Karl Larson


Associate Professor, Department Chair, and Program Director in Public Health in Health and Exercise Science

The most important things in life are to be happy and content, and we seem to be our own worst enemies sometimes-----

I have lived under the guise of this statement most of my life, and it has guided me directly into the field of public health. That probably wouldn't surprise anyone who knows me. I find human behavior fascinating, and I find behavior related to health choices even more so.

I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services in 1989. My first full-time gig was traveling among 4 senior citizen high rise apartment buildings and providing recreational activities. Interestingly, they never really wanted to talk about activities...they wanted to talk about anything related to their health and well-being. It was my first exposure to how imporatnat health was across the lifespan.

I decided to go back to college to get a Master's degree that would allow me to work in the college setting. There is something very much 'alive' about working with college students. I truly love it. I spent six years working in Student Affairs in a myriad of positions including coordination of an academic support program, TRIO program professional, director of orientation programs and probably a few more. I learned quickly that working in student affairs will burn you out...especially if you decide to do it right...and I needed a change, but I didn't want to leave academia.

In 2001 I completed my PhD. in Community Health Education at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. I spent 2 years in the public health sector and 4 years teaching at the University of Southern Indiana before coming to Gustavus in 2005.

So, academically, I focus on human behavior. If you have class with me, I assure you we'll talk about why people make the choices they make. Scholarly, I have written all kinds of different things, from teaching ideas, to 5-year qualitative studies, to textbooks...if you really want to know, come ask me sometime and I'll tell you....

My family is my life-- my wife Kathy (married since 1989) and my 3 children, Danielle, Evan, and Brenden. Without them, none of this other stuff even matters....


BS, Minnesota State University-Mankato, MSEd & Ph.D., Southern Illinois University-Carbondale


music and travel

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
HES-121Tai Chi242014/SP, 2013/FA, 2013/SP, 2012/FA, 2012/SP, 2011/FA, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, 2009/SP, 2008/FA, 2008/SP, and 2007/FA
HES-100Physical Fitness: Conditioning142014/SP, 2011/FA, 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, 2009/SP, 2008/FA, 2007/FA, 2007/SP, 2006/FA, 2006/SP, and 2005/FA
HES-226Community Health Education Theory and Practice122015/SP, 2014/FA, 2014/SP, 2013/FA, 2012/FA, 2011/FA, 2011/SP, 2009/FA, 2008/FA, 2007/FA, 2006/FA, and 2005/FA
HES-223Stress Management122014/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/SP, 2008/SP, 2007/FA, 2007/SP, 2006/FA, 2006/SP, and 2005/FA
HES-201Personal Health92014/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/SP, 2008/SP, 2007/SP, and 2006/SP
HES-397Seminar in Hlth/Phy Ed82017/SP, 2015/FA, 2014/FA, 2012/FA, 2011/FA, 2008/FA, 2007/FA, and 2006/FA
FTS-100FTS:Living With Stress62014/FA, 2013/FA, 2012/FA, 2009/FA, 2008/FA, and 2007/FA
HES-230Sexuality Education62014/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, 2010/SP, 2008/SP, and 2006/SP
HES-122Relaxation62007/SP, 2006/FA, 2006/SP, and 2005/FA
HES-090Major Portfolio52018/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/FA, 2016/SP, and 2015/FA
HES-238Intro Epidemiology42018/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/SP, and 2015/SP
HES-213Youth Sport Wellbeing42015/JN, 2013/JN, 2012/JN, and 2007/JN
HES-236Alt Medicine Systems32018/SP, 2016/SP, and 2015/SP
HES-227Health Prog Planning32017/SP, 2016/FA, and 2015/FA
HES-229School Health Program32013/FA, 2011/FA, and 2009/FA
HES-302Foundations of Sport and Coaching32011/SP, 2009/SP, and 2007/SP
HES-211Health Behavior22016/FA and 2016/SP
HES-212Lifespan Development22016/SP and 2015/FA
HES-268Career Exploration22008/JN and 2007/JN
HES-218Foundations of Sport and Coaching12013/FA
HES-216Human Disease/Preventn12012/SP
HES-315Elementary Health Education Content and Methods12008/SP