Chris Ashwell


Dr. Chris Ashwell came to NC State in 2003 and began teaching in the spring of 2004 in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In his time with the university, he has taught courses in the Biotechnology Program, Poultry Science Department, the Life Sciences First Year (LSFY) program, the Honors Program, and as part of the First Year Inquiry (FYI) program. He is trained as a biochemist, but after his PhD he decided to shift his post-doctoral work at the USDA to domestic animal genetics and genomics. His research laboratory focuses on trying to understand the genetic basis for complex traits in poultry that may be relevant for food animal production. 

Having taught within the FYI program for a number of years, Dr. Ashwell finds the ability to help first-year students establish a diverse learning community early in their academic careers to be one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching. From group work and discussions to getting to know one another over a shared box of Chicken Minis, Dr. Ashwell often seeks innovative ways to encourage students to move outside of their comfort zones and to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues like feeding the growing global population in interesting and creative ways.

This fall Dr. Ashwell will be offering PO 212-001Q Poultry and People: Why Did the Chicken Cross the World.  While the course title does indicate the subject matter, the course objectives focus on critical and creative thinking and communication skills. The content starts with the domestication of the chicken to it’s integration in society, and it’s future in a hungry world.   Dr. Ashwell hopes students’ main takeaways are increased confidence and abilities in problem-solving and evaluating information. The course teaches students to develop research skills including information literacy, data collection, and developing arguments based on evidence through the lens of addressing some of today’s most pressing animal agriculture problems.