I was surprised to learn that the fringe animal rights activist group, the Humane Society of the United States, has formed the Humane Society University which was recently granted a license to grant bachelor’s degrees in three areas; animal studies, animal policy and advocacy, or humane leadership. They also are licensed to grant certificates for graduate study in those same areas. Required courses are offered online or at their Washington DC site starting autumn term in 2009.
All students, who must have attained junior status elsewhere, are required to take two courses: Animal Protection as a Social Movement and Animals and Ethics. In addition, the interdisciplinary Animal Studies major also requires several more courses; Understanding the Human Animal Bond, Sociology of Animal Abuse, Animals in Literature, Global Animal Issues, and Animal Protection and the Environment. The Animal Policy and Advocacy degree requires courses in Research Methods for Humane Change, Animals and Public Policy, and Animals, Advocacy and Corporate Change. The Humane Leadership degree requires a variety of courses in “humane content,” including Humane Education and Animal Cruelty and Interpersonal Violence, as well core courses in nonprofit management.
Robert Roop, the Humane Society University’s president, expects that 60 to 70 percent of the university’s students will receive their education online.
“It’s the only program like it in the United States,” gloated Roop. “There’s nothing even close to compare to it.”
Roop is, of course, ignoring the fact that university biology, zoology and veterinary departments throughout the country already offer plenty of courses about animals and animal care. Further, a university education is about scholarship and critical thinking — not conforming to a specific prepackaged agenda. Based on their behavior, H$U$ has proven that they are completely incapable of thinking critically about anything, so how can they be capable of teaching the critical thinking skills that are necessary to obtain a university degree? Their narrow-minded agenda lacks basic understanding of ethics and — contrary to modern American mythology — also lacks practical animal care expertise because HSUS does not own any shelters in this country according to their own admission. (HSUS funds — raised through tax-free donations and by selling animal euthanasia manuals — are devoted to lobbying, six-figure salaries and fancy office space).
Second, this “university” is hiring only temporary adjunct professors to do all their teaching. Not only is this abusive to their professors who are paid shitty below poverty-level wages without any benefits or job security, but this is abusive to the students, who cannot rely on any consistency in the quality of their education when they have a different professor each term.
While I am not surprised that H$US thinks they are qualified to teach university courses nor that they are hiring adjuncts to do all their teaching, I am surprised that they don’t require two other courses for all their degrees; one in rifle care and marksmanship and the other in bomb making.
I refuse to link to that so-called “university.”