animal sciences

A successful Animal Science program produces graduates that are well-prepared to assume professional roles in the work force or to continue into post-graduate programs. This preparation requires skills and competencies as well as knowledge. Among others, CTAHR Skills and Competencies include analytical/problem solving skills, personal characteristics, human relations skills, and leadership skills. Animal Science Student Learning Outcomes include applying knowledge to appropriate husbandry, developing problem-solving skills for lifetime learning, good citizenship in both personal and professional habits, and exploring the relationship between applied animal biology and society. In their final year, Animal Science students complete a required internship in an area of interest. Supervisor evaluations of these internships provide feedback on the skills and preparation of our students. Supervisors evaluate students in the areas of work performance, professional relationships, professional role, and general/overall. Mean scores for 59 students over the last five years ranged from 86% to 96% with an overall mean of 92%. The only score that was significantly different from the overall mean was 86% for “Initiative to identify needs and proposed solutions.” This appears to be related to a lack of student confidence in their abilities. Of particular interest are the score of 95% for “Would employ student in the future if an opportunity developed,” and the number of students (currently 33%) that end their internships with an offer of employment. Supervisor evaluations provide an objective assessment of student skills and competencies and preparation for a professional role and indicate that Animal Science students are generally well-prepared.

Using Internship Supervisor Evaluations for Program Assessment

A successful Animal Science program produces graduates that are well-prepared to assume professional roles in the work force …

For the BS in Animal Sciences supervisor evaluations from the capstone field experience provide a valuable external check on student achievement of learning objectives. A summary of five years of evaluations of ethical behavior and oral and written communication confirms student success.

Using Field Supervisor Evaluations for Assessment

For the BS in Animal Sciences supervisor evaluations from the capstone field experience provide a valuable external check …

Swine Production is a senior capstone course in which students integrate concepts learned in courses such as nutrition, genetics and reproduction and apply them to practical swine production. Most animal science students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa are urban students interested in veterinary medicine, and little knowledge of or interest in swine production. The department learning objectives include applying principles to livestock production, but having students engage in learning the course material is a challenge. The extension specialist teaching the course tried a new approach in fall, 2013, integrating instruction and extension. Instead of traditional classroom instruction and written reports, teams of three students were sent out to work with a cooperating farmer. The teams described their farm using a list of required information on general farm description, breeding program, feeding program, housing, waste management, health program, production management and economics. The farms were carefully selected to represent different management approaches including varying use of local food waste and agricultural byproducts in the swine rations and different types of housing and waste management. The teams presented the results of farm visits and farmer interviews in class presentations and written reports, which were revised before being submitted in final form to both the instructor and the farmer. The course was designated as developing both oral and written communication skills. Course evaluations indicated that 78% of the students felt that the farm visits and interactions with the farmers were the most valuable part of the course, and 44% mentioned hands-on laboratories (artificial insemination and baby pig processing), while others mentioned constructive feedback, small class size, having to think, oral presentations, and writing. Student journals indicated a strong rapport with and a very positive view of the farmers and farm practices. The farmers changed some of their practices based on student recommendations, most notably adjusting feeding according to condition score. Student grades were assigned using posted rubrics and were equal to or better than in previous years in a more traditional learning environment. The new structure had some challenges. Since this was the first time the course was taught using student engagement with producers, students were informed that some adjustment to assignments and grading rubrics might be made part way through the class and this in fact needed to be done. One example was development of a tool in which the relative contributions of the team members to the group reports were evaluated by all members of each team. Additionally, students were required to sign liability waivers and confidentiality agreements. Students had to use their own cars and to find times when all team members were available for farm visits. Students indicated that the amount of work justified 4 rather than 3 credits for the course.

Integrating Teaching and Extension: Swine Production

Swine Production is a senior capstone course in which students integrate concepts learned in courses such as nutrition, …