January 20, 2012

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

College Updates

I want to express my appreciation to the members of our new Staff Advisory committee. This group was formed to identify key issues and concerns in the college from a staff perspective. Our first meeting was today, and we will develop action plans to address these issues, as well as utilize this group to continue to improve communications in the college. Committee members include: Gale Azcarraga-Carter, VCS; Julie Becker, Marysville; Katie Canter, VMC – Labs, Chris Frasure, VBS; Stacey Gallant, VMC – Techs; Fred Marker, Information Systems; Tracy Marsh, VMC – Techs; Jacqueline Nolting, VPM – Research Tech; April Pugh, Administration - Student Affairs; Melissa Savage, VMC – Client Services; and Jen Simmons, Biomedical Media.

Thank you to all of you who participated in Bill Winsley’s recent presentation on "Prescription Drug Laws and Practices." Although I was unable to participate, I want to emphasize again the vital importance of this information to our college. We all have a responsibility to understand university policies, and state laws and regulations, and to comply with those rules. Violating these policies can jeopardize your personal safety, as well as the safety of co-workers, and can even result in more serious professional consequences, include job loss. We are committed to providing appropriate training and assistance to faculty, staff, and students. Those of you who were unable to attend are reminded that the online training module will be available on Carmen soon. (You will receive instructions with a link, and training must be completed within 60 days.)

We continue to discuss issues and challenges in many different venues in our college. Last summer, we hosted our second "Focus-Forward Weekend" with the topic of "The Financial Future of Veterinary Medicine." The conference proceedings are now available in a brochure as well as in a PDF on our website (http://vet.osu.edu/focus-forward).  We will distribute brochures in your department offices, near the mailboxes, so feel free to take one. (Contact Melissa Weber if you need additional copies.) Our strategic leadership teams will examine many of the suggestions from that event as we determine priorities for the college. You may not realize that the topic was chosen based on input from the first Focus-Forward Weekend, held in 2010, which was "Charting the Course for the Future of Veterinary Medicine." Economic issues were identified as part of every other critical issue in the profession: certainly no real progress can be made on any important program without understanding the economic impact and resource needs. We will continue to work with our friends, alumni, and other partners to identify issues and create real workable solutions to address challenges in our profession.

Campus Updates and Partnerships

We are continuing our efforts to expand partnerships with the Health Sciences colleges across campus. This week, we met with Dawn Tyler Lee, assistant vice president for Community Relations in the university office of Outreach and Engagement. She is bringing together several campus organizations to create new community-based health programs. We are working with her as we consider new ways of delivering health and wellness services including veterinary medicine.

State and National Issues

A recent meeting at the OVMA included a discussion of an issue on the minds of many Ohioans: new laws to restrict ownership of dangerous animals. Ohio is one of the only states in the U.S that doesn't have restrictions on owning and keeping dangerous animals. This issue has taken on great importance following the recent tragedy in Zanesville, in which an owner released dozens of big cats, bears, and other wild animals, many of which were killed by law enforcement officials. There are many different angles to discuss: how will the new laws be phased in and enforced, for example. I was surprised to learn that there are over 100,000 households in Ohio that keep venomous snakes. The wording of the new law is important, also: the restrictions are not on "exotic" animals, since many animals such as some bird species are exotic but not dangerous. As veterinarians, we have a role to play in the discussions, and potential implementation, of the proposed law. I would like to thank Dr. Linda Lord, current president of the OVMA, and associate dean in Student Affairs, for her work on this issue.

For the first time in the history of the AVMA and the AAVMC, representatives from both organizations got together to discuss issues critical to the veterinary medical profession. They identified workforce concerns, educational debt, demand for clinical veterinary services, and the public support of veterinary medical education as high priority items. Next steps include: Joint review of the National Academy of Sciences veterinary workforce study (due to be released at the end of this month), participation in future meetings to develop and implement economic solutions, and the release of progress reports to the membership of both groups.

Alumni and Fundraising

The Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine welcomed a group of emeritus faculty members to a lunch earlier this week, including Drs. Gary Bowman, James Donham, Harrison Gardner, John Gordon, Larry Heider, Bruce Hall, Boyd Epperson, Bill Ingalls, and Dick Dorn. It was gratifying to talk with this group, who so appreciate their connections to our college. Department Chair Bill Saville and I, along with other faculty members in the department, offered them a bit of an overview of current projects in the college, with a special emphasis on programs of interest to them, and those that are in need of support. We want to make sure all of our "friends" are aware of our financial priorities as we prepare for our upcoming campaign, so they can be strong advocates for us.

Last weekend was the North American Veterinary Conference, in Orlando, Florida. Thanks to Dr. Michelle Harcha for her work coordinating a very successful alumni reception at the conference, thanks in part to the financial support of our Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society. About 150 of our alumni were on-hand to hear updates about the college, and socialize with their colleagues.

Our development officers led a conference call this week with our fundraising Campaign Committee. We are continuing to update them on the progress in our college, specifically the recent retreats held in each of our departments to determine fundraising priorities for the campaign. We are in the process of refining these priorities and creating a report that will summarize our programs for potential donors. Our next campaign meeting is in April.

Upcoming Events

Next Friday, January 27 is our Vision Shaping Retreat. Why are we doing this? This retreat provides us with the opportunity to reflect on our mission, refine our core beliefs, and identify the college vision and direction for the future. About 115 staff, faculty, and a few selected students in the college will spend the day refining a shared "vision" and set of values for the college. This process will guide our strategic leadership teams and will help us align our strategic plan, Capital Campaign, and college programs and activities. Participants were recommended by department chairs and the director of the VMC; and a design committee calculated fair representation from each department. Successful organizations have a shared vision, and as a top-five College of Veterinary Medicine, we need to be visionary leaders for the future. We look forward to the results of this important process.

Dean Lonnie King