As some of you may know, I was recently named director of the LSU School of Animal Sciences after serving in that capacity on an interim basis for the past several months. This new appointment is in addition to my duties as an associate vice president of the LSU AgCenter.
Faculty in the School of Animal Sciences and I are in the process of overhauling the curriculum in order to better prepare students for the workforce. The school has 440 undergraduate students, which is the most of any department in the College of Agriculture. We owe it to them — and to future of the animal industry — to lay a strong educational foundation so they can succeed in their careers.
Whether someone wants to become a cattle rancher or a veterinarian or a laboratory researcher, being knowledgeable of the field as a whole — as opposed to just one specialized area — is crucial. Our goal is that no student graduates without an understanding of key areas such as animal nutrition, judging, genetics and reproduction.
All students are now required to take the same set of basic courses. They can select additional courses from three concentration areas: animal production, animal processing, and science and technology. Students interested in a pre-vet route can pursue the 3+1 program with the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine.
We have created new classes on basic animal husbandry, equine topics and meat products as well as added laboratory components to existing courses. We also are working to hire additional faculty members.
All students are being encouraged to complete an internship. Students who do so are more attractive job candidates, and because they already have some hands-on experience in the industry, they often make an easier transition into the “real world” after graduation.
The updated curriculum will be in full effect next academic year. We are confident it will have positive results for both students and faculty.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture