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Bethel announces new major in health and human performance

October 13th, 2023

Ad Building with threshing stone in front

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Bethel College’s accrediting body, has approved the college’s proposal for a new major, Health and Human Performance, to begin in the fall semester of 2024.

Students in this program can pursue one of three concentrations: Exercise Science, Health and Fitness, or Health and Physical Education Teaching.

The announcement of HLC approval means Bethel can begin immediately to promote the program and recruit students for it.

The program will be offered, with all courses and concentrations, beginning in fall 2024.

Current faculty in the new Department of Health and Human Performance are Melissa Siemens and Matthew Dorton.

Siemens’s specialty is Health and Physical Education Teaching, while Dorton’s is Exercise Science, so the college will be seeking a faculty member with strengths primarily in the area of Health and Fitness.

“The Health and Human Performance major will prepare students for a field in which the job market is growing,” said Robert Milliman, vice president for academic affairs.

“For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2020-30, jobs in exercise science will grow 166%. In addition to the national growth of this profession, there is student demand at Bethel for all of the concentrations.

“With the Health and Human Performance major, more students will have excellent career choices in fields represented by Health and Fitness, Exercise Science and Health and Physical Education Teaching.

“Students in other majors, especially those in social work, teacher education and nursing, will also find courses taught in the exercise science and the health and fitness areas useful for their major.”

“We are excited about the launch of this new program,” said Heidi Hoskinson, vice president for enrollment management. “Prospective students are increasingly looking for these specialty areas of study, so being able to offer them as a major will make Bethel a very attractive college choice.”

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel was the first Kansas college or university to be named a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center, in 2021. For more information, see


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Bethel College prepares students for meaningful lives of work and service through faith formation, the liberal arts, and practical experience in career pathways.