Cornell to collaborate on creation of new Hong Kong veterinary college


Ithaca, N.Y. -- Cornell University is close to finalizing its collaboration with a new veterinary education program in Hong Kong.

Ithaca, N.Y.

-- Cornell University is closing in on finalizing a collaboration with a foreign veterinary education program in Hong Kong.

The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine announced April 14 that it signed a “memorandum of understanding” to outline the terms of a collaboration with City University of Hong Kong to create the first veterinary medicine academic program in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).

The six-year program is slated to begin in 2012 with an initial class of 30 students. Class size is expected to grow to 50 students as the first class graduates from the program.

The degree designation would be dubbed a Bachelor's of Veterinary Medicine, but it is equivalent to a DVM degree. In Hong Kong, doctorates are reserved for physicians, explains Dr. Alfonso Torres, Cornell’s associate dean for public policy and coordinator for the Hong Kong partnership.

The idea for the two schools to collaborate was spurred by City University, which sought partners in the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand to help with the program’s startup. In the end, the university decided to approach Cornell with a partnership proposal.

Unlike many off-shore colleges that collaborate with U.S. veterinary schools, Torres says City University is not setting up shop with the intent to train veterinarians to practice in the United States. The small class size is aimed at filling the need for veterinarians in Hong Kong since all veterinary students currently must travel abroad to receive an education, he adds. A few slots will be reserved for students from mainland China, but Torres says the majority of the students will be from Hong Kong and trained to practice in Hong Kong.

Cornell’s role will be to assist City University with developing a curriculum and determining faculty needs. Cornell may also provide external examinations of the program and some limited specialty course instruction, Torres says.

“We see developing countries as a place to help enhance education,” Torres says. “Here we have a major portion of the growing world in Asia without formal programs.”Cornell also will receive an unspecified amount of compensation for its services to City University, Torres says.

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