Arkansas is one step closer to having its first dental and veterinarian schools. Lyon received official notification Friday (Nov. 18) from the Higher Learning Commission Institutional Actions Council (IAC) approved a total of seven changes at Lyon College, including requests to offer the doctor of medical dentistry and the doctor of veterinary medicine professional degrees.
The IAC also approved a request to open a branch campus in Little Rock to house the dentistry and veterinary medicine programs at the Lyon College Institute for Health Sciences.
“Achieving the approval of our regional accreditor for these schools is a major milestone for us,” said Dr. Melissa P. Taverner, Lyon College president. “We now can complete and submit our initial applications for professional accreditation to the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association and the Council on Education (COE) of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). We plan to submit these applications in early 2023. Work on the dental and veterinary programs continues to move forward, and Lyon College will provide updates as subsequent steps in developing the Institute of Health Sciences are achieved.”
Additionally, the IAC approved Lyon College’s change requests to offer a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program, distance education courses and programs, a change in mission to offer graduate degrees, and a master of arts in teaching (MAT) degree program.
“We are now able to advertise these new programs that will be located at our Batesville campus and to proceed with the next stages of development, including preparing instructional plans and finalizing admissions processes for the BSN and MAT programs,” Taverner said.
Lyon College’s BSN program is designed for registered nurses (RNs) who have a diploma or associate degree in nursing, have earned their state license and seek to advance in their careers by earning the liberal arts BSN degree. Developed in partnership with White River Health of Batesville and the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, the program is designed to serve graduates of RN programs at Arkansas community colleges and nursing schools.
The MAT is designed especially for individuals without teaching credentials who have earned baccalaureate degrees in content areas and want to become teachers in an expedited fashion.
“Needless to say, these change requests, the preliminary internal reviews, and the external reviews, including the two change visits, required an extraordinary amount of work from so many people,” Taverner said. “I want to express my sincere appreciation to our faculty, staff and the greater Arkansas community for their efforts and diligence as we pursue these new opportunities for our students and for the benefit of all Arkansans.”
The college also will provide updates as the bachelor of science in nursing and master of arts in teaching programs begin, likely sometime in 2023.
“It is wonderfully exciting to see Lyon College add its first new degrees in many decades. It speaks to the spirit of innovation and hard work that our faculty and staff bring to the campus every day as we make the Lyon experience ever more relevant and impactful,” said Dr. Kurt Grafton, provost. “I am personally very much looking forward to watching these programs expand and produce graduates who will make lasting positive impacts on their communities and in the state of Arkansas for many years to come.”