Department Contact Information:
Francis Worldwide Dean: Dr. Tricia McFadden
Francis Worldwide Director: Mrs. Sherri Link, Academic & Student Affairs
Name of Chair: Dr. Marnie Moist
Name of Coordinator (if applicable): Dr. Shlomit Flaisher-Grinberg
The “Animal-Assisted Health & Education” (AAHE) Minor is designed to explore the therapeutic, educational, and interactive integration of animals into various professions and practices. Students who enroll into the program will learn how to create, implement, and evaluate animal-assisted health & education interactions in which a therapist/healthcare professional/educator and an animal become partners in the mission to improve human health and performance. With a focus on human physiological and psychological functioning (sensorimotor, cognitive, communicative, emotional, motivational, and behavioral), students will learn how to choose the most appropriate animal for their goals (including the animals’ competencies, needs and constraints), assess the needs of their target population, and design an AAHE program that will facilitate safe and conducive interactions between humans and animals. Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to apply their acquired knowledge to the environment of their interest (e.g., educational classrooms, clinics, hospitals or hospices, counseling centers, nursing homes, criminal justice system, private practices) and to the population of their focus (e.g., children, youth, elderly), achieving desired outcomes and acting as ambassadors of animal care and welfare.
The curriculum will review the differences between animal-assisted therapy, education, and activities (all representing different types of “animal-assisted interventions”, AAIs) and prepare students to incorporate carefully selected and purposefully trained animals into goal-directed human-animal interactions in order to improve human functioning. Course work will include the history of the field of AAI, scientific evaluation of the benefits of human-animal interactions, and the best practices used to safely apply animal-assisted interventions to a variety of individuals in different environments. Students will gain skills in animals’ handling, care and management, animals’ behavioral assessment, animals’ stress reduction and prevention, human-animal interaction, research design and statistical analysis, animal-assisted intervention program formulation, documentation and assessment. This hybrid certificate program will include online modules as well as a single residency-based hands-on components (an animal behavior workshop), to help tie all elements together in a coherent, holistic fashion.
Although this program focuses on the human side of AAHE, graduates will receive the knowledge required to act as advocates for animals which are a part of an AAHE program, and thus have the capacity to design AAHE sessions devoid of animal-exploitation, neglect, misuse or maltreatment.
Graduates of the program will receive the certificate “Animal-Assisted Health & Education Specialist” (“AAHES”).
Student Learning Outcomes:
Upon the successful completion of the program, students will be able to apply their acquired knowledge to the design and delivery of safe and productive animal-assisted interactions in different environments (e.g., educational classrooms, clinics, hospitals or hospices, counseling centers, nursing homes, criminal justice system, private practices) and with a variety of populations (e.g., children, youth, elderly), aiming to achieve desired outcomes and act as ambassadors of animal care and welfare.
- Knowledge of general animal assisted interventions
- Knowledge of basic animal behavior
- Application of basic animal training using positive reinforcement methods
- Knowledge and application of risk reduction in AAI’s
- Application of intentional practice through session planning in AAI’s
- Knowledge and application of methods used for assessment, interpretation and use of animals’ responses in meaningful ways.
- Scientific inquiry, social responsibility and communication skills
- Socio-cultural and international awareness
- Personal development, career planning and educational development
Estimated Completion Time:
This is an 18-credit certificate program that can take between 2-2.5 years for completion.