John Balise

John Balise


Chief Undergraduate Advisor

Assistant Undergraduate Program Director
Department Recruiter

Office phone: 413-545-5568

Fax: 413-545-6326

Email: jbalise [at] vasci [dot] umass [dot] edu

Office location: 427U ISB

B.S. Animal Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Laboratory Animal Technologist, American Association for Laboratory Animal Sciences (AALAS LATG)


2013 CNS Outstanding Achievement Award
    for Academic Advising
2008 NRE Outstanding Achievement Award
    for Academic Advising
2010, 2008 Residential First Year
    Experience Student Choice Award
2015, 2010, 2005, 2000 University Length
    of Service Award
2006 Nominee, NRE Outstanding
    Achievement Award
2005 Nominee, NRE Outstanding
    Achievement Award

ANIMLSCI 297B: Artificial Insemination Class
ANIMLSCI 297L: Livestock Classic
ANIMLSCI 297P: Livestock Classic Coaching and Management
ANIMLSCI 455: Research Animal Management I
ANIMLSCI 456Research Animal Management II
ANIMLSCI 494GI: Good Intentions
ANIMLSCI 521: Physiology of Reproduction, Lab Instructor


Research Animal Management, Reproduction and Artificial Insemination (see below)

Chief Undergraduate Advisor

The Chief Undergraduate Advisor must possess a mastery of the advising process, be available to students, know appropriate referral activity, possess mastery of institutional regulations, policies and procedures, show effectiveness and creativity and perform advising with integrity and dedication. The Chief Undergraduate Advisor must also attend campus-wide meetings with the Academic Deans and chief undergraduate advisors from other departments to discuss and update policies that effect undergraduates. The Chief Undergraduate Advisor trains and supervises new academic advisors, acts as a second advisor for students with issues that cannot be addressed by their primary advisor and assists students signing into and out of the major.

Veterinary and Animal Sciences Department Recruiter

Showcasing what we have to offer here at UMass in the Veterinary and Animal Science Department is essential for attracting prospective students. As the recruiter, I am the first point of contact representing the department. I maintain and present a broad base of knowledge about the VASCI program including: its curriculum, opportunities in the laboratories and at the farms, extra-curricular opportunities and the university and department processes and procedures. There are ten scheduled Spring Open House sessions, one Fall Open House session, the Annual Majors Fair for undeclared students, the Annual College of Natural Sciences Day and the first Friday of every month tours. I assemble and distribute literature about our program to prospective students. I conduct a tour of the research area in our department, as well as a tour of the Hadley Farm. I train current students to assist in these recruiting sessions as their perspective of our program is personal, appropriate to their peers and therefore invaluable.

2018-2019 Recruitment Team

     Morgane, Pre-Veterinary Science ‘20, megolan [at] umass [dot] edu
     Kyle, Pre-Veterinary Science ‘20, kwrogers [at] umass [dot] edu

New Students Orientation

As the New Student Orientation advisor, I meet with all the incoming freshmen to introduce them to our program, let them know where they can go for help if they need it, explain policies and procedures, assist them in registering for their first semester of courses and encourage them to make their dreams come true through hard work and determination. I see a lot of the same students that came to the recruiting events. This is really rewarding as all the hard work of recruiting pays off in the fact that the students came to compare our program to others that they were considering, and they chose UMass.


Animal Science 521: Physiology of Reproduction Lab
These labs complement and are a companion to the Animal Science 521 lectures. These labs have a lecture component and most are hands-on. Reproductive tracts and specimens are included in the male and female reproductive labs. The anatomy and physiology of cows, horses, pigs and sheep are discussed, compared and contrasted as well as dogs, cats and poultry. Microscope work is emphasized in several of the labs.

Animal Science 494GI: Integrative Experience - Good Intentions
This class focuses on understanding and solving problems that have arisen, at least in part, from human-animal interactions. While these interactions frequently originate with the best of intentions, the consequences are often unexpected and not very good. This course aims to bring together the students’ animal science knowledge with information obtained in their general education classes. Students will do readings and participate in groups in this team based learning class. Presentations allow students valuable public speaking experience.

