Jim VanDerslice, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Division of Public Health. His research focuses on evaluating human exposures to chemical and microbiological hazards in the environment. Several of his studies have examined contaminants in drinking water and foods, and their effects on infants and children. He utilizes Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a tool to assess spatial patterns in exposures. He has recently become interested in the effects of the built environment on physical activity and obesity, and is using GIS to classify the built environment of SLC neighborhoods using spatial data and aerial imagery.
In mentoring learners I believe that a positive attitude is paramount and all feedback must be constructive. Everyone comes with different skills, knowledge and motivation. I believe that in a learning environment the program should be adapted to meet the learner’s current level of experience, knowledge and skill. To me, each experience should be viewed in terms of what was learned. At times we learned because we found a great result. At other times we learned because a given technique didn’t work. Finally the most important advances in learning, and in becoming a scholar, lies in the relationships formed, through the experience of working as a team, having common goals, working through problems with good colleagues.
To make this process work I hold weekly team meetings, and a separate weekly meeting with the graduate student mentor. At the team meeting we review the objectives, progress and products and provide feedback on each aspect of the work. We problems solve and set goals for the next week.