HPERDS to kinesiology

Name change reflects broad scope of department


Fall 2011

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

After a yearlong process, which included reviewing the department’s many academic programs and courses, HPERDS—the acronym stands for health, physical education, recreation, dance and sport—also had a name change approved by its faculty and the faculty senate. Hereafter the HPERDS department at Calvin College shall be known instead as the kinesiology department.

Bolt said the name change creates a better umbrella term than the old HPERDS acronym and will benefit the department’s students, especially as they head to graduate school and the job market.

“No single word is perfect, given the breadth of our department,” said Bolt, who also coaches men’s golf at Calvin. “Yet we believe kinesiology has become the best single term to represent much of our field of study and the programs represented in the department. We intend to define kinesiology in the broadest possible way—as the study of the art and science of human movement—and, in that way, encircle the many programs we offer in our department.”

Kinesiology is, Bolt said, the most recognized term in the physical education and recreation field.

While the department’s name will change, the quality of education will remain the same, Bolt said: “We need to be known for more than our name. We need to do good work. We have in the past, and we will in the future. No name change will cover or change the fact you’re not getting it done. And we have been getting it done.”

Annika Soule thinks the name change is fitting. Soule, a 2011 graduate from Holland, Mich., studied exercise science at Calvin and plans to become a physical therapist. She believes the change 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.”

“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,” added Bolt, “and we hope the new name will open up our department to even more students.”