The NC State College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2019 has already achieved a distinction even as it begins the first month of a four-year journey toward a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
The 101 students set a record as the most diverse in the history of the College with 28% of the DVM students representing minority populations.
“This achievement is a result of a planned recruitment effort,” says Allen Cannedy, director of the College diversity program. “As is stated in our strategic plan, the College has a long-term commitment to a culture that values diversity of ideas as well as people.
“There is an institutional desire to be the top-choice program for students, staff, and faculty from all backgrounds,” continues Dr. Cannedy. “Embracing diversity and inclusion is a component of preparing graduates to meet the needs of a changing society.”
Minority student enrollment at the College has been consistently above the national 14% average but each incoming class is an opportunity—or challenge—to attract the best and brightest underrepresented students to begin a career in veterinary medicine at NC State.
“That is a challenge,” says Cannedy. “These students, who excel in undergraduate studies as do all of our incoming DVM candidates, also have the same career options. We have the extra challenge of attracting them to veterinary medicine as well as to NC State.”
The Gateway Veterinary Camps Cannedy organizes each summer for middle school students is part of the long-term commitment. The program, which offers campers a hands-on veterinary medicine experience, just finished its eight year. Participants from the first camps are beginning to complete undergraduate school and Cannedy hopes some aspect of veterinary medicine, perhaps introduced years ago, is a career interest.
“Our peak minority turnout for a summer camp was 33%,” says Cannedy. “So that represents but one simple tool in our recruitment. It’s a step. We have to see if the students can maintain an interest through high school and college. It is our strategic planning that is critical in our ongoing efforts.”
Among other outreach efforts:
- Veterinary Career Parent-Student Education Program through which 35 underrepresented students and a parent spend at day at the College learning about careers in veterinary medicine and having hands-on experiences;
- SAVE—the Shadowing A Veterinarian Experience program for 24 juniors from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University spend the day at the College and meet former NCA&T graduates who are now DVM students;
- College Advisor/ Counseling Education Program provides participants working with underrepresented students with information on admission requirements.
- Visits to elementary, middle, and high schools and colleges as well as numerous recruitment events and career fairs.
More activity is being developed, according to Cannedy, and it is not limited to students. Diversity among faculty, staff, and administration is also a College goal. The College, in fact, held a formal diversity retreat in May of 2014 with alumni joining faculty and administrators to create a more strategic approach to inclusion and diversity. The plan is focused on expanding diversity, strengthening the environment of inclusion and cultural competency, and building pipeline programs and partnerships.
“We expect that, once fully implemented, this plan will help position the College as a top-choice veterinary medicine program for students, staff, and faculty from all backgrounds, and set standards for professionalism in veterinary medicine,” says Cannedy.
Read a summary of the Strategic Inclusion and Diversity Plan: