October 17, 2011

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

College Updates

Last week was National Veterinary Technician Week. The Veterinary Medical Center celebrated the contributions of the technical staff including Registered Veterinary Technicians, Radiologic Technicians, Ultrasound Technicians, Pharmacy Technicians, and Medical Laboratory Technicians. I want to reiterate our appreciation for their skills, talents, and hard work. (And also note that National Pharmacy Technician Day is coming up on October 25.)

We have begun an internal search for the permanent chair for our Department of Veterinary Biosciences. I want to thank search committee members Drs. Steve DiBartola, Prosper Boyaka, Kate Hayes-Ozello, Päivi Rajala-Schultz, Romero Toribio, Famke Aeffner, and second-year student Lauren Wagner, for their efforts. We hope to announce the new chair in November.

We are also pleased to welcome Cathy Bindewald as our new Chief Information Officer, replacing Don Krueger. Cathy begins October 24, and I know she will be a great asset to our college.

College Visioning Team

A top-five college of veterinary medicine needs to have a vision that everyone believes in. A "vision" is more than just a motto: it summarizes what inspires us, ensures understanding of everyone's roles, and keeps us accountable. While everyone understands the university’s mission of teaching, research, service, and outreach, we want to be able to articulate our shared culture in order to understand our values and our vision of who we are. To that end, we are undertaking a process to develop a CVM vision. I believe this is a critical process that will provide us with an inspirational goal that will help us continue to drive towards excellence, even through changing times. Dr. Mary Jo Burkhard has agreed to lead this effort. She will be working with consultant Daniel Stone and a small team within our college to establish a process for creating the vision. In addition to creating the vision, we will also be conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis to help us determine where we are and we will also engage in a process to determine the top priorities for the college and decide on metrics to measure success. Alignment with the departments and VMC are critical features of the visioning process, thus we will also be developing follow-up activities to ensure full alignment across the college. In addition to Dr. Burkhard, the Visioning Design Team includes Lenore Southerland, Karen Zuckerman, Dr. Richard Bednarski, Dr. Mathew Allen, Dr. Päivi Rajala-Schultz, Dr. Bill Saville, Dr. Tracey Papenfuss, Kristi Pyke, and Melissa Weber. They will be selecting dates for the process, determining how participants will be selected to assure an equitable distribution between all five areas within the college (Departments of Veterinary Biosciences, Clinical Sciences, and Preventive Medicine; the Veterinary Medical Center; and College Administration), as well as assuring faculty and staff representation.

Campus Issues

Are you aware of the changes taking place on campus? Declining state budgets are now a fact of life, not a temporary inconvenience. In light of the university's need to improve cash flow, President Gee put forth several ideas in his recent faculty address that focus on revenue. He stated that we must find new ways to fund our core academic mission. Likely, you have already heard of some of the ideas he discussed: century bonds, technology commercialization, and one-time options, such as leasing the management of our parking. Additional ideas include the selling or leasing of other assets including the Ohio State Golf Course and Airport. We should all anticipate and participate in ongoing discussions over the coming weeks and months. These ideas will be on the agenda at upcoming meetings, from Faculty Senate to a town hall gathering later this month. We should be aware of the issues, and be part of the dialogue. Our efforts to build partnerships with other units across campus help us to demonstrate our crucial value to the health sciences core, and to the university teaching, service, research, and outreach missions.

Alumni and Fundraising

The new university "advancement" model aligns the offices of alumni relations, communications, and development to share information and work towards common goals. In an effort to support our fundraising goals in the coming campaign, as well as align our own alumni, communications, and development activities, we have begun actively seeking a new Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) for the College of Veterinary Medicine. The College of Engineering is also seeking a candidate for CAO, and we will be combining our efforts with a national search firm that will assist both colleges in screening candidates with high-level leadership skills. I'll keep you informed as this search progresses.

State and National Issues

State Representative John Carey, who represents several counties in Southeastern Ohio, recently assembled a meeting with the goal of further exploring the opportunities, options, and logistics of establishing a sustainable rural veterinary practice in Appalachian Ohio. Representatives from the Ohio General Assembly joined members of the Ohio Department of Development, Department of Agriculture, Jackson County officials, Ohio State Office of Government Relations, and faculty from the College of Veterinary Medicine. We continue to work with our many constituents and are gaining support for developing and putting forth a plan for an Appalachian-area practice that will provide much-needed services to this underserved area. Livestock producers and animal agriculture organizations are supportive of the concept, and we are working with the Fisher Business College to conduct a feasibility study and business plan.

Dr. Jeff Klausner, chief veterinarian for Banfield, was on campus last week. I had the opportunity to meet with him, and he spoke with our students as well. Banfield continues to be the fastest-growing group of veterinary practices in the country. Banfield currently operates approximately 850 practices and anticipates double digit growth in practices and income throughout this decade. Many of our graduates will no-doubt practice at least part of their career with Banfield, and we are interested in making certain our students are appropriately prepared for this work. Dr. Klausner and I discussed ways in which we can partner with Banfield in other areas and he also met with Drs. Lord, Moore and DiBartola.

Dean Lonnie King