Contemporary Animal Services Pathways

Hello to our contemporary animal service friends, welcome to Southern Utah University (SUU) and the Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS) Program! We offer a graduate emphasis in Contemporary Animal Services Leadership (CASL) through our master of interdisciplinary studies (MIS) degree. A first ever in the nation!

We are so excited to partner with Best Friends Animal Society, and our University Community & Professional Development (CPD) Office to bring you several contemporary services leadership educational pathways for those either in the contemporary animal service field, or those wanting to be in it.

Here are our 4 pathways to get you started:
**Note: Only nine (9) 5000-level graduate credits can be applied to the MIS degree.

Best Friends Executive Leadership Certification (BFELC)

  • A vetted leadership training program run by BFAS.
  • BFELC graduates can earn six (6) SUU graduate credits and apply them toward the MIS degree under the Contemporary Animal Services Leadership (CASL) emphasis.**
  • If you were selected by BFAS to be in their BFELC, apply through SUU’s CPD Office to learn how to earn your 6-graduate credits and apply them toward the MIS degree.

Best Friends Professional Development Symposium

Principles of Contemporary Animal Leadership (POCAS)

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS) Emphasis in Contemporary Animal Services Leadership (CASL)

You can earn 9-18 graduate credits in contemporary animal services leadership (CASL). See coursework below. The first track is for those not in the BFELC. The second track is for those who are graduates of the BFELC.

Visit the SUU Catalog for information about classes and block requirements.

  • Contemporary Animal Services Leadership (CASL) - 18 credits
    • Students are able to complete this learning block in place of two 9-credit learning blocks.
  • Contemporary Animal Services Leadership (CASL) - ELC Graduates - 9 credits
    • For Best Friends Animal Society Executive Leadership Certification (ELC) program graduates.

To enroll in the MIS degree with CASL emphasis, contact MIS Program Enrollment Advisor, Lydia Lee at or (435) 865-8463, or simply complete the online MIS Application.

These are exciting times in the contemporary animal services field. And SUU’s honored, through our Best Friends Animal Society partner, and our University Community & Professional Development (CPD) Office, to be leading the way by providing educational pathways in this field.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. My cell is (435) 879-1301. You can also reach me at or make a calendar appointment.

Looking forward to hearing from you! In the meantime, keep doing great things! :)

Cynthia Kimball Davis, Ph.D.
MIS Program Director