So Many Students!

One thing that I would like to see changed within higher education is the reduction of class sizes, particularly at larger universities. I understand that it is more efficient to bring 400+ students into a lecture hall for an hour and present them with the course material and therefore is more desirable to universities. Pushing greater amounts of students through offered programs and courses in a shorter amount of time generates larger funds for universities. At the end of the day, a university is a business and its main goal is to generate money, regardless of the image it is trying to sell. But is this approach the most conducive to student learning? Speaking from my own experience as a student, one can gain a better understanding of lecture material when classes are smaller. I believe this is because they can interact with the professors more and may be willing to ask more questions when they don’t understand the material. Additionally, the instructor may notice when a student is distressed or struggling sooner and reach out to help. With extremely large classes, those that struggle often are lost among the shuffle while those that shine may stand out more. I know this is true of my own experience; I am much more familiar with the 20 students in the lab I TA for than I am with the 80 in a different lecture. I understand it may present more work for the instructors, but the experience is more enriching for students.

Posted in Future Professoriate

Technology within the classroom

According to the 2013 survey by Babson Survey Research Group, the use of social media within the classroom had been steadily increasing with about 40% of the surveyed individuals using social media in their teaching and professional life. While some used sites such as Facebook, the more common platforms were blogging sites. The majority of faculty felt that technology did create a more enriched learning environment and increased their communication with their students. However, the majority also felt that technology was also a problem, stating that it increased stress and workload and was sometimes more distracting than it was beneficial. The distracting nature of technology within the classroom is one of the primary reasons that some professors such as Trevor Logan at Ohio State University are banning digital devices. Ohio State University is an institution that is seeking to incorporate apple technology into all their teaching environment, going so far as to distribute iPads to all their students. Logan stated that he did receive positive feedback from students, felt that they were more focused within the class, and received grades that were better than he had seen in previous years. Additionally, he also felt that they were more interactive with each other during class time.

Based on my own experiences with technology in the classroom, I am divided over the issue. It is a good way to distribute materials and have fun with lectures and learning in general, whether it is study games such as Kahoot or lecture videos on YouTube. Additionally, digital devices make note-taking easier; I just take out my laptop and start writing or typing without worrying about needing enough paper or writing utensils. But, at the same time tech is also very distracting, I often find myself checking my email during class or wanting to answer messages; I may even get distracted by my neighbor’s screen.

Posted in Uncategorized

Open Access

I am doing research within the field of animal reproductive physiology and practices, and I am hoping to get into vet school. Because of this, I chose to investigate the journal Veterinary and Animal Science. This journal is published through Elsevier. The overview does not really explain what open access is, instead it simply states that it is open access. However, when one does view the open-access statement they do find more information on it how they seek to provide permanently free viewing to the reader and still keep the cost down for writers by using additional outside funding. It does limit the reuse of the articles slightly by defining the limits of Creative Commons Attribution and Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs. The journal looks to cover a variety of topics for both animal and veterinary science for many species involved in agriculture. It covers research on everything from pathology and physiology to bioinformatics and food safety.

Posted in Future Professoriate

Women in Animal Agriculture

Agriculture, specifically animal agriculture, has been dominated by older white males with the average age being around 57, according to the 2017 USDA census. As you might imagine this has led to those of the younger generation being subjected to a good deal of antiquated ideology. My experience with this has predominately dealt with the unfair treatment of women stemming from the stigma that women aren’t as qualified in fields relating to production agriculture. I have often been asked to complete task that a female counterpart is equally qualified for, if not more so than I. These tasks often involve animals or some form of manual labor, and another task is not provided for my counterpart to complete. I believe this prejudice often is perpetuated beyond just physical task. Some of my female friend that have worked in feed and farm supply stores have been ignored by clients or been asked to fetch a male associate to help with finding a product or information on one. While this may be acceptable if they were new hires who didn’t have the knowledge the customer needed and a more senior associate was required, it was often not the case. The male would often direct them right back to one of the girls for assistance or repeat what was already said.
I hope this will be changing in the future as higher percentages of women are graduating with degrees in animal science and related field. Virginia Tech for instance graduated an 86% female class of undergraduates from the department of animal and poultry science at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year. As these new, more enlightened individual replace those that are retiring, they should bring a more modern mindset with them.

