Arkansas State University explores partnership with Adtalem Global Education to deliver first in-state veterinary medicine school
University is collaborating with Adtalem to provide workforce solutions to veterinary shortages
JONESBORO, Ark. – January 31, 2020 – Arkansas State University announced an agreement to collaborate with Adtalem Global Education (NYSE: ATGE) to explore the feasibility of creating the first in-state veterinary medical school, Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said Friday.
Damphousse spoke with Faculty Senate prior to announcing that the university is exploring a public-private partnership with Adtalem, a global workforce solutions provider based in Chicago, with expertise educating veterinarians to AVMA-accredited standards. Provost Alan Utter, who will be the lead contact for the 180-day exploration period, briefed the university deans.
“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,” said Damphousse. “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.”
“From practical experience, we know the need exists for more veterinarians, especially large animal practitioners, across our region and state,” Professor of Animal Science and Interim Dean of the College of Agriculture Dr. Donald “Bud” Kennedy said. “With the current resources that Arkansas State can bring to this process, we believe we can have a tremendous positive impact for the veterinarian profession and our agricultural industry.”
Damphousse also announced to the university faculty the creation of a Veterinary College Task Force to work with him in the vetting process, and named Kennedy as the task force’s chair.
“When Bud and our former dean Tim Burcham first approached me with the idea, I was very supportive because it speaks to our core mission for Arkansas and the region,” Damphousse said. “I want to stress that we are at the beginning stages. Along with chairing our Task Force, I have asked Dr. Kennedy to assist with selection of participants and request that they return with a recommendation later this year.”
The proposed veterinary medicine program would enroll classes of approximately 120 students each year. Accreditation for any A-State College of Veterinary Medicine would be sought by the university, and graduates would have Arkansas State academic credentials. Adtalem, the parent company of AVMA-accredited Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, would provide expertise related to veterinary program management and accreditation, as well as capital and operating expense funding.
“Adtalem Global Education has a demonstrated history of filling critical workforce needs, particularly as it relates to the veterinarian profession,” said Kathy Boden Holland, group president of Medical and Healthcare for Adtalem Global Education. “Partnering with Arkansas State University is an excellent opportunity to provide an exceptional veterinary education in Arkansas, giving students a pathway to become skilled veterinarians with the support of a well-respected institution of higher education. Adtalem is proud to support this initiative and looks forward to supporting A-State with our academic excellence, operational expertise and employer partnerships and as we move forward in this endeavor.”
The ASU System is also supportive of the addition of the program at Arkansas State. System President Charles Welch said a veterinary school would positively impact the university and state beyond addressing workforce shortages within the veterinary profession.
“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.”
The Memorandum of Understanding signed on Friday, Jan. 31, between Arkansas State University and Adtalem Global Education is subject to approval by the ASU System Board of Trustees and ATGE Board.
The nationwide critical shortage of veterinarians has significantly impacted the availability of animal care across the U.S. Furthermore, in a recent annual report, the Arkansas Farm Bureau emphasized a need specifically for large animal veterinarians and announced its support of a veterinary school in the state of Arkansas.
About Arkansas State University
Focusing on its mission to educate leaders, enhance intellectual growth and enrich lives, Arkansas State University (A-State) is the catalyst for progress in the Mid-South. Founded in 1909, Arkansas State is the second-largest university in the state, and located near Crowley’s Ridge in Jonesboro. A Research 2 university, A-State hosts the first osteopathic medical school in the state of Arkansas, NYIT’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, and opened the first U.S.-style residential campus in Mexico, A-State Campus Queretaro, in fall 2017. Through the combination of research and a long tradition of student-friendly instruction, Arkansas State offers more than 150 degree areas of study, including a robust online program, and a diverse student body from across the nation and the world. Among national universities, A-State leads Arkansas in undergraduate teaching and social mobility and is highly ranked in these categories by US News.