Best Friends Animal Society and SUU Expanding Partnership

Published: July 10, 2020 | Author: Haven Scott | Read Time: 3 minutes

Best Friends Animal Society and SUU Expanding PartnershipAfter a successful partnership launch between Best Friends Animal Society and Southern Utah University to provide animal services and leadership training, the two entities are now moving forward to offer even more educational programming that includes a certificate earning opportunity and a master’s degree emphasis.

The new Principles of Contemporary Animal Services (POCAS) online certificate program offers an introduction to modern-day animal services for those who want to advance in their profession, or prepare for a career in the field. With content curated in partnership with BestFriends Animal Society and leading practitioners and researchers in the field, participants will gain an awareness and understanding of animal services from some of the best practitioners in the nation.

“The POCAS certificate creates an opportunity for all to learn more about lifesaving animal services and offers a pathway into the field for anyone interested in the profession,” said National Director of Leadership Advancement at Best Friends Animal Society, Tawny Hammond.

The six-week certificate program offers an introduction to the contemporary animal services profession. This 29-hour online learning experience serves as a potential entry point to advanced education opportunities resulting in three earned credits that can matriculate into an undergraduate or master’s degree at Southern Utah University. Choose from more than 40 bachelor degree programs or participating master's degrees: Master of Interdisciplinary Studies, Master of Public Administration, and Master of Business Administration.

SUU Executive Director of Community & Professional Development Melynda Thorpe said the Institutional Certificate will represent the academic rigor, engagement and achievement involved in learning the contemporary practices and principles in the field of animal services.

“This new certificate program also gives participants the opportunity to engage with an accredited higher education institution to determine if they want to continue their education through to a master’s degree with an emphasis in animal services,” Thorpe said.

With SUU’s Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS), an emphasis in Contemporary Animal Services Leadership is now just one of more than 18 MIS learning blocks offered through the program; notably ranked third best Online MIS degree in the nation by Best College Reviews.

“One of my favorite parts about the MIS Contemporary Animal Services Leadership learning block is there is now essentially a master’s degree, on the national level, in animal services,” said Cynthia Kimball Davis, Ph.D., MIS program director. “Particularly since students can now choose to study from 9-18 credits to help prepare them for positions in animal services. This is a game-changer in the field.”

For more information about educational programs curated in partnership with Best Friends Animal Society (Executive Leadership Certificate, SUU Institutional Certificate in Principles of Contemporary Animal Services, or MIS learning block, and Best Friends Professional Development Symposium), visit

Located in the world’s best backyard, Southern Utah University is the official “University of the Parks” thanks to its close proximity to several outdoor recreational areas and its educational partnerships with the National Park Service. SUU’s Community & Professional Development program offers opportunities for working adults to advance in their careers and pursue educational goals by providing access to a number of in-person and online training, certificates, conferences and adult study abroad programs.

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of companion animals in America’s shelters by 2025. In addition to providing lifesaving programs in partnership with more that 2,800 animal welfare groups across the country, Best Friends also has regional centers in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City, and operates the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals in Kanab, Utah.

Tags: Regional Services Community and Professional Development Interdisciplinary Studies Animal Services

Contact Information:

Contact the Office of Marketing Communication