Posted in Diversity

Mission Statement

Mission Statements

Indian River State College (Ft. Pierce, Florida)

As a leader in education and innovation, Indian River State College transforms lives by offering high-quality, affordable and accessible education to the residents of Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie counties through traditional and online delivery. IRSC is a comprehensive college accredited to award Baccalaureate Degrees, Associate Degrees, and Career and Technical Certificates.

We commit to:

  • Sustain a learning environment that stimulates the intellect and inspires the imagination
  • Provide a comprehensive support system for academic and career success
  • Advance cultural awareness and appreciation of diversity
  • Stimulate economic growth
  • Develop a highly skilled workforce
  • Create partnerships to foster economic development and expand opportunities
  • Provide cultural enrichment and lifelong learning
  • Promote civic responsibility and community engagement
  • Treat all students, employees, and community members fairly and with respect

University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida)

The University of Florida is a comprehensive learning institution built on a land-grant foundation. We are The Gator Nation, a diverse community dedicated to excellence in education and research and shaping a better future for Florida, the nation and the world.

Our mission is to enable our students to lead and influence the next generation and beyond for economic, cultural and societal benefit.

The university welcomes the full exploration of its intellectual boundaries and supports its faculty and students in the creation of new knowledge and the pursuit of new ideas.

  • Teaching is a fundamental purpose of this university at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Research and scholarship are integral to the educational process and to the expansion of our understanding of the natural world, the intellect and the senses.
  • Service reflects the university’s obligation to share the benefits of its research and knowledge for the public good. The university serves the nation’s and the state’s critical needs by contributing to a well-qualified and broadly diverse citizenry, leadership and workforce.

The University of Florida must create the broadly diverse environment necessary to foster multi-cultural skills and perspectives in its teaching and research for its students to contribute and succeed in the world of the 21st century.

These three interlocking elements — teaching, research and scholarship, and service — span all the university’s academic disciplines and represent the university’s commitment to lead and serve the state of Florida, the nation and the world by pursuing and disseminating new knowledge while building upon the experiences of the past. The university aspires to advance by strengthening the human condition and improving the quality of life.


IRSC is a college that was located near my hometown. It was originally a community college and would definitely be considered a smaller school. I feel that their mission statement certainly reflects this; they stated the smaller community that they serve and placed a heavy emphasis on community development/improvement. Additionally they stressing the importance of the students success during and after their time at the college. UF on the other hand is a much larger land grant university, they have a more worldly view, with focus on diversity and world leaders. I believe this difference is due to their differences in size and focus. IRSC is primarily just teaching, while UF is a major research university that draw students from all over the world.

Posted in Future Professoriate


Hello everyone, my name is John McGehee and my pronouns are he/ him.  I am a graduate of the Dairy Science department here at VT and I am currently a first year non-thesis MS student with the department of Animal and Poultry Science. My  program focuses on assisted reproductive technologies. I hope to enter the Virginia-Maryland School of Veterinary Medicine after completing my degree program and eventually have my own veterinary practice focusing mainly on large food animals.

When I am not hanging out in IVF lab with my awesome lab mates or milking cows at a dairy, I enjoy going on outdoor adventure, spending quality time with my pets or experimenting with whatever new food recipe that strikes my fancy.

Posted in Diversity


Hello and welcome to John McGehee’s Preparing the Future Professoriate. Hopefully everyone is looking forward to an exciting semester back on campus here in Blacksburg and an extra fun GRAD 5104 class.

Posted in Future Professoriate