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The HSUS Announces Winners of Animals and Society Course Awards for 2009

WASHINGTON — The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, is pleased to announce the winners of the 11th annual Animals and Society Course awards. This prestigious award recognizes academic excellence in college and university classes that explore the relationships between animals and people.

"Looking over the 11 years that we have recognized the best higher education classes about animals and society, one can't but be impressed with the dramatic expansion in diversity and depth now in the typical course syllabus," said Kenneth Shapiro, Ph.D., executive director of the Animals and Society Institute.

Of the 19 submissions received, several were from universities overseas — including institutions in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Award categories include the Distinguished New Course Award and the Distinguished Established Course Award. Course judges from The HSUS and the Animals and Society Institute use criteria such as depth and rigor within the topic, impact on the study of animals and society and originality of approach.

The academic departments of the established and new course award winners will each receive $1,500.

Distinguished New Course Award: "Animals in American Culture"

Brett Mizzelle, Associate Professor in history, California State University, Long Beach (Long Beach, Calif.)

This course takes on the academic challenge of integrating literature from many fields, including many post-modernist contributions that many students (and scholars) find daunting.  At the same, the course challenges students at a personal level by requiring them to write an essay applying the concepts learned to their personal relationships with other animals.

Distinguished Established Course Award: "Human-Companion Animal Interaction"

Rebecca A. Johnson, Professor of gerontological nursing, College of Veterinary  Medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia (Columbia, Mo.)

This undergraduate course is directed to pre-professional students interested in animal-assisted activity and therapy. Although the course is predicated on the benefits to humans of human-companion animal relationships, Johnson effectively considers a broad range of issues impacting nonhuman as well as human animals. As AAA and AAT are burgeoning fields, it is desirable that students benefit from exposure to relevant literature and information, especially the science bearing on program efficacy, animal welfare science and ethics.


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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