A-State Progresses With College of Veterinary Medicine Plans, Launches Dean Search
JONESBORO, Ark. – Arkansas State University continues to progress in development of its proposed College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) with a scheduled accreditors site visit and the search for its next dean.
The college, with a tentative opening date of fall 2026 pending all preparations and regulatory steps, would become the first public veterinary school in Arkansas. The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (AHECB) approved the university’s plan for the college at its July 2023 meeting. Plans call for up to 40 new faculty and staff positions dedicated to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree program.
A-State’s next steps involve hiring a dean and securing approval by the national accrediting agencies associated with veterinary colleges, including The Higher Learning Commission and the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education, who will be making their initial consultative visit in July.
The dean, who will report to the A-State Office of the Provost, will be chief administrative officer for CVM with oversight for all academic programs and budget management. Applicants must possess an earned Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree or the equivalent, demonstrated research and a record of visionary leadership and excellence in administration. The university has begun advertising for applicants and nominees, and information can be found at https://www.astate.edu/college/veterinary-medicine/dean-search/.
“We will be looking closely at those candidates who can demonstrate a record of commitment to fostering collaborative activities that lead to productive relationships with alumni, professional veterinary organizations, practicing veterinarians, and other public and private stakeholders,” said Dr. Len Frey, co-chair of the dean search committee, executive vice chancellor for the Division of Finance and Administration and chief operating officer at A-State.
Founding Dean Dr. Glen Hoffsis is guiding A-State through the various CVM development stages, including planning for faculty, curriculum and facilities. He and consultant Jim Lloyd will continue to support the new dean to assure a smooth and successful leadership transition.
“Thus far, Arkansas State has progressed steadily toward meeting the accreditation and associated steps necessary before the veterinary school can open,” Hoffsis said. “I have been very pleased with the level of commitment and support I’ve seen for A-State’s proposed plans.”
Dr. Calvin White Jr., executive vice chancellor and university provost, said the successful candidate will work closely with community and government partners, faculty and staff to establish and implement the mission and strategic plan that will guide the teaching, research and service activities of the new CVM.
"I have charged the committee to find a visionary leader who understands the monumental undertaking of establishing the state’s first college of veterinary medicine, which is truly an inflection point in the history of our institution,” White said.
The AHECB decision in July was praised by A-State Chancellor Todd Shields as a key step toward the successful establishment of the vet school, which will make it possible for Arkansans to remain in state to earn their veterinary degree and establish a practice.
“Arkansas State is creating the CVM to serve the many needs for veterinary services in our state and the wider region,” Shields added. “A-State traces its origins to 1909 when it was established by the Arkansas General Assembly as the First District Agricultural School. Throughout our history, this institution has played a vital role in meeting society’s needs through the agricultural programs. The CVM will be the next major step in our mission.”
The dean search committee is co-chaired by Dr. Travis Marsico, vice provost for research, innovation and discovery and executive director of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute. In addition to Frey, Hoffsis and Marsico, other members of the search committee are Dr. Jennifer Bouldin, dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics; Dr. Mickey LaTour, dean of the College of Agriculture; Dr. Jim Lloyd, senior consultant for Animal Health Economics, LLC; Arianne Pait, assistant professor of communication disorders; Dr. Everett Rogers, president of Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital and president of the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association; Dr. Edward Salo, associate professor of history and president of the A-State Faculty Senate; and Dr. Lonnie Williams, vice chancellor for the Division of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement.
Nationwide there is a growing shortage of DVMs to fill a growing demand for services. In Arkansas alone, the number of households with pets has reached almost 1 million. Meanwhile, a generation of companion animal care veterinarians who have served those families are reaching retirement age. The more than 12,500 farms across the state, as well as Arkansas’ significant food production industry, have a growing need for vet services.
To learn more about Arkansas State's vet school plans and dean search, visit https://www.astate.edu/college/veterinary-medicine/.