by Tyler Hale
Currently, students looking to go to veterinary school must go outside of Arkansas to pursue their education. Multiple schools, including the University of Arkansas and A-State, have pre-veterinary or animal science programs but no dedicated post-graduate veterinary school.
That may be changing soon.
Arkansas State University is launching a feasibility study into the creation of the first veterinary medical school in Arkansas. A-State Chancellor Kelly Damphousse announced that the university is partnering with Adtalem Global Education, a Chicago-based workforce solutions company, to perform the study.
The university is also creating a Veterinary College Task Force to assist Damphousse during the feasibility process. Professor of Animal Science and Interim Dean of the College of Agriculture Dr. Donald “Bud” Kennedyhas been named as the chair for the task force.
“The demand for veterinarians is significant as more households enjoy pet ownership, and Arkansas livestock producers have acknowledged a shortage of veterinarians for large animals,” Damphousse said in a statement. “This is a concern that our College of Agriculture faculty and others across the region have expressed to us. I am excited to begin the discussion on our campus. We plan to work closely with veterinarians throughout Arkansas as we move forward in the development of this new college.”
According to an A-State news release, the proposed vet school would enroll roughly 120 students per class each year. If the feasibility for the school is established, A-State intends to seek accreditation for the school and grant graduates Arkansas State academic credentials.
ASU System President Charles Welch says the addition of a veterinary school will have a significant impact on both the university and state
“We see opportunities to work with student programs such as 4-H and the National FFA Organization, as well as food safety initiatives,” Welch said. “It would also complement our agriculture and biotechnology-related programs, the long-standing two-year veterinary technician program at ASU-Beebe and our red wolf conservation efforts.”
Image courtesy of A-State