Thompson School Launches Two-Year Vet Tech, Integrated Ag Programs
Responding to student and marketplace demand, the Thompson School of Applied Science will launch two new associate degree programs in September 2012: integrated agriculture management and veterinary technology. Both programs will draw heavily on UNH's agricultural facilities as well as on existing academic strengths in animal science and sustainable agriculture.
The integrated agriculture management program – modeled in part after the four-year sustainable agriculture and food systems major introduced at UNH in 2011 -- combines sustainable agriculture, organic production, local foods, farmers' markets, slow food, community supported agriculture, business, nutrition as well as soil, water and forest conservation.
"The desire for it came largely from students," says Drew Conroy, professor of applied animal science and program creator. "They told us, why do we have to focus on one thing, when almost every New Hampshire farm is more diversified?"
Conroy adds that while many schools have begun offering sustainable agriculture programs, the Thompson School's is unique in its flexibility. Students can choose from among existing Thompson School programs for a wide range of focus areas, including forestry, horticulture technology, or even culinary arts. This flexibility will also allow the program to grow.
The new program for veterinary technicians, who are described as the nurses of animal medicine, was created to help meet the growing demand in the field. Not only are pet ownership and the level of pet care increasing, says program coordinator and lecturer in applied animal science Sarah Proctor, DVM, the movement toward local and sustainable food is driving animal ownership. "There are going to be more people who have a goat in their backyards, or a cow or chickens," she says.
The vet tech program will provide balanced instruction for a wide range of animals but will have a unique focus on large animal care, taking advantage of UNH's two dairies and its equine facilities. "A lot of large-animal vets don't have the staff that they need, and we have the resources to teach about large animals," Proctor says.
Courses in the program, which is already filled for fall of 2012, will cover basic sciences, veterinary nursing, and veterinary practice management, with a strong focus on hands-on practical knowledge throughout the curriculum. In 2013, Proctor hopes to launch a healthy pet clinic for low-income pet owners run by second-year vet tech students. She'd also like to grow the program, which is currently capped at 18 students and is filled for fall of 2012. "We have to do very hands-on training, so staffing will be our biggest limitation," she says.
Read more information on the integrated agriculture management program.
View information on the veterinary technology program.