Texas Tech University

Veterinary Anatomist, Curriculum Expert Joins Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine

George Watson

July 22, 2020

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Shireen A. Hafez brings extensive experience, dedication to animal anatomy and love of new, innovative teaching methods to the veterinary school in Amarillo.

Shireen A. Hafez is as interested in how veterinary school students learn as what they learn.

She has been, and remains, fascinated by animal anatomy, first finding that curiosity at a young age. She carried that irrepressible curiosity and innate connection with animals into veterinary school, constantly engaging anyone she could find as a first-year veterinary student to discuss animal anatomy and how the body is perfectly crafted for the functions it needs to survive. That love of animal development has led to a tremendous career in veterinary anatomy throughout the various posts she's served.

Along the way, however, she also developed a love for teaching and trying to find new and innovative methods for disseminating information to a wide variety of personalities, as well as teaching anatomy as the foundation for almost everything a veterinarian needs to learn. This desire, along with growing up in a family that valued education, has fueled her at each of her career destinations.

That dedication to teaching and the exploration of how students learn makes the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo the perfect place for Hafez to begin the next chapter in her career as an associate professor of anatomy. She will begin her duties on Aug. 1.

Shireen A. Hafez

"What excites me so much about joining the School of Veterinary Medicine at Texas Tech is it represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be one of the founding faculty members," Hafez said. "The opening of a brand-new veterinary school dedicated to supporting the agricultural industry in Texas is a major event in and of itself because it is an opportunity to serve all the people of Texas. It's a point of pride that I can contribute to this endeavor, especially when I look at the other faculty members who are coming on board; all of them are experts in their fields and exceptional scientists. I'm honored I have been given the opportunity to work with this highly regarded team, helping to train day-one ready compassionate veterinarians."

Hafez comes to Texas Tech from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine, where she served as senior anatomist and adjunct faculty member at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

She was an instructor in veterinary anatomy, histology and neuroscience at Oregon State University (2006) and Louisiana State University (2009-12) before returning to her alma mater, Virginia Tech University (2012-18), where she taught veterinary anatomy and histology at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and human anatomy at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

Hafez also has served stints teaching veterinary anatomy and conducting research at St. Matthew's University on Grand Cayman Island (2008) and at Alexandria University in Egypt (1997-2009) as well as doing research activities at North Dakota State University (2007) as a visiting scholar. Before switching her emphasis to educational research she published several articles and book chapters on angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels develop from pre-existing vessels.

"A new veterinary program opens the door to unique opportunities," said Guy Loneragan, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. "One of those is discovering transformative new insights of how best to teach veterinary medicine. Dr. Hafez is both a tremendous teacher and a scholar of how students learn. She will help Texas Tech build something truly special, something that will be a point of difference for our students, the veterinary profession and our state. Dr. Hafez is an outstanding teacher, and this has been recognized and rewarded by those who matter – the students – as she was voted 'teacher of the year' by veterinary students. We and our students are very lucky to have Dr. Hafez as part of our team."

Hafez earned her veterinary degree at Alexandria University and a doctorate in veterinary medical sciences/anatomy from Virginia Tech. She also has earned a Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Education and Fellow status from the Higher Education Academy in Great Britain. She is currently pursuing a master's degree from the University of London's Royal Veterinary College.

Her current research involves improving the processes of student learning in general, with a specific interest in curriculum design and the educational aspects of emotional intelligence.

"Dr. Hafez brings great experience teaching anatomy from multiple veterinary programs," said John Dascanio, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs. "She is devoted to student education and will be pursuing a master's degree in veterinary education from the Royal Veterinary College, which will promote her teaching excellence. With Shireen on the faculty, we will develop an innovative anatomy program, providing students the tools they need to be successful."

Hafez is a member of the American Association of Veterinary Anatomists, the American Association for Anatomy, the World Association of Anatomists, the African Association of Anatomists and the International Association for Medical Anatomists. She serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Veterinary Anatomy.

She becomes the 21st faculty member for the School of Veterinary Medicine. Additional faculty members will be added over the summer and fall.

"It is an exhilarating challenge to give my students what they need to learn effectively and to bring them to an understanding of the structure of a particular body part and its integration into the whole," Hafez said. "I know that what I will be doing at Texas Tech is the most impactful way I could have found not only to protect animal health and the economic need of owners, but to satisfy the broader need of Texas and the U.S."

About the School of Veterinary Medicine

Thanks to the generosity of Amarillo and communities across Texas, and the commitment of legislators from around the state, the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, established in 2018, is working to enroll its first class in the fall of 2021, pending approval by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education.

The School of Veterinary Medicine will recruit and select students with a passion to serve in rural and regional communities. Its curriculum is focused on the competencies and skills necessary for success in practices that support these communities. Texas Tech's innovative and cost-efficient model partners with the wider community of veterinary practices across the state to provide clinical, real-world experiential learning.