As far as Dr. Joseph Haynes is concerned, there is no downside to teaching an undergraduate pathology class on Iowa State University’s main campus.
As long as he can find a place to park that is.
Haynes just completed his fifth year of teaching “Introduction to Pathology,” a course designed for junior and senior pre-vet, pre-med, biology, animal science and wildlife biology majors. The course has steadily increased in popularly going from 35 students the first year to 45 the following spring and now sits at 85 to 100 students every time it is offered.
“Students really seem to like this type of stuff,” said Haynes, professor and chair of the Department of Veterinary Pathology. “All of the crime scene investigation television shows and media coverage of emerging and zoonotic diseases have piqued their interest.”
Haynes is quick to point out “Introduction to Pathology” isn’t all fun and games for the students. Most are taking the course to prepare for veterinary school, med school, graduate student or their careers.
“I think this course fills a need in undergrad education at ISU and we have the expertise to offer it,” he said. “There is no other similar pathology course for undergraduates on campus and it introduces the One Health concept to students. The general concepts and tissue changes we see in pathology are pretty much the same in all mammals. Many infectious agents cause essentially the same disease in animals and people, so this course helps prepare students for careers in medicine and biomedical science whether veterinary or human.
“I also think it’s good for the vet school to have a foot print on main campus, not only to interact with students and faculty, but it’s also a great recruiting tool for us.”
Haynes teaches a similar but more advanced course to veterinary medicine students at Iowa State. While the subject matter is much the same, the types of things he can do with the undergraduate class is limited.
“The major difference is we don’t have as much time so we can’t cover as much material in the same level of detail and we don’t include a lab component to the class like we do for the vet students,” he said. “Since it’s only a 3-credit course, we spend the first half of the semester on general principles of pathology and the second half on pathology of body systems.
“It’s a little harder to get to know the students since we don’t have a lab component. But as we go through the semester, the students that are really interested loosen up.”
“Introduction to Pathology” is just one of three undergraduate courses offered by the Department of Veterinary Pathology on the main campus. Other College of Veterinary Medicine departments also teach undergraduate classes at Iowa State, but few have as big of a following as Haynes’ class does.
“I hope to teach this class until I retire,” he said. “It’s an awful lot of fun to do.”