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Veterinary Dean Named at University of Arizona

Veterinary Dean Named at University of Arizona
Julie Funk, DVM, has been named founding dean of the University of Arizona's proposed veterinary college. Her first job: steering the proposed program through the accreditation process. Photo Credit: Courtesy University of Arizona
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Veterinarian and national leader in online education Julie Funk, DVM, MS, Ph.D., has been named founding dean of the University of Arizona’s proposed veterinary college, a job that will entail preparing for a 2019 visit from national accreditors. Funk is joining the College of Veterinary Medicine on March 18, 2019, according to a university announcement. She is currently the associate dean for professional academic programs and student success at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine and is consulting for the UA on its proposed veterinary medicine program.

“Julie’s background in private practice, teaching and administration positions her well to lead the University of Arizona as we take the next step toward opening Arizona’s first public veterinary school,” said UA Interim Provost Jeff Goldberg. “Julie will join us from a similar tier one research university where she has consistently demonstrated the ability to bring together diverse groups – from students and faculty to researchers and funding agencies – to achieve wide-ranging goals. She has elevated herself as an emerging leader in the field of veterinary medical education.”

UA’s proposed College of Veterinary Medicine is designed to have a competency-based, year-round curriculum that will graduate students in three years, allowing them to enter the workforce a year earlier than traditional programs. Students are expected to get a wide range of clinical experiences with a variety of species in diverse settings including the university, private practice, industry, and the biomedical research and public health arenas.

As founding dean, Funk will be responsible for working with the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education to earn full accreditation for the UA College of Veterinary Medicine. The AVMA will conduct a site visit to the UA in May 2019. If provisional accreditation is granted, the UA will have the only public veterinary school in Arizona, which is facing a shortage of veterinarians in several areas.

“I am honored and excited to serve as the founding dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Arizona,” Funk said. “Arizona has been in need of a public veterinary medicine program for some time now and this program will have a positive impact on both animal and public health throughout the state. With the new strategic plan in place, the university is well-positioned to be an innovative leader in veterinary medical education.”

Funk joins UA from Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where she was a professor in the department of large animal clinical sciences and associate dean for academic programs and student success. She led the strategic reinvention of new curriculum to strengthen the profession, initiated a clinical skills laboratory and established the first career services adviser position in the college’s history. Key initiatives included implementation of holistic admissions processes for the college and innovative student wellness and engagement efforts.

Funk taught veterinary preventive medicine for six years at The Ohio State University before joining the faculty at MSU. Prior to assuming the associate dean role at MSU, she served as director of MSU’s online graduate program for food safety, setting the national model for such programs. She also conducted research in pre-harvest food safety.

Funk graduated from Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991 and started her career in private practice before continuing her education with a master’s degree in veterinary clinical sciences and doctorate in comparative biomedical sciences.

At the UA, Funk will lead the education, research and training programs in the proposed College of Veterinary Medicine. Her duties will include directing the structure and implementation of curriculum and training programs; developing research and outreach missions that incorporate emerging trends and needs in veterinary education, research and practice; providing fiscal leadership and heading fundraising and development efforts; and participating in faculty and administrative recruitment.

Dr. Funk will lead education, research, and training programs and work with the AVMA Council on Education toward full accreditation for the veterinary college, the university announcement states. The COE has a comprehensive site visit scheduled for May 12-16.

In 2016, the COE declined to give UA officials a letter of reasonable assurance of accreditation, which is a formal statement that a developing program likely will comply with the accreditation standards. Gaining that assurance is a step toward accreditation.

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