Animal Studies Scholar from Poland at University This Fall

Dr. Michal Pregowski, an animal studies scholar from Poland, has come to Eastern Kentucky University’s Department of Psychology to observe and participate in classes within the Animal Studies program.

Pregowski, a sociologist from Warsaw University of Technology in Warsaw, Poland, began his career in animal studies after being involved in dog training and dog sports for five years and participating in a non-profit animal-assisted education program with his white shepherd Okami.

“My interest in animal studies included an academic change of heart,” Pregowski said. “I had researched social aspects of new media, the internet and digital culture for a decade before I switched fields in early 2012. What I am, and always was, most passionate about is our relationship with animals, especially with dogs.”

Warsaw University of Technology encourages its scholars to develop research and international academic cooperation. Pregowski “was looking for a fit and EKU, with its state-of-the-art, interdisciplinary undergraduate animal studies program, was precisely that.” EKU also hosted the Living with Animals conference in March that featured presentations by members of the Animals and Society Institute, and Pregowski’s involvement with the Institute connected him to EKU.

“At a practical level, my plan is also to participate in some classes my colleagues teach, observing how my colleagues here work with students and also how the students perform,” Pregowski said. “As an academic teacher, I try to improve my didactic skills, and being able to learn from a different academic culture is a great opportunity. In the grand scheme of things, my plan is to develop, or help develop, a similar Animal Studies program in Poland at some point.”

Pregowski will also be gathering information for his research and academic articles. “I have just finished a chapter on pet cemeteries that will be a part of a book I am co-editing about dogs in contemporary Poland,” he said. “The book will be published in Polish within a few months, although we will see about an English version.”

Dr. Robert Mitchell, EKU psychology professor and animal studies program coordinator, said: “The fact that he has come to EKU, and has received a grant from Poland to spend time here to learn about our program, indicates that the Animal Studies major at EKU is gaining an international reputation. Dr. Pregowski is going to be using his knowledge of Animal Studies as well to inform ANS students about legal issues around animal slaughter for food in Europe, and about other aspects of human-animal interaction. He will be presenting a campus-wide colloquium on pet cemeteries in the coming weeks. We are delighted to have such a congenial and knowledgeable visitor, and hope that he gets as much from us as we are getting from him.”

The animal studies program at EKU is a cross-disciplinary, applied science program concentrating on non-human animals and their interactions and relationships with people and is a “pioneering endeavor that is worth all the attention of someone interested in researching relationships we have with non-human animals,” Pregowski said.

Published on September 30, 2013