The Animal Health Technology program at Pierce College was given a 40% increase in funding this year in an attempt to win back its American Veterinary Medical Assn. accreditation.
The association withheld the program's accreditation last April after an on-site review.
"They felt that additional staff was needed, that not enough money was being spent on the program, and that the laboratory facilities, mostly the equipment, was out of date," said the program's director, Lisa Eshman.
Eshman said the program currently is undergoing curriculum and facilities changes in hopes of passing the January review.
The college's administration has approved the hiring of a professional animal health technician next spring to help with clinical procedures in the surgery class.
And the program received $2,000 more than the $3,500 budget allocated last year. The additional money will be used to purchase laboratory equipment and supplies, Eshman said.
"The program needed help with some of the special equipment and instruction," said Malcolm Sears, chairman of the agriculture department.
In addition to the purchase of new laboratory equipment, changes in the program curriculum were addressed in order to meet the association's recommendations.
"Students are now required to take a computer course. We now have a veterinary instructor doing surgeries instead of volunteer veterinarians," Eshman said. "Parasitology instruction has been expanded, and we now teach an animal health and disease control class."
Eshman expects the program to regain its accreditation. 'We've done a pretty good job of responding to all of the AVMA's complaints."
Also, the construction of a pole barn, a new facility to shelter the animals used in animal health technology classes, began last summer. No date has been set for completion due to budget problems, Sears said.
In its report, the association stated that the program's animal housing facilities were inadequate.
Currently, the animals are "housed in a little facility so small there is not enough space to meet the needs of all the students," Sears said.
There are about 60 students in the program, which is one of the three major components of the agriculture department at Pierce College, according to Sears. The other two are the equine and horticulture programs.