THE University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) announced plans Dec. 18 that will formalize its partnership with Colorado State University to bring a professional veterinary medicine program to Alaska.
UAF chancellor Brian Rogers and Colorado State president Tony Frank signed the agreement Dec. 19 during a ceremony in Colorado.
Currently, Alaska does not have a professional veterinary medicine program despite Alaska students' strong interest in pursuing careers in veterinary medicine. In order to meet that need, UAF is pooling resources with the veterinary school at Colorado State. The program will give preference to Alaska students and is scheduled to start classes in the fall of 2015.
The partnership makes the program viable, since developing a stand-alone program would be cost-prohibitive for UAF.
Students will eventually receive doctor of veterinary medicine degrees from Colorado State, but their starting point will be at UAF. They will take up to two years of graduate courses at UAF and then complete their veterinary studies in Colorado.
The program will admit 10 UAF students per year, but if too few apply or meet the admission standards, then the two universities will consider students from outside the Alaska applicant pool.
Dr. Mark Stetter, a veterinarian and dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State, said he and other college leaders are pleased to collaborate with UAF as a way to provide new opportunities for students and faculty based at Colorado State.
He noted that Alaska is rich in natural resources, providing unique teaching and research potential on topics such as wildlife disease and health, marine animal science, sled dog medicine and a variety of global public health challenges that involve both human and veterinary medicine.
The veterinary program will be part of the UAF College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics.
"The partnership between Colorado State and UAF is paving the way for new educational opportunities that didn't exist going in," college dean Paul Layer said. "These students will be prepared for careers in veterinary medicine wherever their paths may take them."