The Department of Animal Science is one of the largest of its kind, with more than 1,250 undergraduate students, 130 graduate students, and 60 faculty members. The quality of education provided, including knowledge and skill development, is significantly influenced by student and stakeholder engagement and is not limited to a classroom environment. Efforts in this Area of Excellence are based on aligning the student educational experience with industry needs, as well as enhancing public perception and understanding of animal science. We are committed to providing transformational education for all students. Examples include but are not limited to the implementation of a data-driven undergraduate curriculum revision, increased independent graduate student research and teaching opportunities, development and expansion of online learning programs, study abroad experiences, competing on or coaching competitive teams, participation in government and/or industry-supported internships, as well as efforts in interdisciplinary and multi-investigator driven research, teaching and Extension projects. In addition to producer and consumer-focused engagement experiences, such as the Beef Cattle Short Course, IBCA, and Camps Brisket and Barbecue, there is also an annual focus on youth programs, including livestock and judging camps (700 future students), judging contests (3,000 future students), as well as stock shows including skillathons and science fairs (700 future students). Aligning opportunities with industry and public priorities is facilitated via feedback from an External Advisory Council, former students, industry leaders, and program participants.
Our goal is to serve as a global leader in practices of student and stakeholder engagement in animal science. Our vision is to enhance the educational experience and appreciation of animal agriculture, create industry advocates and improve consumer understanding of animal science. This specialization will improve our students’ and stakeholders’ knowledge, skills, and competency, including producers, industry professionals, and the public.