Faculty Profile: Professor Jason VanHorn, geography

Prof. Jason VanHorn is an expert in GIS, or
Prof. Jason VanHorn is an expert in GIS, or "digital mapping."

EDUCATION: PhD, The Ohio State University, geography
TEACHES: geography and GIS
COOL FACT: worked with Campus Crusade for Christ for six years before going to grad school
RESEARCH INTEREST: mapping terrorism

Prof. Jason VanHorn could easily be a computer geek, caught up in the fast-paced world of digital mapping and making six figures. 

But he’s not, and he doesn’t.  

He teaches at Calvin because of the way he’s able to talk about faith in the classroom. And also because of the quality of students he teaches.  

“I’ve never worked with students who care so deeply about people and place. They care about creation, they care about those who don’t have a voice,” he said.  

A PROFESSOR WITH REAL PEOPLE SKILLS

Emma DeVries spent three years as Prof. VanHorn’s student, first in GIS courses, then as his research/lab assistant, and finally as his assistant on a trip to Ethiopia.  

“He’s basically ruined me for all professors and bosses. He’s just so nice and supportive. And encouraging—that’s the number one word I would use to describe him,” she said.  

AN EXPERT IN HIS FIELD

According to Emma, he’s more than just a nice prof. He knows his stuff, too.  

“He’s very brilliant. He’s not the type to drop names, but his PhD advisor [at The Ohio State University] is probably the most well-known geographer in the country.”  

At Calvin, the nicest professors can be the most challenging ones too, and Prof. Van Horn is no different. He has high expectations of his students and pushes them to create maps that show sophisticated data analysis in a visually compelling way. But again, as is typical at Calvin, the nicest, most challenging professors also work very hard to make learning accessible to students.  

“His care and his expertise come together in the fact that he writes his own labs and updates them every semester. Many GIS professors would simply use labs created by GIS companies, but he uses his abilities to be on the cutting edge of the technology and bring us to the cutting edge as well,” said Emma. 

VERGE: fall 2012

GIS: A New Kind of Mapping
After-hours at Calvin
Financial Aid
From model airplanes to the Dreamliner
Get your tickets
Grads in fashion
Immersion into India
Meet the athlete: Miles Colago
RE-IGKNIGHT: Igniting a shift of focus
First-year experience: First-Year Experience: Matt Medendorp
Gallery: Instagram It!
Faculty Profile: Professor Jason VanHorn, geography
Alumni Profile: The liberal arts and Broadway
There's 4 years worth of CITY here
×
First-Year Experience
People
Places
  • How you spend your time in college is probably going to look a little different from how you spent it in high school (goodbye study hall!) Check out these schedules from real freshmen to get a feel for how your day might look at Calvin.

    Kurt Delos-Trino »
    Major:
    Nursing
    Minor:
    Youth ministry
    Home:
    Castle Rock, Colorado
    Ansley Kelly »
    Major:
    Literature
    Minor:
    Pre-Medicine
    Home:
    McKean, Pennsylvania
  • We'd like to introduce to some pretty cool people. They're doing some pretty great things, both at Calvin and beyond.

    Professor Debra Bossenbroek & Suzan Couzens, nursing Professor Debra Bossenbroek & Suzan Couzens, nursing »
  • When you choose Calvin, you choose Grand Rapids, too. Thankfully, GR is the kind of place you won't mind spending four years, with more new restaurants, shops and events opening all the time!

    There's 4 Years of PLAY Here There's 4 Years of FUN Here