Heather Bruder was named chair of the health, fitness, and sport science department last August. Since then, the head softball coach has worked vigorously to set forth her vision for the department.
That vision includes adding more laboratory and writing-intensive courses. She hopes to transform department programs into more science-based offerings that will work closely with the dietetics department.
Bruder is confident that the changes will attract more students. “I want to grow in a way that will provide the best academic environment for students,” she says.
She is also working to establish an exercise physiology lab where students can perform exercise testing and have a more hands-on experience. This will give students practical experience that will help them secure future internships and employment, she adds.
Bruder has already proven that she can build a successful program in athletics.
In her first seven years as head coach, she led the softball team to a 76-33 record in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Her teams have made the conference tournament all seven years.
In 2008, Bruder was named HCAC Coach of the Year, and her 2009 team set the school record for most wins in a season, with 30. She has coached 16 first-team all-HCAC players, as well as 15 academic all-conference honorees.
“The key is to attract the right people into your program,” she says. “This is true of academics and athletics alike. They have to believe in the school and the program.”
by Kylee Burkholder