Texas Tech forms steering committee for proposed new veterinary school

October 1, 2016

Leaders say new program will meet agricultural needs in new ways.

The Texas Tech University System, which is attempting to create an “innovative and transformative model for veterinary medicine from the ground up,” has appointed a steering committee for its proposed college of veterinary medicine, according to a Texas Tech media release. The committee will be housed at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center campus in Amarillo.

The steering committee, which met in Lubbock for the first time in early September, will work with senior leadership at Texas Tech University to provide critical insight, shape the veterinary school's development and help address the shortage of veterinarians in rural areas and small communities, according to the release.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board released a report in July describing the state's shortage of large animal and rural veterinarians and the implications this shortage will have on the food supply. While the report stated that Texas does not need a new veterinary school at this time, Texas Tech says its new school will address the issues raised in the report. Texas A&M University is contesting the creation of a new veterinary school, citing its own plans to expand veterinary education programming in western Texas to address exisiting needs and shortages.

Texas Tech says its model is unlike any other in the United States in that it increases accessibility and affordability while not duplicating the state's existing veterinary medicine efforts. According to the release, Texas Tech will offer a cost-effective option that reduces student debt and focuses on rural community practice.

“The shortage of veterinarians in Texas, especially in rural areas, has been a problem for many years, and to ensure the safety of our food supply and the continued prosperity of our state, we must do what's best for the industry, our fellow Texans and our future,” says former Texas House of Representatives Speaker Pete Laney, a member of the steering committee, in the Texas Tech release. “As an agriculture state, the nation and our world depend on Texas for food and fiber, and Texas Tech's proposal for a new, innovative veterinary school is a much-needed solution to a severe challenge. It is a cost-efficient, trailblazing model, and it deserves the positive endorsement of our legislature.”