August 5, 2011

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students: 

College Updates

Congratulations to our two newest teaching award winners: Dr. Brian Scansen, winner of the 2011 John Lyman, Jr. Award for Clinical Teaching and Dr. Carlos Pinto, winner of the 2011 Fox Family Teaching Excellence Award. These annual awards are given to recognize excellent teaching in our college. They are presented at  the Alumni Reunion Weekend banquet, which will be held this year at the Hilton Columbus at Easton on Friday, September 9, 2011. 

We began a new budget year on July 1 and our college budget was reduced by 5.4 percent. In addition, our state line item in support of clinical teaching, which is shared by the Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) and Marysville, was cut 15 percent. All areas of the College have been planning for these reductions. We may see a few vacant positions that do not get filled and we will be increasing our attention to efficiency and cost cutting activities, which may include reductions in staffing. We look to each of you for your suggestions to streamline our practices and improve our business model. We are no longer able to rely on increasing support from the State of Ohio and cannot transfer this burden to our students, who already have substantial student loans to repay. The outcome of the recent Focus-Forward weekend (see details below) was a series of recommendations proposing that we re-focus our activities to increase our efficiency and broaden our opportunities with industry, commercialization, research funding, development, and other earnings activities. 

Our second Focus-Forward Weekend was a great success. Thank you to all in the college who were able to participate. The topic was the "Financial Future of Veterinary Medicine," and Daniel Stone was there to keep us on track. The speakers offered a frank perspective on the current financial position of many private practices, as well as a look at the rapid rate of change in the world, from demographics to a new interdependence. We must consider innovative and creative solutions in preparing students for success. We must broaden their mastery of non-technical skills to increase the marketability of our new graduates, create demand for new opportunities, inspire the profitability of the private practice sector, and develop new business models to operate the college. As we did last year, a publication will be prepared that summarizes the discussions and the ideas developed through those discussions, which will guide us in our future plans. Last year's report is available here. We’ll announce when the next report becomes available. I want to thank Danielle Ford, Katie Kostyo, and Diane Rasmussen for their work organizing and managing this important annual event. 

State and National Events

We continue to work to build our national and international partnerships, and broaden Ohio State's impact through participating in events like the One Health conference last week, hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation. There were many discussions on the progress of the One Health initiative. The group of global experts offered advice and recommended that the Rockefeller Foundation support international One Health efforts. 

Mr. Edward Avalos, the undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs for the USDA visited our campus this week. He oversees APHIS, USDA in Washington, D.C. as part of his responsibilities. We discussed training in regulatory science for USDA employees, food animal and rural practitioners, key issues at the interface of human and animal health, the concept of One Health, and future collaborations in global animal health. 

Next week, faculty from the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine will travel to Washington, D.C. to present a Regulatory Science workshop for government employees. We are making this effort as a potential new income stream for the college, as well as fulfilling a need: many professionals in state and federal government both in animal and public health who make policy decisions have been out of school for a number of years, and they may not be aware of the most current scientific knowledge in the areas that they currently regulate. 

Alumni and Fundraising

Those of you who have missed the large painting of the famous horse Ugolin that used to hang in the stairwell near the auditorium of the VMC can now come visit him in his new home – over the fireplace in the Hummel Grand Lounge. The picture used to be displayed prominently in the rotunda of the old Veterinary Clinic on Neil Avenue and greeted everyone who walked through the clinic for many years. The 100-year-old painting has a rich history with our college, and we wanted to display it in a prominent location for more to enjoy. The painting and frame have been fully restored – and you’ll notice the frame is a rich gold color. Before the restoration, I thought the frame was black! 

Campus Updates and Partnerships

As a new way to reach out and engage members of the veterinary profession outside private practice, we held the first meeting of the Public Practice Council. This half-day session brought together professionals from organizations as diverse as Battelle, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, pharmaceutical companies, as well as state and federal agricultural and public health agencies. We offered them updates on the college, planning, partnerships, and strategic initiatives. They will be giving us advice on how to better prepare our students for jobs in government, corporations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as animal-associated national and global organizations. We look forward to working with these council members together with the organizations they represent to improve animal and public health. 

We are also continuing to build important partnerships with other campus constituencies. This week we held discussions with Bobby Moser, dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; Dr. Patrick Lloyd, the new dean in the College of Dentistry; Dr. Deborah Larsen, from the School of Allied Medicine; as well as Tom Reiland, director of WOSU stations, and Brent Davis, producer with WOSU-TV. WOSU is interested in promoting the diverse speakers and events that take place in our college through a new television channel, and we look forward to working with them. 

This morning, Drs. Saville, Lakritz, Silveira, and I attended the Agriculture Hall of Fame ceremony at the Ohio State Fair. Each year they honor and induct new members who have played prominent roles in Ohio Agriculture into the Hall of Fame. One of today’s awardees was Dr. Tom Turner, who has been a faculty member in the Department of Animal Sciences for many years, as well as a good friend and supporter of our college. 

Dean Lonnie J. King