Janice Swanson, PhD, has been appointed acting chair of the Department of Animal Science at Michigan State University. Swanson will assume this role May 16, 2010 and will continue through a search process in 2011.
Swanson succeeds Karen Plaut who has accepted a position as director of Agricultural Research Programs in the College of Agriculture at Purdue University.
"Dr. Swanson's international reputation in the animal sciences and her keen understanding of research, teaching and outreach will help Michigan State University continue to support farmers, students and Michigan's economy," says Jeffrey Armstrong, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU.
Swanson joined MSU in 2007 as director of Animal Welfare at MSU. She coordinates outreach, teaching and research in the area of farm animal behavior and welfare with a focus on social responsibility in the food system. She holds faculty appointments in the Department of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
"I'm looking forward to continuing to work with our outstanding scientists and educators to ensure that the needs of our stakeholders—throughout Michigan, nationally and globally—are being met," Swanson said.
Swanson received a PhD in applied animal ethology from the University of Maryland and masters and baccalaureate degrees in animal science from the University of Connecticut. She was a technical information specialist with the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal Welfare Information Center from 1987 to 1992. In April of 1992, she joined the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University. While at Kansas State, Swanson led a department international program, taught undergraduate and graduate courses in domestic animal behavior and welfare, served in various leadership roles at KSU, and provided outreach and service to industry and other stakeholder organizations.. In 2004 Swanson was awarded the Northcentral Region Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences by the Higher Education Programs of the United States Department of Agriculture. She served as the interim department head prior to accepting her position at Michigan State in July 2007.
In addition to her academic responsibilities at MSU, Swanson provides scientific service on numerous national scientific animal welfare advisory committees and councils. She currently serves on the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) Committee on Animal Care and recently co-chaired the FASS Guide Revision Committee that produced the third edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching an internationally recognized guide for the care of farm animals. Swanson is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Animal Science, the senior vice president of the International Society for Applied Ethology, and a diplomat in the College of Applied Animal Behavior Sciences of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.
The Department of Animal Science at MSU has a strong tradition of education and research for the safe, nutritious and economical production of animal food and fiber, and of animals for recreational purposes, without compromising the environment or jeopardizing the health and well being and farm animals and farm communities. The department provides educational leadership through high-quality courses, research and MSU Extension programs to enhance human capital and ensure that Michigan farmers and their communities remain productive and profitable.