offer indicated that their acceptance of a position was related to advanced training, up from 43.5% in 2009 (Shepherd and Pikel, 2011).
The 28 U.S. veterinary schools are having increasing difficulty maintaining the high-quality faculty needed to prepare both DVMs and post-graduates. Declining state support for faculty positions and tuition support has meant budgetary cutbacks that have reduced hiring, caused layoffs, and eliminated whole programs (Larkin, 2010). Declining federal funding for research grants in veterinary medicine and animal science have undercut the other sources of support for faculty member salaries. And increased demand for specialty certification, particularly those specialties related to companion-animal care (the largest employment sector), has controlled the focus of the 4-year degree program and deemphasized training for important, but less-prominent, core disciplines related to the basic sciences and public health, including the training of individuals who would become the next generation of veterinary school faculty. These trends limit the ability of veterinary colleges to fulfill their mission and to respond to important, new initiatives and needs, such as those related to One Health. Moreover, no one veterinary college can provide sufficient depth on the broad range of subject matter that encompasses all of veterinary medicine. For all of these reasons, the veterinary colleges face a crisis in manpower and organization, and to survive, will need to consider new models of education for the future.
This chapter examines existing formats for veterinary education and several alternative models. It explores supply and anticipated needs for faculty members at the colleges of veterinary medicine, the need for graduate academic and specialty training, and the status of veterinary research. Some of the information for this chapter came from the Comparative Database compiled annually by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). Additional information came from responses to an exploratory questionnaire developed by the committee (and discussed later in the chapter) to collect information about current and projected numbers of faculty members, students, post-graduates, interns, and residents in colleges of veterinary medicine and departments of veterinary science and comparative medicine.
Most U.S. veterinary colleges (with the exception of the University of Pennsylvania, Tuskegee Institute, Tufts, and Western University of Health Sciences) are located at land-grant universities. These colleges were established specifically to address livestock and poultry health issues related to production agriculture. Funding for the land-grant universities was derived from the sale of land given to the states by the federal government in fulfillment of the 1862 Morrill Act. The 1887 Hatch Act authorized matching funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support faculty and research. The programs have been highly successful in meeting local needs and providing educational opportunities for the citizens of the respective states.