Preparing professionals to solve complex public health problems: Q&A with James Peth

Portrait of Peth
James Peth

James Peth is an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University. Learn more about why he came to CSU and his interest in how extracurricular activities improve learning.

1. What brought you to the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at CSU?

I studied exercise science and nutrition in college and became passionate about teaching science while working as a physiology tutor. This led me to graduate school and the pursuit of an academic career. I came to the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition in 2010 after a 10-year hiatus following an athletic accident that rendered me quadriplegic. My goal was to complete my graduate education and become a nutrition professor.

2. What’s your teaching philosophy?

I view teaching nutrition as an opportunity to prepare professionals who will solve complex public health problems. I endeavor to design instruction that provides students requisite knowledge, challenges them, encourages critical thinking, stimulates natural curiosity, promotes collective efforts to learn and discover, and supports meaningful learning.

3. What are your research interests, and how did you get into that topic?

I developed my current research interests as a Ph.D. student working on TILT-sponsored redesign projects for courses in Food Science & Human Nutrition. My main focus has been on factors that influence students’ approaches to learning nutrition science in two courses in the department: Human Nutrition and Integrative Nutrition and Metabolism. I’m also interested in understanding the effects of students’ participation in activities outside of class, such as research, learning communities, and mentoring, on their perceptions of inclusion and persistence in academia.

4. What’s your favorite thing about campus?

My favorite thing about CSU is the people. As a student and employee, I have enjoyed working with students, faculty, and staff through numerous classes, projects, and collaborations. I have had many great experiences at CSU and have found it to be a supportive place to study and work, with a lot of smart and creative people.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences.