(VIDEO) The committee, composed of veterinarians, agriculture and community leaders and members of academia, will guide the system’s veterinary school initiative.
When first announcing plans to develop a College of Veterinary Medicine, the Texas Tech University System vowed to work with partners and colleagues outside of the institution. Building an innovative and transformative model for veterinary medicine from the ground up involves a collaborative approach, and a project this size cannot happen without the support of veterinarians and community and industry leaders.
Honoring this promise, the Texas Tech University System has created a steering committee for its proposed College of Veterinary Medicine, which will be housed at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center campus in Amarillo.
The steering committee, which met in Lubbock for the first time in early September, will work with Chancellor Robert Duncan, Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center President Tedd Mitchell to guide the direction of Texas Tech's veterinary school. Through their collaboration, members of the steering committee will provide critical insight, shape the veterinary school's development and help address the shortage of veterinarians in rural areas and small communities.
"Collaboration is essential to the success of our unique model for veterinary medicine at Texas Tech, and we are fortunate to have an outstanding group of distinguished leaders from the community, industry, academia and veterinary profession," Duncan said. "I appreciate their commitment to this important initiative and look forward to their help with our vision of transforming veterinary education and providing innovative solutions for the critical needs of this region, our state and the agriculture industry."
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recognized in a report released in July the need for an innovative, non-traditional veterinary school in Texas that could address the critical shortage of large animal and rural veterinarians and the implications this shortage will have on the food supply.
Texas Tech's model for a veterinary school is unlike any other in the United States, serving the needs of the agriculture industry and veterinary medicine students. It increases accessibility and affordability while not duplicating the state's existing veterinary medicine efforts. Texas Tech's model also offers a cost-effective option that reduces student debt and focuses on rural community practice.
"The shortage of veterinarians in Texas, especially in rural areas, has been a problem for many years, and to ensure the safety of our food supply and the continued prosperity of our state, we must do what's best for the industry, our fellow Texans and our future," said former Texas House of Representatives Speaker Pete Laney, a member of the steering committee. "As an agriculture state, the nation and our world depend on Texas for food and fiber, and Texas Tech's proposal for a new, innovative veterinary school is a much-needed solution to a severe challenge. It is a cost-efficient, trailblazing model, and it deserves the positive endorsement of our legislature."
The proposed college will enrich the practice of veterinary medicine by producing practice-ready veterinarians who serve and enhance the vibrancy of the rural communities important throughout Texas while substantially reducing the cost of education at the same time.