BOONE, N.C. — Dr. Virginia Corrigan, director of App State's Veterinary Technology program in the Department of Rural Resilience and Innovation, has been included in the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UT)'s 2023 "Volunteer 40 Under 40." Published by UT's Alumni Association, the list recognizes 40 alumni under the age of 40 who have excelled personally and professionally since completing their degree at UT.
Corrigan earned her Bachelor of Arts in zoology and a minor in neuroscience from Miami University, and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, Corrigan completed a one-year rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver, Colorado. She then spent two years at Animal Medical Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, as an associate veterinarian in the general practice and emergency departments. She went on to earn a Master of Public Health with a focus in human-animal bond studies from Virginia Polytechnic and State University (Virginia Tech) while completing a three-year postdoctoral residency program in advanced canine and feline practice at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. After completing her residency, she became an assistant professor at the College.
Corrigan brought her expertise to App State in September 2021 when she was appointed the director of App State Online's four-year Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology degree program. The program was established as a public-private partnership to address the workforce's needs for credentialed veterinary technicians to meet the growing demands for equitable access to animal healthcare. "To endeavor to set the program up for success, I reached out to my network and asked a lot of questions to gain valuable input from my veterinary professional colleagues and from other veterinary technology educators," explained Corrigan. Corrigan, along with Assistant Director Jennifer Serling and Lead Instructional Designer Mary Beth McKee, immediately started reviewing the curriculum, assembling a team of instructors and recruiting students to the program.
In Fall 2022, the program welcomed its first cohort of 109 students who became acquainted through team-based learning in their courses. The program celebrated National Veterinary Technician Week in October and wrapped up the semester with a pet food drive benefiting the Watauga Humane Society in December.
Corrigan's proudest accomplishment in her role is helping to build the program's leadership team. As of January 2023, the team includes 5 full-time and two adjunct faculty, a clinical coordinator, a wellbeing coordinator, an academic advisor and an administrative support specialist. The team is hybrid, with faculty and staff working both locally in Boone as well as remotely across the United States. "I am surrounded by intelligent, passionate and incredibly positive professionals with a strong sense of purpose, and without them, this program would not be where it is today. We have hired the first full-time Academic Veterinary Wellbeing Professional for any Veterinary Technology program in the United States, which speaks to our clear commitment to wellbeing for our faculty, staff, students and the wider veterinary profession," she said.
Looking ahead, Corrigan's goals for the program are to achieve American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) accreditation prior to the first graduating cohort in December 2024, to refine and enhance the four-year curriculum to best meet the needs of the students as well as the evolving needs of the veterinary industry, and to support the program's faculty and staff as they work as a team to achieve and embody the program's mission, vision and values.
About the Department of Rural Resilience and Innovation
Appalachian State University’s Department of Rural Resilience and Innovation is one of 17 academic departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and serves as a hub for App State faculty, staff and students working on scholarship, teaching and service with rural community partners. The department, which launched in summer 2021, is home to App State’s online, four-year Bachelor of Science in veterinary technology degree and offers seed grants to fund research or service-learning class collaborations that address challenges faced by rural American communities. Learn more at https://rri.appstate.edu.
By Lauren Andersen
January 12, 2023