CALDWELL, Idaho – The University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences will close the Caine Veterinary Teaching Center near Caldwell to adopt a new approach for educating veterinary students that relies on veterinary faculty placed throughout the state to work more directly with livestock producers and university facilities.
“We believe this change is necessary to reflect changes in the regional veterinary education program and to better prepare students to work with Idaho’s livestock producers,” said John Foltz, the college’s dean. “In addition, this change aligns with the university’s ongoing process of refining and redirecting resources in line with guidance from our State Board of Education as we meet changing needs.”
The shift will locate faculty positions formerly based at the Caine Center near Caldwell to the nearby Caldwell Research and Extension Center, the Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center near Salmon, UI’s Moscow campus and in the Magic Valley.
The change will affect nine staff positions at the Caine Center. The employees in those positions will be given preference in applying for similar jobs within the university as jobs become available. The center’s closure is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
The decision to close the Caine Center also reflects a refocusing of resources over the past decade away from animal research and diagnostic services in Caldwell.
“We appreciate the efforts of staff members at Caine and hope they will find suitable opportunities to continue employment with the university,” Foltz said. “Changing times in both the livestock industry and veterinary education require the university to adapt to new ways to better prepare our students to serve the public.”
The University of Idaho is part of the Washington, Idaho, Montana and Utah (WIMU) Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine with Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
The College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University supports UI’s new direction.
“For 40 years, the partnership with the University of Idaho has greatly benefited the education of generations of veterinarians serving the livestock industry,” said Bryan Slinker, dean of WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “The proposed plan is a creative way to adapt to changing industry and educational needs, and we fully support this evolution of the partnership.”
The Caine Center opened in 1977 as an off-campus unit of the Animal and Veterinary Science Department as part of the University of Idaho’s commitment to the Washington-Oregon-Idaho Regional Veterinary Education Program. Oregon withdrew from the joint program in 2005.
Idaho funds access for 11 students a year to study veterinary medicine at WSU. The UI agricultural college’s Department of Animal and Veterinary Science oversees the Caine Center and veterinarians on the faculty who work directly with students in the program.
Mark McGuire, past Animal and Veterinary Science Department head, said the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine has focused more on faculty members working closely with students through more direct training on and with livestock operations.
McGuire, who currently serves as the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station interim director, said students gain valuable experience working directly with dairy and beef herds and sheep flocks. The long-term proposal calls for locating two veterinary faculty in the Magic Valley, which is the epicenter of Idaho’s dairy industry that ranks third nationally in milk production.
The UI campus faculty position will focus on small ruminants and sheep. The UI Sheep Center maintains flocks of purebred Suffolk sheep and crossbred animals similar to those favored by Idaho’s sheep industry. The position at the Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center near Salmon will focus on the beef cow-calf industry critical to the Idaho beef industry.
The Caldwell faculty position will be focused on general food-animal care.
Source: University of Idaho