Cornell and the City University of Hong Kong’s new school of veterinary medicine will begin instruction in the fall of 2014, about two years after originally planned, administrators said in interviews this week.
Cornell signed a memorandum of understanding with CityU for the project in 2009 after CityU officials determined a need for a veterinary school in Hong Kong, according to Prof. Alfonso Torres, associate dean for public policy and a key figure behind the original proposal.
While the University said in April 2010 that CityU’s new school of veterinary medicine would receive its first class of 30 students in 2012, the program is currently still in its planning stages, Torres said in an email.
“The plan is to launch the program during the 2013-2014 [academic] year with the intention of admitting the first class of 30 students for the 2014-2015 academic year,” Torres said, explaining that the two-year delay was necessary to give the veterinary college more time to develop its program.
The six-year program will, through CityU, award students with a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary medicine. The school — which has not yet been named — will be financially self-sufficient.
“The proposed school will position City University as the regional center for the training of top level graduates to meet local and regional demand, as well as a center for excellence for academic research, professional advancement, and the sustained elevation of practice standards to promote public health, animal care, food safety and food production industry in the region,” City University President Way Kuo, said, in the press release.
Torres said the veterinary college is excited about this “extremely rare and unique opportunity,” citing the possibilities for advancing veterinary science across the world.
“CityU has the vision, energy and determination to make a difference in Hong Kong, one of the most advanced cities in the world, with the potential for elevating the quality of veterinary medicine in neighboring mainland China,” he said.
In addition, Torres said that he believes Cornell will benefit greatly from this collaboration. The University’s new presence in Hong Kong will lead to expanded opportunities both in research and academics for Cornell faculty and students, he said.
Torres added that Cornell’s presence in Asia will also “enhance the academic prestige of our College of Veterinary Medicine and Cornell in Asia.”
At the moment, however, Cornell’s veterinary college is focused on developing and implementing CityU’s own veterinary education program in Hong Kong veterinary before research is conducted at the new facility.
“There will be some research that supports the education effort, but there is no expectation of significant international research activities at Hong Kong for at least five or more years after the first class graduates,” Torres said.
Torres said that ultimately, the new school will provide benefits that extend beyond Cornell. He said he looks forward to “the impact that the delivery of modern veterinary medicine will have on the welfare of animals and people in one of the most populous parts of the world.”