Multimillion-dollar renovations under way at both veterinary colleges
Citing accreditation standards deficiencies, the AVMA Council on Education in April downgraded the veterinary colleges of Iowa State and Oregon State universities from full to limited accreditation.
Both colleges are currently undergoing major multi-million dollar renovations and improvements.
As the official accrediting agency of U.S. veterinary schools and colleges, the AVMA council conducted site visits at Iowa State and Oregon State during the fall of 2003, and in April submitted its reports to the veterinary college deans.
When a veterinary institution fails to satisfy one of more of the AVMA Council on Education Accreditation Standards, the council classifies it as having limited accreditation. This requires that the school or college be reevaluated in two years—instead of seven years for fully accredited institutions—to ensure that the deficiencies are being corrected.
The council's accreditation reports are confidential, but school or college officials can make known details of the council's findings.
Iowa State's Veterinary Teaching Hospital was found to be in critical need of renovation and modernization, according to school officials. A serious deficiency in staffing of hospital clinicians and certified health information managers was also cited by the council, along with a recommendation that cellular and molecular biology courses be more completely integrated.
In its report, the council commended the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine for excelling in curriculum, as well as in the areas of public health, food safety, infectious disease, neurosciences, surgery, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, and business and practice management.
The report also cited problems with specific physical conditions in the teaching hospital that need to be improved, however.
It stated that upgrades at the hospital are needed in the following areas: more suitable isolation units for equids with infectious diseases; safety improvements in surgical anesthesia and recovery units, and in loading and unloading facilities for horses; neonatal units for horses and cattle; and improved environmental conditions in the food animal and equine hospital.
"We have recognized for some time that our hospital needs extensive updating and have taken steps to secure funding," said Dr. Norman F. Cheville, dean of the ISU veterinary college, who is retiring in mid-August.
The Iowa legislature in April approved the board of regents request for bonding authority to help fund a $48 million, three-phase renovation and expansion of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and completion of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory biosecurity unit. About $7 million is expected to come from private donations.
The college dedicated the first phase of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory's biosecurity unit this June.
Plans call for reconstruction of the large animal hospital wards and the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, a new small animal clinic addition, an addition to the equine clinic, and a new entry and business office. Construction on the hospital is expected to begin in early 2005.
"In the next two years, when plans for the construction program are finalized, the college will be positioned not only for full accreditation, but also for an academic renaissance that secures our standing as a top college of veterinary medicine," Dean Cheville said. He added that a major reallocation of resources at the hospital had been made to cover deficiencies in staffing, and plans are being made to integrate molecular biology into the clinical curriculum.
Oregon State's College of Veterinary was found to be in noncompliance with the admissions standard of the AVMA Council on Education Accreditation Standards.
Similar to ISU, Oregon's College of Veterinary Medicine is making several improvements. Earlier this year, the college severed its relationship with Washington State University and instituted a complete, four-year DVM degree program. As part of the college's expanded program, the Oregon legislature authorized $8 million to construct a new small animal clinic and instructional facilities on the Oregon State University campus.
Moreover, the college received a $5 million gift to go toward the Large Animal Hospital Expansion Project. The university is fund raising to match the gift to complete the $10 million expansion project, scheduled to be completed during the next three years.
The 26,000-sq. ft. large animal hospital will include an indoor riding arena, equine treadmill facility, upgraded intensive care unit, additional equine stalls, expanded radiology unit, and new isolation facilities.