Animal Science 455: Research Animal Management I
This class is aimed at educating students on the roles of animals in research and testing. It also addresses federal agencies that oversee animals in biomedical research. Protocols, health, husbandry issues, veterinary care, personnel training, facilities, caging, breeding systems, anesthesiology, surgery, disease control, gnotobiology, pharmacology and necropsy are all addressed. Students must prepare and present their own research animal facility design. Labs deal with a different animal species each week; mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs and non-human primates are discussed.

Animal Science 456: Research Animal Management II
This course offers hands-on experience, a further look at in-depth rodent strains and characteristics, breeding schemes, environmental enrichments and identification methods. Humane care, handling, management and routine techniques and practices for each species used in research labs including: mice, rats, Syrian hamsters, rabbits, Xenopus frogs, African bullfrogs and Leopard frogs.

Animal Science 297B: Artificial Insemination (AI) Certification Class
This course is conducted during spring break each year and is designed to introduce students to the concepts and procedures involved in artificial insemination of dairy and beef cattle. The class travels to Wyalusing, Pennsylvania. Participants earn a certificate from Select Sires upon successful completion of this course. Enrollment is limited to 24 students maximum. There is an additional fee required for this class.

Animal Science 297L: Livestock Classic
Students are taught the proper techniques for grooming, handling and showing cattle, goats, sheep and horses. Judges are brought in to evaluate the students on their knowledge, handling and showmanship of the animals. Winners of each species go on the Premier Showmanship Class. This Annual Baystate Livestock Classic is held at the Hadley Farm; it is open to the public and is a great public relations event. No previous experience required.

Animal Science 297P: Livestock Classic Coaching and Management
Students are chosen for their expertise and willingness to coach various animal species for the Annual Baystate Livestock Classic. Coaches are selected to teach proper handling and showmanship qualities for cattle, goats, sheep and horses to the students showing in this event. Students are also chosen for management roles including: president, treasurer, secretary, advertising personnel, fund raising personnel, grounds crew coordinators, food booth personnel, programming and webmaster. The coaching and management personnel help to ensure that the Annual Baystate Livestock Classic runs smoothly the day of the show.

Extracurricular Advising

Northeast Student Affiliate (NESA)

The Northeast Student Affiliate (NESA) is the Northeast regional meeting of the Student Affiliate Division (SAD) of the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) and is an intercollegiate student competition among college students whose studies are based in agriculture and animal sciences. This is a non-credit, club event that many students choose to participate in demonstrating the dedication of UMass animal science students to their major and future careers. The Northeast Regional meeting is held annually during the month of February at a pre-determined host school. Many Northeastern colleges and universities participate, making for a great gathering of people interested in Animal Science and a wonderful networking opportunity. During the annual NESA meeting, UMass students compete in: livestock judging, a quiz bowl, and paper presentations, as well as a competition in which students who are participating in original undergraduate research present their results. Meetings of the UMass chapter of NESA are held once weekly during the Fall semester to prepare students for the quiz bowl. In the Spring semester, meetings are held three times per week for judging, quiz bowl, and presentation practice in the month before the competition.

Animal Science Peer Mentoring Group

The Animal Science Peer Mentoring Group offers tutoring and social events including guest speakers, group dinners and movie nights.  Meetings are held every other week and focus on various topics including tips on: developing good study habits and good note taking skills, lab courses, “surviving” on campus and campus life, the Commonwealth College, studying abroad, and how to get the best experience with animal management classes. Upper class VASCI students are matched with underclassmen. Each mentor guides 3 to 4 mentees.

Bomar J, Moreira P, Balise JJ, Collas P.  2002.  Differential regulation of maternal and paternal chromosome condensation in mitotic zygotes.. Journal of cell science. 115(Pt 14):2931-40.
Fissore RA, Dobrinsky JR, Balise JJ, Duby RT, Robl JM.  1992.  Patterns of intracellular Ca2+ concentrations in fertilized bovine eggs.. Biology of reproduction. 47(6):960-9.
Collas P, Balise JJ, Hofmann GA, Robl JM.  1989.  Electrical activation of mouse oocytes.. Theriogenology. 32(5):835-44.