After already receiving $8 million from taxpayers towards a new veterinary school, the University of Arizona is now at a standstill with the development of their new veterinary school located in Oro Valley.
This initiative was led by UA President Ann Weaver Hart, who has now announced her plan to retire at the end of her contract in 2018. The hold has been put in place by veterinary school accrediting institution, American Veterinary Medical Association. They cited multiple instances in which the school is not worthy of accreditation based off of their current plans. The five major areas that the AVMA is currently rejecting include inadequate staffing and recruiting plans, lack of a high-quality research program, lack of proof of long term financial viability, and unanswered questions regarding student access to learning opportunities. This all came after the school’s implementation plan was compared against accreditation standards.
University of Arizona has made very clear their plans to challenge the accreditor’s findings, which will cost them at a minimum $10,000. If unsuccessful, the school’s opening will be delayed by at least a year, as the university must then wait twelve months to reapply for accreditation. The University of Arizona as well as Hart have received extensive backlash for this incident, especially from state lawmaker Bruce Wheeler who originally supported the taxpayers’ footing of this eight million dollar bill.
The interim dean of the UA veterinary school, Shane Burgess, says the issues are arising due to the schools new and differentiated approach from standard veterinary education procedures. Their main goal, President Hart says, is “for a novel year-round veterinary medical program that will provide a faster path to a DVM degree for less money.” The school’s prospective plans include strong partnerships with Pima Animal Care Center, Reid Park Zoo, and other local entities to give their students as much real world experience as possible.