New dean of the Faculty of Sports Studies: Sport has taught me to make resolute decisions

4 Jun 2020

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Jan Cacek has fulfilled a number of roles in his life: a favourite teacher, a fitness coach of top-level athletes and a scientist specialising in the physical activity of the population. Now he has a new role. He became the dean of the Faculty of Sports Studies at Masaryk University.
He replaced Martin Zvonař who was removed from the office by the Academic Senate due to malpractice in reporting publications. Cacek enters the office at a difficult time – on one hand, he will want to move the faculty forwards in scientific research, on the other he will have to deal with cuts in the budget caused by the coronavirus measures. Nevertheless, he has a lot of plans.

An athletics track has been planned for years but there has never been enough funding. However, without it we are not able to provide sport for employees or support high-performance sport for students. Among other things, your programme says that you would like to reflect labour market requirements and the problems of an ageing population. How shall we understand that?
It is a fundamental mistake that the Czech Republic lacks the expertise to deal with exercise as part of healthy ageing. Abroad, there are fields for people as applied kinesiologists or ageing specialists, which we do not have here. Therefore it is necessary to change legislative conditions and include the speciality of applied kinesiologist in the list of the Ministry of Education. I personally have experience with this since I went through this process as a fitness coach a few years ago. We are ready for this at the faculty, where we are preparing a bachelor’s programme for the management of physical activities for the elderly.

Are you also planning changes in physical education at the entire university?
The range of sports offered as part of compulsory physical education is wide but it has not changed for a few years. It is necessary to ask the students directly about their own ideas for an ideal physical activity and to find out their specific needs.

The University Sports Centre at MUNI is in charge of physical education. Are you planning to change it?
I would be happy if the centre performed more tasks. Apart from physical education for students it should also offer a wider range of services: physical activities for employees, various sports events, including inter-university competitions or competitions organized by sports unions. It should be an active link when fulfilling the concept of university sports which we have been preparing. Nevertheless university sport as a whole cannot be entirely provided by our faculty; it is an issue for the top university management. We would like our faculty to be as active as possible in promoting sports at Masaryk University.

What does this concept include?
It includes several levels at which university sport is implemented. It is not just about sport for students but also for employees, organizing sports competitions and representing the university at sport. It also includes building sports grounds needed for that. From the long-term perspective, it is clear that we cannot manage development without completing sports infrastructure.

Text: Martina Fojtů / CC-BY
Photo: Jan Prokopius / CC-BY

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