In the academic field, there has been a longstanding void when it comes to programs that incorporate animal protection concerns. While there is a growing body of literature and research and while animal studies is a rapidly growing field, courses still number only about 100 nationwide, and only a handful of academic programs exist. As a result, the study of animals has largely been left to animal science, agricultural science, veterinary, and wildlife management departments, where consideration of animal welfare is limited and there is typically an industry tie-in to the study and research. What’s more, these programs offer few career paths for animal advocates.
That’s all about to change. This year, our educational affiliate, Humane Society University (HSU), became the first higher education institution exclusively devoted to providing academic curriculum in animal protection studies.
In March, HSU was licensed by the D.C. Education Commission to offer online bachelor degrees and graduate certificates in humane leadership, animal studies, and animal policy and advocacy. This past fall, we enrolled our first students and launched our first term of classes.
Our faculty includes internationally recognized scholars in almost every discipline, including some of The HSUS’s own academic thought leaders. By developing a rigorous curriculum, we hope to see serious research across a variety of disciplines and to produce graduates from these programs who can then occupy career positions in our field.
Our second term will begin in January, so be sure to take a look at the course offerings. Courses are offered online, with a select few also available in classroom or hybrid formats in Washington, D.C., and you can take classes individually or as part of a degree or certificate program. You can find all of the information at humanesocietyuniversity.org.
Education and professional development are a priority at The HSUS and, beyond these new degree programs, we continue to expand our offerings. For advocates wanting to hone their campaigning skills, we run a noncredit, online advocacy course series. For humane educators we offer a cluster of online courses, including the Certified Humane Education Specialist program. And we continue to offer dozens of on-site workshops and online courses on disaster animal response training, emergency animal sheltering, compassion fatigue, trap-neuter-release, the animal cruelty-human violence connection, solving conflicts with wildlife, and other topics.
If you’ve ever wanted to improve your understanding of animal issues, or to gain qualifications for a particular aspect of humane work, or to pave the way for employment in the field, these new HSU courses represent a gateway opportunity. Please think about enrolling in a course or two in 2010 or taking advantage of our other learning opportunities.