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Brian Ogle, Anthrozoology instructor Beacon College this fall becomes the second American college or university to offer an undergraduate major in anthrozoology, the college announced Wednesday.

Beacon College, the first accredited higher-education institution to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students who learn differently, joins Carroll College in Montana, as the only U.S. schools offering this new field of study.

Anthrozoology examines the science of human-animal relationship. It’s a field popularized recently through widely reported news stories including Cecil the Lion, Blackfish, and the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla incident, says Brian Ogle, a Beacon anthrozoology instructor.

Beacon students will explore various intersections of human society and non-human animals. Major topics include zoos, pet ownership, animals as food, conflict with wildlife, and animals in entertainment. Students will gain theoretical knowledge and applied skills in multiple animal-focused industries.

“Anthrozoology combines traditional science skills that can be taught in our existing facilities with the modern evolution of biological sciences to fit into our traditional liberal-arts culture,” Ogle says. “The nature of the program will allow our students to thrive in a science program and prepare them to successfully enter into the workforce.”

Groundwork on Beacon’s ninth major began spring 2015. The college’s Interdisciplinary Studies Department, Academic & Curriculum Committee and Board of Trustees approved it and the 10-month process recently concluded with a thumbs up from Beacon’s accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

“This major exemplifies our dedication and commitment to innovative curriculum and instructional practices that sets Beacon College apart from any other college,” Ogle says. “It is very exciting to be a part of leading and shaping the future of the field.”


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