Faculty Biography: Nancy Van Noord

Photo+Credit+Anna+Delph

Photo Credit Anna Delph

Nancy Van Noord has taught physical education classes, namely Women’s Self Defense, at Calvin since the ‘70s. Though she says she isn’t “a very in-the-spotlight person,” she makes it her goal to help students and be a “plumb line” in the lives of all she meets.

How did you become interested women’s self defense?

I was introduced when I was in grad school. One of my friends wanted to take a class. I had no interest in it but she kept begging and so I went. I was blown away by the practicality of it and I wanted to take it to Calvin students.

What did you teach before focusing on self defense?

My main area was in sports psychology but I taught a wide variety of classes. In 1982 I sustained a brain injury and since that time I’ve been part time.

I used to coach women’s tennis and women’s volleyball and I would see athletes perform beautifully during practices but fall apart during competition. I couldn’t help them. I decided to focus on sports psychology so I could help students really reach their potential.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love the process of teaching. I love working with students. I love expanding their knowledge base and giving them new insights and skills, and helping them push past preconceived limitations.

Regardless of the course being taught, another passion is to help students develop intimate and vibrant relationships with Jesus. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” I so desire to see students experience all that the Lord has to offer them. If they’re grieving, he can offer comfort. If they’re addicted, he can offer release. If they’re lonely, he can offer companionship and an intimate relationship beyond anything in a human relationship.

How do you integrate this in your classes?

Through teaching I do devotions. I integrate Christ into as much as possible in every class. I talk about my own relationship with Christ.

I also teach the spiritual strength and training class which takes place during Interim. Most students experience a dramatic transformation with Jesus during the 15 days of the class.

I try to walk the talk. I believe and I live what I preach.

What advice do you have for female students at Calvin?

Trust and act upon your good instincts. Oftentimes women discount or minimize what they’re actually sensing. They may talk themselves out of what they’re actually sensing and think, “Oh, he’s probably a nice guy, I’m just imagining things.”

If you feel uneasy, there’s probably a good reason for it and you need to act on those gut instincts.

If you feel pressured, it’s very likely you are being pressured. You should never let anyone pressure you to do anything you don’t want to do.

Date rapists use pressure to wear down a woman’s resistance. Women feel they need to rationalize why they don’t want to do whatever he wants them to do… if she continues being ignored it’s time to leave the situation; say, “I need you to take me seriously.”

The date rapist is most interested in self-gratification and doesn’t care about the wellbeing of the women he’s trying to pressure.

Think through limits ahead of time and ask, “If my boundaries are crossed what would I do?” It’s a lot easier to think through limits ahead of time instead of in a high pressure situation.

Try to nip things in the bud as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable.

Women tend to push their feelings to the side. The longer you wait, the harder it is to stop an unwanted activity. If a person really cared about you he would want to know he was doing something you find hurtful.

Alcohol dramatically reduces a woman’s ability to defend herself. Rapists use alcohol as a tool to lower someone’s resistance.

And don’t forget to pray to God for help and for protection.

Who would you say has been the biggest influence in your life?

Lillian Samuel. She is one of the facilitators for the Bible Bonanza club on campus. She is totally sold out to Jesus Christ, is my friend and ministry partner and my spiritual mentor. She’s a real inspiration to me.

I have a plumb line hanging in my office as a reminder to be a plumb line in others’ lives and in my own actions. We serve as plumb lines to those around us. People who don’t know Christ look to our lives and then they reflect on who Christ is.