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Educational opportunities are a reflection of what society considers important. Topics that have value are available for study. We see this phenomenon when schools must cut programs because of budgetary concerns, which is why it’s clear to anyone paying attention that music, art and physical education are, regrettably, at the bottom of our priorities as a society and are often the first to be cut.
We also see what areas are of value when new programs and positions are developed. We saw it when Frank Ascione  became the first professor of an endowed chair that was established to focus on the human-animal bond and animal-assisted therapies . And we’re seeing evidence of it in an exciting new program at Duquesne University. The Humane Leadership Bachelor’s Degree Program  is the first online humane program in the country. Its courses are directed towards animal care and animal control professionals with a goal of teaching students in the program to become agents of change in their communities to improve the lives of animals. Enrollment is open for Spring 2011.
The courses in the program include:
Animal Health and Behavior in a Shelter Environment
First Strike: Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence
Studies in Humane Education
Fundraising, Philanthropy and Resource Development
Nonprofit Board of Directors
Strategic Planning and Organizational Effectiveness
Human Resource and Volunteer Management
Marketing and Public Relations
As the value of humane treatment of animals continues to be recognized and even to grow in importance, more and more opportunities to learn about it will be developed. In recent years, programs to teach kids about animals and the compassion, respect, responsibility and kindness  they are due have been developed for use in secondary educations in places such as San Francisco and New Jersey.