Veterinary School Update: Texas Tech University – School of Veterinary Medicine (TTU-SVM)

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Published on: December 20, 2021

The inaugural veterinary class of the Texas Tech University – School of Veterinary Medicine (TTU-SVM) has completed their first semester at the new campus in Amarillo Texas.  The new building, located on the campus of the Texas Tech University Health Science Center, contains 190,000 square feet of teaching and research space complete with two 100-seat active learning classrooms, a 400-seat auditorium as well as many break out rooms, faculty offices, spaces for up to 100 graduate students, conference rooms, and student study rooms.  The research laboratory spaces average about 2,000 square feet.  There is also an 80,000 square foot teaching and research station just a few miles from the main building that houses resident cattle and horse herds and can accommodate many different species as needed. 

The curriculum is very “hands on” and reflects the interests of animal producers in the region and our more than 60 corporate partners throughout Texas that will serve as mentors and educators for the students in their clinical year of the 4-year distributive program.  Although there are only “first years” on campus currently, Drs. Philippa Gibbons (BVetMed(Hons) MS DACVIM(LA) MRCVS DipVetEd) and Jennifer Koziol (DVM, MS, DACT) are developing the course work that will provide some of the clinical basis for the student’s education and readiness to become Day 1 ready large animal veterinarians.  As part of the large animal curriculum, reproduction will be a focal point as stated by Drs. Gibbons and Koziol: “Students at TTU will be well versed in common food animal reproductive procedures upon completion of the program. Students will begin to perform transrectal palpations in cattle in their 1st year and continue throughout their curriculum. Evaluation of semen is scheduled to begin in the 2nd year and will continue into the 4th year when students can participate in bull breeding soundness exam electives. The hope is to graduate veterinarians that are practice-ready and ready to return to their rural and regional communities and serve the livestock industry”

Courses on embryo transfer and other assisted reproductive techniques will also be a portion of the elective curriculum.  The primary focus of the TTU-SVM is to produce veterinarians that are suited to provide veterinary services for the area of west Texas and beyond as reflected in our mission statement: “Providing high-quality, affordable veterinary medical education that emphasizes One Health principles and general veterinary practice in rural and regional communities across major domestic species”.  This unique opportunity is not lost on the veterinary students as stated by Randal Howard (Class of 2025) “Our program focuses on ‘practice ready veterinarians’ as is evident by our curriculum.  Within the first couple of weeks, we were beginning to perform physical exams on small animals and cattle”. 

Many of the students in the inaugural class are from rural and regional communities and understand the “necessity of having a solid, reliable veterinary practice close by” and “recognize the importance of having a veterinarian familiar with the goals of the respective industries in the area” according to Kayla Wallace (Class of 2025).  Many of the students come to TTU-SVM with considerable experience in agriculture and livestock in particular.  There are also potentially, several budding embryo transfer practitioners in the mix as indicated by Dalton Deckert’s (Class of 2025) experience “I worked for an embryologist and bovine reproductive specialist for two years while I was an undergraduate student, and I was involved in IVF, conventional embryo collections, and artificial insemination in cattle and goats as well as semen collection from bulls”.  The focus on producing practice ready veterinarians to provide services for rural and regional communities in west Texas and beyond is also reflected by our core values of Community, Integrity, Kindheartedness, Grit, and Inspiration.  For more information about the TTU-SVM please visit: https://www.depts.ttu.edu/vetschool/

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