Texas Tech receives funding, legislative approval for School of Veterinary Medicine
By: George Watson
The Texas Legislature this month earmarked more than $17 million for the Texas Tech University System to establish the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine, the second of its kind in the state. Startup funds and legislative authority for Amarillo-based facility will go toward operational needs in order to get the school up and running.
The appropriation included language directing Texas Tech to use funds to initiate curriculum design and development, faculty recruitment and other processes necessary to attain accreditation of the program. Donors and civic leaders already have pledged $90 million toward infrastructure and construction of the School of Veterinary Medicine on the site of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo.
"The Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine represents a historic opportunity to serve the needs of our state, and reflects the efforts of many people, who recognized a significant veterinary need in Texas and supported this important initiative," said Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec.
In other action later in the month, the Texas Tech Board of Regents approved a $8.4 million budget that will establish a design, professional services, administrative costs and other items related to the new School of Veterinary Medicine. The money approved will be funded with the Revenue Finance System, repaid with gift funds.
The facility will include both a main site, located within the Amarillo Campus at the corner of Evans Drive and Research Drive, and a large-animal facility site off Loop 335. The official names of the buildings will be the School of Veterinary Medicine Amarillo Campus and the School of Veterinary Medicine Mariposa Station.
Officials noted that the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo anticipates opening in the fall of 2021 and will enroll a target class size of 60 students, as well as providing opportunities for other professional students. With the crucial startup funding and legislative guidance secure, the School of Veterinary Medicine's professional degree program must receive approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program was submitted to the THECB in February and is currently under review, with a decision anticipated within the next six to eight months.
The school reportedly will offer an innovative curriculum to address the critical shortage of veterinarians, which is threatening small, regional and agricultural communities throughout Texas. It is a cost-efficient school that will attract students with a passion for rural veterinary care and graduate career-ready veterinarians to serve the state and its multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry.
Texas Tech's model will recruit and select students who will most likely practice in rural communities and utilize a curriculum focused on the competencies and skills necessary to be successful in a rural practice. Also, in order to keep student debt down, the model eliminates the need for a costly teaching hospital and, instead, places veterinary students in cooperative rural practices to provide clinical learning through collaboration.
"Legislative approval of the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine is arguably the most impactful initiative for Amarillo in decades, and it will have ripple effects felt statewide," said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson. "We look forward to all the opportunities that will come from this veterinary school and strengthened partnership."
CONTACT: William Brown, dean, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0625NM19 / Photo: (top) Rendering of main entrance of the future School of Veterinary Medicine Amarillo Campus; (bottom) rendering of future School of Veterinary Medicine Mariposa Station
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