University of Montana Western equine studies professor Layne Carlson brings his 30 years of professional experience as a mixed animal practitioner into the classroom.
“I think practical experience always aids in the classroom experience,” Carlson says. “Everyday situations tend to connect more than textbook situations.”
Carslon is a Montana native who grew up on cattle ranches. Despite having worked with veterinarians while growing up, Carlson wasn’t sure what he wished to pursue when it came time for college.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” Carlson recalls of his freshman year at Montana State University. “I met a pre-veterinary major and realized I was interested in what he was studying.”
After realizing where his interests lay, Carlson pursued a doctorate of veterinary medicine, which he received from Colorado State University in 1979.
Carlson started his own veterinary practice in Twin Bridges, Mont. during 1983. Recently, Carlson’s business partners moved away and rather than start all over with personnel, he decided to sell the practice. After hearing of Carlson’s new availability, Montana Western professor and rodeo coach Iola (Olie) Else convinced Carlson to interview for a teaching position in the equine studies department at UMW.
“Olie had been after me for several years to teach at Montana Western,” Carlson remembers. “After selling the practice I thought I would give it a try.”
Now in his second year as a professor, Carlson continues to appreciate the challenges of teaching.
“I enjoy the students,” Carlson states. “I try to keep things interesting and fresh by giving them examples of things I saw as a practitioner. They seem to like the real life examples of textbook situations.”
Carlson uses the longer class periods of Experience One block programming to his advantage.
“Having three hours of class time allows me to bring horses in and give students hands-on experience,” Carlson states. “The block is kind of fast and furious. It’s amazing how quickly the time goes by, but it lets me do a lot more outside of the classroom.”
Carlson continues to works as a veterinarian while he teaches at Montana Western.