Texas Tech University

Michael Orth, Ph.D.

Michael Orth


(806) 834-5653


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Dr. Orth joined Texas Tech's faculty in June 2013 to serve as the Department Chair after serving in a variety of academic positions in Michigan State University's Department of Animal Science, including professor, associate professor, and assistant professor. He also served as the associate chair for 3 years and was a Block & Bridle advisor for 8 years. He was a national officer for the National Block & Bridle organization for 11 years, serving the last 3 years as President. Prior to working at Michigan State, he was a postdoctoral researcher and medical biochemistry instructor with Chicago's Rush Medical College in the Department of Biochemistry. 

Dr. Orth led as the department chair for a little over 8 years. During his tenure the undergraduate enrollment experienced unprecedented growth, more than doubling from 499 in 2013 to 1089 in 2021, making the department one of the largest animal science departments in the country. Dr. Orth was instrumental in the creation of the Companion Animal Science program. The program started in 2017 with 7 students and in the fall of 2021 had over 250. Faculty in the program focus on human-animal interaction research and have procured over $2.0 million in extramural support, much of which has come from federal grants. Some of the other accomplishments include: 

  • a significance increase in federal funding with at least 20 federally funded grants since 2019, including 10 in 2021. 
  • the initiation of a KCBS Certified BBQ and Steak contest in 2015 that has raised over $90,000, including over $40,000 in 2019, for scholarships in the college and is considered one of top 5 contests in the country.
  • an increase in the sales for Raider Red Meats from around $800,000 to approximately $2,500,000 in 2021.
  • the addition of a permanent Ranch Horse Team coach and Equestrian team coach.
  • reinvigoration of the horse judging team leading to a National Championship in 2021.
  • a significant increase in the number of Honors and Service-Learning Courses. 
  • the creation and adoption of the Mission Statement, Discovering Solutions, Empowering Students, Serving Society, that has served the department well and been a good marketing tool.
  • construction of a new human-animal interaction lab and an addition at the Therapeutic Riding Center for offices, therapy services, and research studies. 
  •  many renovations at the New Deal Farm and the Texas Tech Equestrian Center, improving their functionality.
  • 18 national championships since 2014, including 5 in 2021.
  • the Best of Lubbock Award in 2021 given in the public university category. 

Dr. Orth has a passion for academic leadership. He was part of the 9th Cohort in the Food Systems Leadership Institute. As part of the two-year program, the fellow must design a leadership project. His project was the development of the Companion Animal Science program, which was ultimately created and has become highly impactful. He recently completed the Outward Mindset and Outward Leadership training programs hosted by the Arbinger Institute. In response to Simon Sinek's book, The Infinite Game, he has adopted a personal just cause, Caring, Serving, Encouraging: Helping those in my sphere of influence grow and succeed. Dr. Orth's current area of study is the implementation of servant leadership and outward mindset principles in an academic setting. 

Dr. Orth earned a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa. His doctorate is in Nutritional Science from the University of Wisconsin. His research focuses on the study of bone and cartilage physiology in livestock species. Specifically, he has explored the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate on cartilage metabolism. He also has been involved with several research projects evaluating the effects of nutrition, management, and exercise on skeletal health. He has taught classes on growth and musculoskeletal biology, professional development, and vitamin and mineral nutrition. His publication and citation record can be found by accessing his Google Scholar profile. 

Photo by Leslie Kitten ('03 MS Agricultural Education), Savant Photographic Artistry.

Animal & Food Sciences