Westmont Magazine Scholars on the Move
Kinesiology Professors Study the Science of Movement
As scholars who conduct cutting-edge research, Westmont kinesiology professors offer important information to a society characterized by low levels of fitness, high obesity rates and a sedentary lifestyle.
With the coaches of intercollegiate teams, these professors form the department of kinesiology and athletics. Some faculty combine teaching and coaching and three focus just on academics: Glenn Town, Gregg Afman and Christine Milner.
Most kinesiology majors are not athletes, but students interested in the allied health professions. They prepare for jobs as athletic trainers, physical therapists, nutritionists, occupational therapists and physicians.
“Kinesiology is a central part of the liberal arts,” says Town, kinesiology department chair. “Westmont emphasizes the education of the whole person, and we have responsibility for the body. Our health and how we view ourselves has a big impact on our lives.”
An exercise physiologist who came to Westmont in 2003 after 21 years at Wheaton College, Town earned a doctorate at Kent State University. He conducts research on the effect of over-the-counter drugs on athletic performance. His interests include nutrition and the benefits of exercise in helping people recover from illnesses such as heart and lung disease.
Christine Milner, a longtime kinesiology professor, went on sabbatical last year to study gerontology and disabilities at Tufts University and to take courses at other Boston-area colleges. “Finding ways to improve the quality of life for senior citizens is a perfect fit for our discipline,” she says. “I’m excited to bring this important area of expertise to our department.”
Gregg Afman, also an exercise physiologist, combined teaching and coaching women’s basketball for 25 years. He has stepped down as coach to focus on his classes and research. For the first time, he is taking a sabbatical, collaborating on research at Loughborough University in England. “Working with a productive research team is a great experience,” he says. “My sabbatical will strengthen ties between Westmont and European schools.”
These ties help Westmont offer a Mayterm trip every other year for 20 kinesiology students, who visit sport science programs in Europe and learn more about kinesiology research. In the off year, students may participate in a missions trip to Guatemala. Faculty participate in both trips, working closely with students.