University of Arizona Veterinary College Names Founding Dean

January 22, 2019
Jennifer Nessel

Dr. Julie Funk is set to lead the developing College of Veterinary Medicine toward accreditation this year.

The University of Arizona (UA) has announced the founding dean of its proposed college of veterinary medicine. Julie Funk, DVM, MS, PhD, currently an associate dean at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, is set to lead the UA college beginning March 18.

Dr. Funk said she sees a chance to help develop an innovative college at a respected research institution and work with people who are passionate about developing the college. “Arizona has been in need of a public veterinary medicine program for some time now and this program will have a positive impact on both animal and public health throughout the state,” she said. “With the new strategic plan in place, the university is well positioned to be an innovative leader in veterinary medical education.”

According to a university press release, Dr. Funk’s duties will include directing the structure and implementation of curriculum and training programs; developing research and outreach missions that incorporate emerging trends and needs in veterinary education, research, and practice; providing fiscal leadership; assisting in fundraising and development efforts; and participating in faculty and administrative recruitment.

UA Interim Provost Jeff Goldberg, PhD, believes Dr. Funk’s background in both private practice and academia positions her well to lead UA. “Julie will join us from a similar tier one research university where she has consistently demonstrated the ability to bring together diverse groups—from students and faculty to researchers and funding agencies—to achieve wide-ranging goals,” he said.

Dr. Funk’s initial efforts will involve working with the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education toward full accreditation for the veterinary college. UA began the accreditation process in 2013 but was denied in 2016.

Under Dr. Funk’s leadership, the university plans to submit a new proposal for accreditation to the council in September following a site visit this spring. Provisional accreditation would allow the college to open in fall 2020 and make UA the only public veterinary school in Arizona, which is facing a shortage of veterinarians in several areas.

With and a proposed year-round curriculum, the school hopes to graduate veterinary students in 3 years rather than 4, allowing them to enter the workforce sooner and with less debt.