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Three Top Candidates Interview for Dean of Proposed Veterinary College


JONESBORO – Three highly qualified individuals from veterinary schools in neighboring states have completed the interview process as finalist candidates to become the next dean for the proposed College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at Arkansas State University.

“We have been delighted to see such strong interest in this critically important leadership position,” stated Dr. Len Frey, executive vice chancellor for finance and administration and co-chair of the CVM search committee. “All three finalists have the potential to bring to Arkansas State University the leadership qualities necessary to guide us through the final steps to get the state’s only public veterinary college up and running.”

A-State began advertising in January for applicants and nominees. The dean will be chief administrative officer for the CVM, responsible for its missions in teaching, research and service. Primary duties will include oversight for all academic programs associated with the CVM, along with management of budget and other resources.

The finalists:

Heidi E. Cox Banse has been associate dean for educational strategy in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University since January 2022. An associate professor, Banse earned her bachelor’s degree in veterinary science and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University, and a Ph.D. in veterinary biomedical sciences at Oklahoma State University.

Martin O. Furr has served as professor and head of the department of physiological sciences since 2015 at Oklahoma State University, where also became senior assistant dean, clinical programs, in 2021. Furr earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Oklahoma State, followed by a certificate of residency in large animal internal medicine at Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center at Virginia Tech, a Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, and master’s in health professions education at Michigan State.

Carolyn J. Henry has held dual appointments as professor of oncology in the College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Medicine at the University of Missouri since 2008. She served as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine from 2018-2023. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Eastern Kentucky University and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Auburn University, then later added a master’s in small animal surgery and medicine.

“Many thanks to Dr. Frey, co-chair Dr. Travis Marsico, and the committee for identifying exceptional candidates for this critical role for the university and the state,” said Dr. Calvin White Jr., provost and executive vice chancellor. “The caliber of the pool and the institutions they represent demonstrate the committee’s diligence and the uniqueness of the opportunity.”

White shared that next steps include discussions with stakeholders in the coming days. He added, “I understand the importance of this hire and how it will forever change the educational landscape in Arkansas.  I choose wise counsel over haste; however, I will make the decision over the coming days."

The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved A-State’s plan to establish a College of Veterinary Medicine and its outline for the school, including the potential for 40 new faculty and staff positions dedicated to the DVM program, at its July 2023 meeting.

The state board also approved the program of study along with the individual program requirements and courses. A-State has forwarded its plans and ADHE’s approval to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education, the world's leading accrediting body for colleges of veterinary medicine. 

As A-State advances toward establishing the CVM, founding dean Dr. Glen Hoffsis will continue to support the process, including planning for faculty, curriculum and facilities. With a current goal of admitting the first cohort of students in 2026, A-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine will provide opportunities for students to become veterinarians, meet the projected needs of Arkansas and beyond for veterinary services, and become an economic driver for the State of Arkansas.

Photo of Heidi Banse
Dr. Heidi Banse

Photo of Martin Furr
Dr. Martin Furr

Carolyn Henry photo
Dr. Carolyn Henry