The Art and Science of Human Movement

The Art and Science of Human Movement

By Phil de Haan

What’s in a name? Plenty, says Brian Bolt, chairperson of the Calvin department formerly known as HPERDS.

After a year-long process, HPERDS—the acronym stands for health, physical education, recreation, dance and sport—has changed its name to the kinesiology department.

Kinesiology is, Professor Bolt said, the most recognized term in the physical education and recreation field. And it’s a name that will benefit students, especially as they head to graduate school and the job market.


Annika Soule thinks the name change is fitting. Annika is a senior from Holland, Mich., who is studying exercise science at Calvin and plans to become a physical therapist (she already has been accepted to graduate school). She said she’s happy about the name change and believes it will benefit future students.

“Kinesiology will carry more prestige,” she said. “I think that it clearly communicates that Calvin is profoundly academic and indicates exactly what unifies us as a department, which is movement—the study, appreciation and application of movement in all its shapes and forms. I think it also advertises to the rest of the campus and to the greater community a clear sense of Calvin’s possibilities. HPERDS isn’t a recognizable acronym, and this reduces that confusion.”

Senior Trent Salo, who is headed to graduate school this fall at the University of Kentucky, echoed Annika’s words. “Using the name kinesiology will enable employers, graduate school admissions and other students to understand exactly what our major entails,” the Rudyard, Mich., native said.

Both agree that what the department does for its students is more important than the name on the degree.


“I have been blessed to have class with almost every single professor in the kinesiology department … ,” said Annika. “They have been incredible advisors when it came to choosing classes to take to become prepared for physical therapy school to helping with recommendations for physical therapy schools to helping me decide between the programs I was accepted into. And it’s not only that: They and many of the other professors have been such awesome examples of faith.”

Trent agrees. “From the first day I stepped on campus,” he said, “I felt that the professors and faculty within the department, specifically the profs who teach exercise science, were genuinely concerned about my academic progress and career aspirations.”

Both students were able to work this year on campus as personal trainers and said the new facilities in the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complexincluding the new labs, new fitness rooms and morewere invaluable assets in that work.

“It is reassuring to know that the equipment we are using, especially in our exercise laboratory, is top notch,” said Trent. “I would put our facilities and equipment against any other college or university in the nation.”


Trent worked this year with a recreational athlete who had suffered a torn hamstring, while Annika worked with a client with multiple sclerosis (MS).

“Not only have I been stretched to come up with unique workout patterns, but I’ve learned so much about identifying with people and how to provide them with measurable goals,” Annika said. “Every single person has their own fears, expectations and reservations. As a physical therapist, I have to know how to work with that. People with MS have a lot of barriers to exercise. If I can help them move beyond their fears, I feel like I have accomplished something big.”

Trent, a varsity basketball player who struggled with his own injury, a broken foot, his senior year, concurred. “It was great to be able to apply the things we learn in class to our sessions with our clients,” he said. “It definitely helps to solidify the important concepts within our field. The hardest thing I found out was judging the exertion level of my client. Oftentimes, I had to flat-out ask my client if the exercises were too difficult because I wasn’t sure based on their expressions. That is an aspect that cannot be learned in the classroom.”

Such comments are music to Professor Bolt’s ears: “We believe our major is a great option for Christian young people who want to explore God’s gifts of movement and health and leisure,” he said, “and we hope the new name will open up our department to even more students.”


Human Performance Lab