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ISU presses on with Nebraska deal
Ames, Iowa - Despite a close vote by Iowa faculty members, Iowa State University (ISU) is proceeding with a University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) deal that will allow Nebraska residents to enroll at ISU at in-state rates.
AMES, IOWA — Despite a close vote by Iowa faculty members, Iowa State University (ISU) is proceeding with a University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) deal that will allow Nebraska residents to enroll at ISU at in-state rates.
But the measure passed with its fair share of debate. Faculty other than those directly affected by the change were included in the voting process. Votes tallied 58 in favor, 50 against and three abstaining from a vote.
"This program will benefit students and faculty while creating a regional approach to providing a quality veterinary medicine education," says ISU Dean John Thomson, DVM.
According to the dean, Nebraska students would complete their first two years of the professional veterinary curriculum at UNL and their last two years at ISU's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Students will be responsible for paying Iowa resident tuition while the state of Nebraska will pay the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.
The friction lies with the campus' ability to house the increased number of students is a prime concern of ISU faculty, although the university is seeking full accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association and expanding its square footage. Doubts are clear.
"I am not in favor of this. We argued about this a lot, and the decision was made. I feel like as we expand the number of students from 105 to 120 (some Nebraska students already started), then 25 added in a third- and fourth-year class, there will be 145 students in a class, and we won't be able to handle questions as thoroughly or give individual attention," says Dr. Joe Haynes, an ISU veterinary pathologist professor. "That is more than we can handle. I think there will be a period of time when new resources will not be available, and it will stress the system."
Votes were private, and concerns for the new agreement varied but were largely focused on the student/teacher ratio.
"It seems like this might not be the right thing to be taking on when we need to get our own accreditation situation straight," Haynes adds. "I prefer to have a fixed number of students."
The Nebraska Board of Regents and the Nebraska Educational Commission are reviewing the program. If the administrative authorities approve the program, the first class of participating Nebraska students would enroll at UNL under the cooperative agreement in the fall of 2007, then arrive at ISU in the fall of 2009.
"We are 99.9-percent sure the deal will go through with full accreditation," Thomson adds. "We are very excited about this plan. It is the No. 1 component within a group of initiatives."
Nebraska will be teaching 25 students the first two years, then third- and fourth-year students will finish up at ISU.
"We have a five-year plan for the college of veterinary medicine that includes faculty numbers and students," Thomson adds. "Let's just wait for everything to be finalized instead of putting the cart before the horse."