University strengthens Agriculture teaching and research
Under changes to be finalised by the University Council, the Faculty of Veterinary Science (FVS) will become the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences (FVAS), with all activities relating to on-farm animal and plant production, including the Bachelor of Agriculture, moving from the Melbourne School of Land and Environment (MSLE) to the renamed Faculty.
Professor Ken Hinchcliff, Dean of the new Faculty, said the University was committed to its agriculture program and he was excited about bringing the two complementary schools together.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the university,” he said.
“It will increase the prominence of the really good work we are doing in agriculture and in veterinary science and together we can be much stronger.”
The Faculty strongly supports the realignment, which allows the FVS and the MSLE to take advantage of complementary expertise in animal and plant production of food and fibre. There will be greater cohesion of our teaching and learning, research and engagement programs and increased scope for new initiatives. Our combined strength in these areas will cement our national prominence in animal health and agriculture.
The change was proposed by the Faculty to reflect the expanded role of the new faculty in having primary responsibility within the University for research, learning and teaching, and engagement related to animal health and welfare, and farm production of animal and crop foods and fibre.
The FVAS will be responsible for the Dookie campus, with increased opportunities for utilisation of the excellent facilities in our FVAS teaching programs, including the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). It will also provide the opportunity for greater local engagement of students and researchers. The FVAS will become the custodial faculty of the Bachelor of Agriculture which is the flagship undergraduate degree for students studying agriculture (both plant and animal), domestic animal sciences, and related disciplines at the University. The Faculty of Veterinary Science, through its teaching of the Production Animal Health major in the Bachelor of Agriculture, has contributed to a four-fold increase in enrolments in the program over the past two years. The University is committed to further expansion of this program.
Importantly, these changes do not affect the teaching of our DVM or other course work programs, nor the accreditation of the DVM. The role of the Veterinary Hospital in our teaching and research programs will continue unchanged. Changes to the structure of the Faculty within the University will be largely invisible to our current students and likely not noticeable to our alumni.
This is a historic change for the FVS. Building on our already strong agricultural focus which includes the Mackinnon Project, the Dairy Residents Program and Andrew Fisher’s appointment as Chair of Cattle and Sheep Production Medicine, the joining of staff from MSLE with strong interest and expertise in agriculture will provide us with many exciting opportunities to extend our expertise in the field of agricultural sciences.
The MSLE will be disestablished and Professor Ken Hinchcliff will be the Dean of the newly named FVAS. Updates on significant developments will be announced as the Faculty continues to work through the various processes associated with the realignment.