Teaching the Nonhuman Animal in Higher Education: Interdisciplinary Experiential Learning

in Society & Animals
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Abstract

As human-animal studies (HAS) scholarship has grown and expanded over the past few decades, so have opportunities to bring nonhuman animals into higher education. This article presents an instructional design option for teaching the animal through interdisciplinary experiential learning. Interdisciplinary learning integrates multidisciplinary knowledge across a central theme while experiential learning encourages learners to move through a recursive process of experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting. The article also reflects on student learning outcomes based on a questionnaire survey conducted five years after the course completion. Preliminary insights reveal the transformative potential of this approach given students’ modified viewpoints, enhanced ethical sensitivity, enlarged horizons, and behavioral changes regarding animals. HAS scholars are encouraged to engage in animal-focused scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education by sharing instructional templates and scholarly research on HAS courses. Doing so will expand opportunities for students to appreciate, critically examine, and positively influence animal lives.

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