Texas Tech University System officials acknowledged those who helped secure funding from the Texas Legislature that will help establish the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine, a first for the state of Texas in more than a century.
On June 15, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law the state budget for the next two years, which includes $17.35 million appropriated for the School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, Texas, that will go toward operational needs in order to get the school up and running, Texas Tech said in a June 17 announcement.
The appropriation included language directing Texas Tech to use funds to initiate curriculum design and development, faculty recruitment and other processes necessary to attain accreditation of the program.
Donors and civic leaders already have pledged $90 million toward infrastructure and construction of the school on the site of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo.
“The Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine represents a historic opportunity to serve the needs of our state and reflects the efforts of many people who recognized a significant veterinary need in Texas and supported this important initiative,” Texas Tech president Lawrence Schovanec said.
The School of Veterinary Medicine will offer "innovative, world-class curriculum to address the critical shortage of veterinarians, which is threatening small, regional and agricultural communities throughout Texas. It is a cost-efficient school that will attract students with a passion for rural veterinary care and graduate career-ready veterinarians to serve the state and its multibillion-dollar agriculture industry," the university said in the announcement.
Texas Tech said its model will recruit and select students who will most likely practice and succeed in rural communities and utilize a curriculum focused on the competencies and skills necessary to be successful in a rural practice. Also, in order to keep down student debt, the model eliminates the need for a teaching hospital and instead places veterinary students in cooperative rural practices to provide clinical learning through collaboration, the announcement said.
Texas Tech anticipates its veterinary school to open in the fall of 2021 and will enroll a target class size of 60 students as well as provide opportunities for other professional students.
With the crucial start-up funding and legislative guidance secure, the School of Veterinary Medicine’s professional degree program must receive approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The doctor of veterinary medicine degree program was submitted to board in February and is currently under review, with a decision anticipated within the next six to eight months, according to the announcement.