The System and university leadership are working to address the needs of the agricultural industry, region and students
Texas Tech University System (TTUS) officials announced today (Dec. 4) plans to develop a veterinary school and veterinary medicine doctoral program in response to student demand and industry needs.
The College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources at Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) are utilizing established strengths to develop a program that provides important animal health solutions and veterinarians to address the unique agricultural challenges facing this region and state.
“Addressing the veterinary education needs in Texas is crucial not only because of the region's and state's deep-rooted history with agriculture and ranching, but also because of its continued prosperity,” said Robert L. Duncan, Texas Tech University System chancellor. “Our vision goes beyond the establishment of a veterinary school, setting out to transform the landscape of veterinary medicine education and provide innovative solutions for the industry's future.”
Texas is the nation's leading producer of cattle, a $13 billion industry in 2012, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture. There also are more than 248,000 ranches and farms in Texas, the most of any state in the U.S., with large animals and food-producing livestock.
“Agriculture is at the heart of every aspect of our daily lives, and Texas Tech has been at the forefront of agricultural research and discovery since its founding,” President M. Duane Nellis said. “As our population grows, so does the reliance on agriculture. Increased and enhanced infrastructure is necessary now and will continue to be in the future. Texas Tech is offering solutions to meet those needs.”
The College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources is one of the largest non-land grant agricultural schools in the nation with distinguished academic and research programs, world-renowned faculty and staff and award-winning students with a legacy of national championship titles. The college consists of eleven research centers and institutes, including the Burnett Center & Feedlot, the International Center for Food Industry Excellence, the Texas Tech Equestrian Center, the Beef Cattle Center & New Deal Farm and the Department of Animal & Food Sciences, which offers the only animal science doctoral degree in the region.
Currently, there are more than 150 students in pre-veterinary education in the College
of Agriculture Sciences & Natural Resources, but the lack of veterinary schools prohibits
many qualified students from becoming veterinarians. Therefore, the new veterinary
school will serve the needs of both Texas students and agriculture.
“Being in West Texas where most of the state's and nation's livestock are concentrated, we understand the importance of veterinary medicine and see the industry's needs first-hand,” said Michael Galyean, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources. “Texas Tech has been committed to serving the agricultural industry since its establishment in 1923, and it is our goal to be a national leader in animal health, food animal production and biosecurity.”
Amarillo is the heart of the country's leading livestock production area, and TTUHSC's campus in Amarillo will serve as an ideal location for this initiative. In addition to leveraging its health care model that serves more than 2.5 million people throughout 108 counties, TTUHSC is poised to provide expertise, facilities and regional support. The university's faculty and numerous schools, particularly its School of Pharmacy, have the ability to collaborate on curriculum development, course instruction and research.
“When TTUHSC was founded, its primary mission was to bring more health care providers to West Texas and provide health care services to an underserved region and population that provides food, fiber and fuel for the world,” said Tedd L. Mitchell, TTUHSC president. “In honoring this promise, we are now making a global impact. TTU shares this principle and vision for addressing the needs of the agricultural industry, and we are a natural fit to help transform veterinary medicine education.”
While the discussion of having a veterinary school goes back decades, the announcement comes after intensive internal planning, dialogue with higher education colleagues and notable interests from agricultural industry representatives and philanthropists. Texas Tech University System will continue discussions throughout 2016 and will seek appropriate approvals by the Texas Legislature and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.