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NMSU?s Hallford named to National Top 20 Animal Science Professors List

The New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is home to one of the top 20 animal science professors in the nation. Regents Professor Dennis Hallford was named to the list by VetTechColleges.com.


A man sitting between a young woman and young man holding small sheep
NMSU animal science professor Dennis Hallford speaks to Kaleb Cleckler and Jalayna Roberts about sheep. (Courtesy photo)

?I had no idea I was considered being named to the top 20 list,? Hallford said. ?I know most of the people on the list, and I am very humbled.?

Hallford has been teaching at NMSU for 40 years. He graduated from Tarleton State University in 1970 with a bachelor?s degree in general agriculture. He received his master?s degree in animal science in 1973 and his doctorate in animal breeding/physiology in 1975, both from Oklahoma State University.

He started his career at NMSU that same year, teaching anatomy and physiology of farm animals, during a time when the university was developing a doctoral program in animal and range science.

NMSU?s Animal and Range Sciences Department Head Glenn Duff is not only Hallford?s colleague but was once his student.

?This honor brings national recognition to our program at NMSU and shows that we have such quality faculty in the department,? Duff said. ?It is quite the recognition, if you look at the faculty that made the top 20 list.?

Mike Hubbert, researcher and superintendent of the Clayton Livestock Research Center, agrees that this honor is huge for NMSU.

?The best thing to look at is graduate student success and where those students are now,? he said. ?For example, if you look at schools such as Montana State, much of the faculty came from NMSU.? Hubbert added that Hallford sets the standard for NMSU?s animal science students.

During his time at NMSU, Hallford has received numerous awards and honors, including the university?s and the college?s highest teaching awards. But he is most proud of his students.

?Working with students ? either in the classroom or in the laboratory setting ? has been extremely rewarding,? he said. Hallford keeps track of the number of students he has had since his first year in 1975. He has taught several thousand undergraduate students, and he just had his 62nd student receive a master?s degree. He chuckled as he admitted, ?I can tell you where most of my students are now.?

Hallford?s former students agree that he had an impact on their lives.

?Dr. Hallford was the best faculty instructor I had in my career,? Duff said. ?He makes you work hard, has a high expectation and has the desire and passion for students to succeed.? Duff added that Hallford?s enthusiasm and passion for the discipline are what really set him apart from other instructors.

?His courses were rigorous, and you knew you had to work hard,? he said.

Hubbert studied under Hallford when he came to the NMSU animal science graduate program in 1978.

?He is a great teacher because he cares,? Hubbert said. ?He helps students understand, and he has a positive impact on his students because of his personality and the family atmosphere he creates with everybody.?

To say Hallford is proud of his students is an understatement.

?Many students have developed into faculty members in various departments in the college,? Hallford said. ?Other students have gone on to become faculty members in animal science at other institutions.? He added that some graduates have worked their way into department head and dean positions, while others have gone on to become successful veterinarians.

Hubbert simply stated that, ?Dennis? legacy is all the great students that have come out of the program.?

In addition to his teaching career, Hallford has a long list of accolades as a researcher, specializing in the evaluation of endocrine influences on the reproductive function in domestic animals.

?There are two or three things in my career over the last 40 years regarding research that have had a major impact on livestock production,? Hallford explained. ?I was involved in FDA studies to make available for sheep producers a new method for synchronizing estrus in sheep, which determines when they will breed.? The results of the studies reflected that the meat from animals taking part in this process was safe for human consumption.

When asked about the changes he has seen in the college during his tenure at NMSU, Hallford instead emphasized what has not changed. He could not hide his pride about the continuous success in the college.

?It?s been remarkably stable in terms of quality education, and we?ve been successful in placing the students after graduation,? he said. ?Close relationships between students and faculty are established, and it?s a very personal experience for the students.?

Another aspect that has not changed is the quality faculty, according to Hallford.

?We hire young faculty members who are excited about teaching and conducting research,? he said. ?It?s been a lot of fun to watch this program grow, and it?s developed into one of the best in the nation.?

NMSU?s animal science graduate program was ranked sixth in the country on Graduate Programs? spring 2015 list. Graduate Programs is a website geared toward prospective graduate students. NMSU was also named the fifth best pre-veterinary college in the nation by VetTechColleges.com in 2014.

This semester Hallford is teaching a graduate level endocrinology class, as well as an anatomy and physiology undergraduate level class. He will need to add quite a few names to his growing list of undergraduate and graduate students whom he plans to keep track of and know where they will be in the future.