Dirk Vanderwall has been appointed interim dean of USU’s new College of Veterinary Medicine. Photo courtesy of Utah State University.
LOGAN – The College of Veterinary Medicine has been officially approved to become Utah State University’s ninth college. Serving as interim dean is Dr. Dirk Vanderwall, who has been affiliated with USU’s School of Veterinary Medicine for several years.
USU has been part of the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine for about 10 years. Current training of USU veterinary students is done in what Dr. Vanderwall calls a “2+2” program.
“Where we have 30 veterinary students here with us at Utah State University for the first two years of veterinary school and then our 30 students move to Pullman, Washington where they finish years three and four of their veterinary medical education,” he explained. “So, we have 10 years of providing the first two years of their veterinarian college training and now we will be expanding that to the full four years as a stand-alone program in the new College of Veterinarian Medicine.”
A new Veterinary Medical Education building on the USU Innovation Campus will be the site of instruction in the first three years of students’ education.
“With our fourth year of clinical instruction, that will be provided through what is referred to as a distributed community-based model,” he added, “where instead of having an academic veterinary medical teaching hospital here on campus, our fourth-year students will be distributed into private veterinary practices throughout Utah and beyond, getting their fourth-year clinical training in private practice settings, hence the community-based model for that education.”
USU’s first class of veterinary students will complete all four years in 2025. Plans are to admit 80 students annually, half of which will be Utah residents.
Last week, the State of Utah’s Building Board announced the selection of VCBO Architecture as the project architect for the new building. According to USU, the firm is focused on sustainable design and innovation, and its portfolio includes the Meldrum Science Center at Westminster College, USU’s Life Sciences Building, and the restoration and extensive seismic upgrade of Utah’s State Capitol.
“The new building will be strategically located on the Innovation Campus near the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the USDA Poisonous Plants Research Laboratory,” Vanderwall said in a release. “Both facilities and their personnel are integral parts of our current and future veterinary programs.”