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(L-R) Martin Stephens, HSUS; Patricia Anderson; John Wozniak, department chair; Barbara Baily, associate provost

National Humane Society Honors Western Illinois Faculty Member for Anthrozoology Course

December 5, 2003

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University Assistant Anthropology Professor Patricia Anderson was recently presented an award for her course on Anthrozoology by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

As the recipient of the HSUS’ Award for Excellence in a New Animals and Society Course, Anderson received a framed certificate and the Western Illinois sociology and anthropology department received a $1,500 prize. The presentation to Anderson was made on campus Oct. 31 by Dr. Martin Stephens, HSUS Vice President for Animal Research Issues.

Three Animals and Society Course Awards, open to U.S. and Canadian institutions, are presented annually by the HSUS.

“The aim of these prizes is to raise the profile of the study of animals and highlight excellence in this field,” said Stephens.

Anderson, a 1978 alumna of Western’s sociology and anthropology department, returned to her alma mater in 1999 as a faculty member. Anthrozoology, a graduate-level course, is the second experimental course Anderson has developed at Western. The first, a senior-level Forensic Anthropology course developed in Spring 2001, has been approved as a new course and will be offered annually beginning Spring 2004.

She developed and taught the Anthrozoology course in Spring 2003, and taught it again this fall. The course, which is being reviewed as a possible permanent course at Western, is the scientific interdisciplinary study of human-animal interaction.

“Few schools in the world have yet to offer a course in Anthrozoology,” said Anderson, a member of the International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ) and an active researcher and publisher in the discipline.

“The course attracted students from the social and life sciences, including veterinary medicine and Western’s post-baccalaureate certificate program in zoo and aquaria studies. Every one of the students gave me the highest evaluation possible for the course; I was blown away because the course means so much to me,” added Anderson.

According to Sociology and Anthropology Department Chair John Wozniak, “This new course by Dr. Anderson has limitless learning applications and most engaging topics for students of all interest to study and apply to their lives. Dr. Anderson’s past track record as a teacher in our department puts her among our top faculty members in terms of teaching evaluations.”

Anderson is an adviser to People, Animals, Nature, Inc. (PAN), a nonprofit organization whose primary goal is to improve the safety and quality of clinical practice in the field of animal assisted therapy. She coauthored and presented a paper at the International Society for Anthrozoology titled “Avian Wellness: The Proper Care of Birds in Institutional Settings.” A new article, “A Bird in the House: An Anthropological Perspective on Companion Parrots,” will be published in Society & Animals: Journal of Human-Animals Studies.

Anderson earned a master’s degree (1983) in geography at Western Illinois. Her master’s equivalency (1987) in anthropology and her Ph.D. (1998) in anthropology are from the University of Chicago.

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