Go, Bob, go!
Bob Barker this week donated $1 million to the creation of the college professorship we’ve all been waiting for: an animal rights-focused undergraduate program. The donation to his alma mater, tiny liberal arts-focused Drury University in Springfield, Mo., is the second of two million-dollar donations Barker has gifted to Drury; the first, made last fall, established an animal rights forum and brought to life a single class in animal ethics, taught for the first time this semester. Prof. Patricia McEachern, professorship awardee, will develop this class into an undergraduate degree-granting program in AR studies with Barker’s help, using the funds gifted this year. The AP reports: “McEachern said it is too early to know how soon the animal rights program could be started, but she hopes to add two more courses to the program in the next two years. Drury would first offer animal rights as a minor before students can major in it.” Check out the donation in action here.
Drury’s is one of the few US college animal rights courses (compared to, say, classes on human ethics) I’ve heard of, outside of those that focus on bioethics. I speak from experience when I say that it’s tough out there for a college student who wants to focus on non-human issues with the guidance of knowledgeable professors with even vaguely similar goals. Often there is only one professor in a given university with any modicum of expertise in animal rights discourse, and then she goes on leave and what do you do? (You write about Shakespeare.)
So three cheers for Bob Barker, Drury University, and animal studies programs! May there be a master’s and a Ph.D program coming soon!