this gap in athletic training leadership and management, Rocks helped establish the Master of Science in Allied Health program. “Through our program, athletic training professionals can come to Otterbein and learn how to be a program director. They will learn how to teach and how to develop undergraduate athletic trainers.”

In addition to the post-athletic training track, the Master of Science in Allied Health also offers two additional tracks, the Health & Wellness track and the Health Care Administration track. Rocks said, “The Health and Wellness track will help students acquire the skill set they need to run their own facility or be in a Fitness Management role.” Students in this concentration take classes in corporate/worksite wellness, exercise for special populations and advanced nutrition courses, to name a few. The third track, Health Care Administration, according to Rocks, “Prepares students to assume management roles in health care organizations and offices.” Students in this concentration take classes in finance, business administration and human resources.

Professor Rocks appreciates the focus that graduate students bring to the program. “Grad students know what they want to do with their lives - they have a passion to pursue what they love. I believe that we provide the environment to turn those passions into reality. Otterbein’s size affords me time to get to know students and their goals.”

Success is marked by Rocks when she gets word that her students have passed their national board examinations. “When they pass their boards, I know that my students got the preparation that they needed.” She also takes joy in each passing graduation. “When students graduate, I can see how much each of them have developed from when they started and when they walk across the stage to get their diploma. It’s really a ton of fun to watch all of their growth processes.”

Rocks’ advice to new students, “Choose a course that you want to take, don’t just take what fits in your schedule. If there is a course that will help you with your plan, tell us. We will figure out a way to get you the content and the courses you need.”