20 Outstanding Animal Science Professors

Whether you’re interested in new ways to make better beef or how to grow bigger chickens, Animal Science is the unique program that will allow you to feed the world. Often, the best programs benefit from professors who are actively researching new and more effective ways to keep food animals and the people who eat them safer and healthier. And, these teachers are willing to share their knowlege through a combination of science, hands-on instruction, and laboratory work. Still, even the best mentor won’t help if you’re not excited about what they teach. Here are the 20 best animal science instructors from across the US, with interests as unique and innovative as your own. 

J. Daryl Tatum, PhD

J. Daryl Tatum, PhD

Colorado State University

Dr. Tatum is very active in educating both his students and colleagues. He has served as the President of the National Livestock Grading and Marketing Association (1982) as well as of the Intercollegiate Meat Coaches Association (1989). His research with cattle has earned him awards with the ASAS (Young Scientist Award, 1999) and the National Association of Meat Purveyor's (Edcuator's Award, 2001), and several distinguished teaching awards. He currently teaches Live Animal and Carcass Evaluation.

Shawn Archibeque, PhD

Shawn Archibeque, PhD

Colorado State University

Dr. Archibeque is heavily involved in both education and professional organizations such as the ASAS. He currently serves as the Director-at-Large for 2016, as well as an active member of the Board of Directors. Before teaching, Archibeque worked for the USDA Meat Animal Research Center developing ways to minimize the environmental impact of close-cage animal husbandry. He currently teaches Ruminant Nutrition at Colorado State. 

Elisabeth J. Huff-Lonergan

Elisabeth J. Huff-Lonergan

Iowa State University

Dr. Huff-Lonergan is very active in the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), acting as a member of the editorial board for the affiliated publication, the Journal of Animal Science. She also is the acting Director-at-Large of the ASAS for the 2016 year. In her academic work she is known for provocative research regarding post-mortem conversion of meat and muscle. 

Michael Dikeman, PhD

Michael Dikeman, PhD

Kansas State University

During his 42 years of teaching, Dr. Dikeman has taught over 9,000 students, published more than 420 journal papers, and taught over 600 courses. In a revolutionary co-publication with Dr. John Pollack, Dikeman was instrumental in developing the first environmental product declarations for meat tenderness. He has won numerous teaching awards including the USDA-NASULGC award and the ASAS Excellence in Teaching Award. He is also the Past President of the FASS. 

Dennis Hallford, PhD

Dennis Hallford, PhD

New Mexico State University

Dr. Hallford is a distinguished professor of Animal Science at New Mexico State University, mostly due to the flair and wit he brings to his reproductive physiology and endocrinology classrooms. Hallford is also a contributing Editor for the Journal of Animal Science (Animal Production Division), and the Past Western Director of the ASAS (2004-2007). He currently teaches Animal Physiology Techniques, Endocrinology of Pregnancy, and Cardiovascular and Neural Physiology. 

Greg Lardy, PhD

Greg Lardy, PhD

North Dakota State University

In addition to his work as a professor and the Department Head of the Animal Science program at North Dakota State University, Dr. Lardy also acts as the Past President of the ASAS. In addition, he recently won the ASAS Extension Award (2010). His research and courses are focused on his passion - cow/calf management and byproduct usage. A celebrated speaker, he has presented at over 550 events. 

Terry D. Etherton, PhD

Terry D. Etherton, PhD

Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Etherton is both a professor of Animal Nutrition and the Department Head of the Penn State Animal Science Program. His understanding of biotechnology and animal nutrition have earned him international acclaim. He earned the Hoffmann-LaRoche Animal Growth and Development Research Award from the ASAS (1990) and the Northeast American Society of Animal Science Young Scientist Award (1986). He currently serves as the President of the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) and is Past President of the ASAS.

Fuller Bazer, PhD

Fuller Bazer, PhD

Texas A&M

Dr. Bazer is a distiguished professor and the OD Butler Chair of the Physiology of Reproduction at Texas A&M University. He has been influential in molding the program at both Texas and the University of Florida. He has received many awards for his reproduction research from organizations like the ASAS, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Society for Reproduction and Fertility (SRF). 

H. Russell Cross, PhD

H. Russell Cross, PhD

Texas A&M

Over the past 40 years, Dr. Cross has been managing, leading, and teaching at all levels of education and government. He served as the Administrator of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service under President's Bush and Clinton. In addition, he founded the International HACCP Alliance and acted as the Vice President of DuPont Food Industry Solutions. He currently teaches and acts as the Department Head for Animal Science at Texas A&M.

Teresa A. Davis, PhD

Teresa A. Davis, PhD

Texas A&M

Dr. Davis's work as the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Nutrition, in addition to her experience as the Director-at-Large for the ASAS, give her a unique perspective on Animal Science. As a nutritionist primarily, she is very engaged in ways to increase the nutritional value of animals as they are raised. Her most recent research includes using amino acids to increase the skeletal muscle in pigs. 

Michael Galyean, PhD

Michael Galyean, PhD

Texas Tech University

Not only has Dr. Galyean become an influential part of the Texas Tech Animal Science Department in addition to the New Mexico State University and Texas A&M programs. Galyean earned local and national recognition for his streamlined animal processes leading to the ASAS Animal Management Award (2006) and Morrison Award (2012). He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Animal Science and a Past President of the ASAS.

