Pandemic Doesn’t Scare LIU, UA, and Texas Tech; Arkansas State offers opportunities
Texas Tech Construction 320
Texas Tech University System Photo
A two-story, 185,000-square-foot building and courtyard are currently under construction for the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine. The building is located next to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo and is expected to be partially inhabited on August 1st. Full occupancy is planned for November.
With the coronavirus pandemic affecting much higher education, plans for new and emerging veterinary programs remain, bringing the number of accredited veterinary colleges in the U.S. to 32.
In response to a status request from VIN Intelligence, officials at Long Island University and the University of Arizona, who are welcoming their first veterinary classes on Aug. 24, report that their greatest uncertainties lie in the logistics of teaching – whether in person or online.
Whether they will start their programs remotely, in traditional classrooms, or a combination has yet to be decided.
Universities across the country have moved to online teaching while making up for lost income from on-campus housing, suspending or eliminating sporting events, and suspending medical care in teaching hospitals. Many institutions, even large universities, are eliminating entire academic programs and laying off or taking leave of absence.
The enthusiasm for veterinary training continues, however. In addition to the new programs on the LIU’s post-campus in Brookville, New York, and on the UA’s Tucson campus, Texas Tech University plans to open a veterinary school in 2021 if it is accredited.
Another Offspring is with Arkansas State University, where an emerging veterinary program could be a first for the state. A feasibility study in partnership with Adtalem Global Education Inc., formerly DeVry Education Group and owner of the Veterinary Faculty of Ross University in the Caribbean, was commissioned in January before the novel coronavirus spread around the world.
Four months later, COVID-19 issues “slowed our progress,” but didn’t kill the initiative, said Donald Kennedy, interim dean of the College of Agriculture. “In my opinion, the task force has got off to a good start. … So far, we have raised many questions and concerns from our members about establishing an A-State College of Veterinary Medicine.”
The task force’s recommendations go to Chancellor Kelly Damphousse, who needs more veterinarians. Demand is “substantial,” he said in a university press release, “as more households enjoy pet ownership and pet producers in Arkansas have admitted a shortage of large animal veterinarians.”
Incoming LIU and UA classes are reaching their capacity
Both the LIU in New York and the UA in Tucson report that they have filled their classes and a few more with waiting lists for prospective vets. The programs have admitted 100 students to their respective opening classes.
“We are excited and ready,” said Dr. Julie Funk, who was named Dean of the UA College of Veterinary Medicine in March 2019.
Earlier this month, the Arizona Board of Regents set tuition fees for the UA College of Veterinary Medicine at $ 45,000 for citizens and $ 69,999 for non-citizens, making up more than half of all students on the three-year program.
As a private university, the LIU College of Veterinary Medicine does not distinguish between domestic and non-state students: tuition for the four-year program is $ 55,000 for all students.
LIU is about 30 miles east of New York City, where more than 15,000 people have died from COVID-19 to date. It appears to be the veterinary program hardest hit by the pandemic. But the officials there give little indication of any trouble.
Randy Burd, senior vice president of academic affairs, noted last week that the LIU College of Veterinary Medicine is opening on schedule.
“”[A] The first class of 100 highly competitive students is enrolled and will begin their studies in August, “he said.” Like other colleges and universities in the New York metropolitan area, we are developing plans to ensure compliance with state, state, and local guidelines may be in place for on-campus learning in the fall. With the health and safety of our students in mind, we are also preparing for various COVID-19 eventualities to ensure our fall semester goes on schedule. “
This could include in-person, online, or a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning, he said.
Distance learning could save some LIU veterinary students the cost of living in one of the most expensive areas in the country.
As an institution, the LIU is struggling with major changes at its two locations, Post Office and Brooklyn, as enrollments and revenues have declined. In February, the LIU stripped its post-campus of dozens of undergraduate majors – art history, foreign languages, geography, and geology to name a few – and laid off or suspended more than 100 employees, leading to at least one union-related complaint. Some criticize the university for effectively ending health insurance for former employees amid the pandemic. The facility has now received more than US $ 7 million in aid from the EU Coronavirus aid, aid and economic security (CARES) Act.
“The LIU has not announced any pay cuts for top administrators and indeed continues to spend a lot of money in other areas such as veterinary training,” said a faculty member who spoke anonymously and feared retaliation.
Veterinary training at Texas Tech
Texas Tech Veterinary School officials say interest in the program has not waned since COVID-19, and the progress of the program has not waned. An on-site visit by an accreditation team is planned for June.
“We’re all adapting to COVID-19,” said Dr. Guy Loneragan, veterinary epidemiologist and dean of the program. “In many ways, we are fortunate to be at our developmental stage when the pandemic hit. Our personal recruitment changed to [online] Zoom meetings with pre-vet students and that worked well. We will continue this approach until we meet again in person. “
Two facilities are currently under construction: laboratory and classrooms on the Amarillo campus; and large animal husbandry, called Mariposa Station, about 4 km from campus. The setting was also continued. By autumn the program should have around two dozen faculties. “I’m thrilled with the team that is coming together,” said Loneragan.
He added, “All aspects of the program are on track and on time.”