While the University of Arizona already teaches an undergraduate veterinary program, the new Oro Valley location will host the veterinary medicine program, more closely akin to a post-graduate medical school.
The University of Arizona’s College of Veterinary Medicine, located in Oro Valley, recently received approval from the American Veterinary Medical Association. The approval came in the form of a “Letter of Reasonable Assurance,” granted by the AVMA Council on Education after they visited the veterinary school’s site this May.
The school will be the state's first public College of Veterinary Medicine, and plans to accept its first class of 110 students to begin their studies in August 2020. The College’s year-round curriculum is designed to be “competency-based” with students graduating in only three years. The students will spend their first two years in pre-clinical courses, and will engage in clinical training in private practices for their third year.
"Our goal is that students will have their hands on animals in the first week and all the way through the curriculum," said College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Julie Funk in a press release. "We have a real focus on making sure that students are learning veterinary medicine in context, looking at what they're learning in the classroom and how that relates to what they're going to do in practice."
According to the College's Clinical Rotations plan, "Third-year students will have access to normal and clinically diseased animals through a vast network of more than 250 clinical affiliates."
At full capacity the College will hold three groups of students, 110 each. These students groups will be taught within the program’s headquarters in the former Sanofi laboratory building, and at a second office facility in the Foothills Business Park. The UA also recently purchased and additional building for the College for $4.4 million, located at 10900 N. Stallard Pl.
The College of Veterinary Medicine’s first class, or cohort, of students is expected to graduate in 2023. With the school’s real-world training at zoological facilities like Reid Park Zoo, students are planned to be able to enter the workforce directly out of school.
The Letter of Reasonable Assurance is the first step in the school's accreditation classification. The next step is for the school to begin their Provisional Accreditation, which occurs on the date their first class is admitted. During this provisional period, the College must provide "semiannual reports to assure future compliance” with the AVMA. New veterinary schools are eligible for “full accreditation” after their first class of students graduate.
"We are hopeful that by being able to offer these highly skilled people a professional degree in state, they're more likely to stay in Arizona and serve the people of Arizona," Funk said.