Paul Beck, PhD

Paul Beck, PhD

University of Arkansas

Dr. Beck has been a teacher and researcher of animal nutrition (specifically cattle) since 2008. His research on grass, grain, and co-products in cattle diets have earned him over $1,2 million in funding and the recent Early Career Achievement Award from the ASAS. In addition to his teaching and research, he has written over 250 publications and participated in over 160 Extension meetings. 

Alison L. Van Eenennaam, PhD

Alison L. Van Eenennaam, PhD

University of California - Davis

Dr. Eenennamm is a nationally recognized Animal Science researcher and teacher at UC-Davis. In addition to teaching courses in Animal Genomics and Biotechnology, she acts as the school's Cooperative Extension Specialist. Her research activities have earned her the National Award for Excellence in Extension (American Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, 2010), the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) Western Extension Award, and the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) Bronze Award. 

Mary E. Delany, PhD

Mary E. Delany, PhD

University of California - Davis

Dr. Delany teaches Developmental Genetics at one of the most prestigious Animal Science colleges in the US. In addition, she pursues research regarding avian telomere biology - regulation of chicken in vitro and in vivo cells. She is widely published in journals such as the Journal of Heredity and In Avian Immunology. Students call her "Very friendly," and willing to mentor students, even if they're not Animal Science majors.

Steven A. Zinn, PhD

Steven A. Zinn, PhD

University of Connecticut

In addition to being both a professor and the Department Head of the UConn Animal Science Program, Dr. Zinn manages to make his mark on the professional world of Animal Science. He teaches Animal Science Learning and Undergraduate Honors Thesis Writing in addition to his duties as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Animal Science and Animal Frontiers. He also served on the President's Athletic Advisory Committee (2008-2008).

Surendranath P. Suman, PhD

Surendranath P. Suman, PhD

University of Kentucky

Although teaching isn't his main focus, Dr. Suman's students benefit from his immense connections with the forefront of meat quality research. He currently teaches Animal Food Products, Sensory Evaluation of Foods, and Food Pigments, but his real focus is on speaking, acting as a peer reviewer, and continued research on improving color stability in meats. Suman is also the 2013 recipient of the ASAS Early Career Achievement Award.

Debra K. Aaron, PhD

Debra K. Aaron, PhD

University of Kentucky

In addition to her work as a professor of Beef Cattle Genetics, Dr. Aaron also serves as the President of the ASAS. In addition, Aaron is part of the NCERA-214 Committee working on ways to increase sheep production efficiency in the Northeast region. She has published numerous articles in the Journal of Animal Science and was a key contributor to Swine Nutrition, Second Edition. Her students find her to be a tough grader, but interesting when focused on her passion of animal efficiency. 

Marshall D. Stern, PhD

Marshall D. Stern, PhD

University of Minnesota

Dr. Stern is a prolific teacher and his skill has earned him an array of national awards. In 2014, he received the ASAS Fellow Award in Teaching to match his ASAS Distinguished Teacher Award from 2010. He also received the American Dairy Science Association Teaching Award in 2006. Stern currently teaches a full load, including Animal Nutrition, Companion Animal Nutrition, Companion Animal Hot Button Issues and Ruminant Nutrition. 

Bryon R. Wiegand, PhD

Bryon R. Wiegand, PhD

University of Missouri

Dr. Wiegand is known as one of the best Animal Science teachers in the nation. In addition to mentoring students interested in meat science and muscle biology, he teaches several graduate level courses. Not only did he receive the Midwest Section ASAS 2009 Outstanding Teacher Award and University of Missouri 2011 Provost’s Junior Faculty Teaching Award, but he also earned the National ASAS Outstanding Teacher Award in 2012. 

Michael F. Smith, PhD

Michael F. Smith, PhD

University of Missouri

Of all the professors on this list, Dr. Smith is the one who is most nationally recognized for his teaching skills. In addition to being a celebrated animal physiologist and endocrinologist, Smith has won numerous awards for his mentoring and in-depth lectures. He has received the ASAS Distinguished Teaching Award (2008), USDA Regional Teaching Award (2010), and Society for the Study of Reproduction Trainee Mentoring Award (2008).

Methodology

Each of the members on this list have been chosen through careful research based on the following criteria:

  1. Active Teaching. All of these professors are actively teaching or mentoring students at an accredited college.
  2. Publication. Many of these professors have been published in online or print professional journals.
  3. Thought Leadership. Professors on this list have been chosen due to their leadership in the Animal Science community, based on speaking engagements or research contribution.
  4. Extracurricular Involvement. Each of these individuals are involved in both teaching and outside professional engagements, such as animal science education, advocacy and activism groups.
Barry Franklin (Editor)

Barry is the Managing Editor of VetTechColleges.com, operated by educational web publisher Sechel Ventures Partners LLC, which he co-founded. Previously, Barry served as a VP at a Silicon Valley software company. In addition to running editorial operations at Sechel, Barry also serves on the Board of Trustees at a local K-8 school, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. He presently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his family and their black maltipoo.