MALVERN, Ark. — Arkansas State University will proceed with creation of a College of Veterinary Medicine in Jonesboro, and ASU Three Rivers will upgrade its nursing program with an $8 million facility upgrade and expansion in Malvern.
The ASU System Board of Trustees voted to approve both initiatives today at its regular meeting on the ASU Three Rivers campus.
System President Chuck Welch said the new college, which will offer a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, will help meet substantial state and national demand for additional veterinarians while escalating A-State and Jonesboro as a destination for professional science education and research. The campus is also home to the Arkansas Biosciences Institute and New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine.
“We believe Arkansas State will attract even more undergraduate students who want to pursue degrees in science,” Welch said. “They will soon have the opportunity to stay in Jonesboro for a seamless transition to vet school in addition to existing options of medical school, advanced nursing programs, physical therapy and other outstanding master’s and doctoral programs.”
Arkansas is one of only 19 states that has no vet school. Graduates of the A-State program will be qualified to work as veterinarians in Arkansas and elsewhere following a four-year program of study.
A-State Chancellor Todd Shields said the degree program curriculum will be addressed by the Graduate Council, then application will be made to the Arkansas Division of Higher Education. Accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education will also be required. The “optimistic goal” for opening is fall 2025, Shields said.
ASU Three Rivers will use an $8 million federal grant to construct a new nursing building that will accommodate an increase in practical nursing and registered nursing slots, as well as new programs for certified nursing assistants and emergency medical technicians.
“We are very grateful to U.S. Sen. John Boozman for his leadership in securing this appropriation through the Omnibus Act,” Welch said. “The demand for all levels of nursing is extraordinary, and this facility is badly needed at Three Rivers to ensure a quality training environment.”
ASU Three Rivers Chancellor Steve Rook said the 20,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed by summer 2024. It was the largest federal appropriation made to a two-year institution in the country, he added.
Trustees approved Henderson State University to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in natural science and a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education with a focus on math education. Chancellor Chuck Ambrose said the natural sciences degree will provide a pathway for students who desire prerequisites for medical, dental, pharmacy and other professional science degree programs. It will also accommodate students currently studying biology and chemistry.
In other business, the Board approved:
• A Debt Management Policy for the ASU System that is designed to protect the long-term financial health of system institutions and to maintain proper debt management.
• A-State to modify its lease agreement with NEA Sports Club and to enter into separate lease agreements with Elm Street Center, Inc. and Aggie Road Center, Inc. to facilitate alcohol service to club members at Centennial Bank Stadium, First National Bank Arena and Tomlinson Stadium. Changes are subject to approval by the Jonesboro City Council and Alcoholic Beverage Control administration. All three entities were created to provide financial support to the Red Wolves Foundation.
• A-State and ASU-Newport to apply for federal grand funding from the Transportation Alternatives Program for support of campus loop trails on the campuses.
• Naming of the Kays Foundation Scarlet to Black Program for Financial Independence to recognize the foundation’s support for college students who have financial difficulties.
• Henderson State to grant a 10-foot electrical easement to Entergy Arkansas for underground facilities in front of the Barkman House.
• ASU-Beebe to offer a Certificate of Proficiency in medication assistant-certified.
• ASU Three Rivers to confer the Honorary Associate of Applied Science degree in general technology upon Chester Fort.