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Arizona veterinary college hires founding dean

Dr. Julie Funk is expected to steer the proposed program through the accreditation process and beyond.

Arizona veterinary college hires founding dean
Before she became associate dean, Dr. Julie Funk was director of Michigan State’s online master of science in food safety program.

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.

Dr. Funk will move from the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where she serves as associate dean for professional academic programs and student success. Her start date is March 18, 2019.

“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.”

UA originally planned to open the nation’s 31st veterinary college in 2015, a year after winning the endorsement of the Arizona Board of Regents. The timetable was pushed back, however, when the accreditation-awarding Council on Education scheduled its initial site visit for early 2016 and later when the council declined to issue a letter of reasonable assurance of accreditation, citing shortfalls in five out of 11 standards.

The council’s next site visit is set for May 12 to 16, 2019.

UA’s proposed year-round program would award DVM degrees within three years, giving students a career head start over graduates from traditional four-year programs.

The state’s first veterinary college opened in 2014 at non-profit Midwestern University in Glendale.

“Arizona has been in need of a public veterinary medicine program for some time now, and [the UA] program will have a positive impact on both animal and public health throughout the state,” Dr. Funk said. “With the new strategic plan in place, the university is well-positioned to be an innovative leader in veterinary medical education.”

Dr. Funk is a 1991 graduate of the Michigan State veterinary college. She earned a master’s degree in veterinary clinical sciences from the University of Illinois in 1996 and her doctorate in comparative biomedical sciences from North Carolina State University in 2002.

She taught veterinary preventive medicine for six years at Ohio State University before joining the Michigan State faculty in 2006. She was appointed associate dean in 2014.