September 2, 2011

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

College Updates

This week we wished Judy Kleen well as she began her retirement. We are fortunate to have had such excellent guidance over the past 23 years, as she led efforts to manage many budgeting challenges during her tenure. We are also fortunate to welcome Renne Komula, our new chief administrative officer. He began in July, and has been working with Judy to assure a smooth transition.

The university recently established guidelines for salary increases. Despite limited resources, the Board of Trustees, President Gee, and Provost Alutto believe that staff and faculty should be rewarded for their hard work. A raise "pool" of 2 percent has been established for these increases, and they must be based on individual performance, not "across-the-board." The average salary increase for high-performing individuals will be between 1 percent and 1.25 percent. Some people may receive less that 1 percent. The remaining percentages will be set aside for special equity/market increases. All increases will take effect on October 1, 2011. (For those staff paid monthly, the increase will be reflected with the October 31 paycheck.) Your supervisor will inform you of your increase, based on your performance review.

Campus Updates and Partnerships

We continue to build on successful partnerships across the state of Ohio. This morning, we participated in an event hosted by the Ohio Farm Bureau (OFB). Faculty from our college including Dr. Bill Saville, Dr. Thomas Wittum, Dr. Jeffrey LeJeune, Dr. Armando Hoet, Dr. Päivi Rajala-Schultz, and Dr. Wondwossen Gebreyes, gave presentations on their programs and research to the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, industry representatives, and members of the OFB. We continue to pursue opportunities for future collaborations, ranging from efforts to assure state funding, to providing student scholarships and job opportunities, and improving our relationships in agriculture.

We are also involved in a potential new educational partnership with the Apple Corporation. A group from Ohio State traveled to Cupertino, California this week to discuss opportunities with the computer maker, especially those pertaining to the advancement of mobile technology for the benefit of students, faculty, and staff. This could be a campus-wide effort, and the college of veterinary medicine would benefit from this new relationship. The Apple iPad has revolutionized education and has opened up new opportunities to redefine a classroom through mobile technology, using iTunes U, and other applications that allow enriched content and new pedagogy.

State and National Issues

The "Heartland" meeting was held last week in Indianapolis. This group is primarily composed of officers from 13 Midwest state VMA's and includes the deans from eight colleges of veterinary medicine. Discussions were centered around a "regional approach" to advancing the field of veterinary medicine. Many issues were discussed, including the challenges of diminishing state support, the potential for sharing resources among our colleges, and the need to expand opportunities for our students.

The AVMA recently approved an action plan designed to advance the profession. They approved the vision statement, "Veterinary medicine is a personally and financially rewarding profession," and created a as $5 million Strategic Economics Initiatives fund to improve the economic situation of its members over the next five years. They plan to establish a Veterinary Economic Strategy Committee to advise and develop strategies on economic issues, including developing partnerships to advance the profession's economic strategy; create a Veterinary Economics Division within the AVMA; authorize the continuation of the Economics Vision Steering Committee to provide guidance for reaching out to experts and other organizations to form partnerships that will help advance the profession's economic strategy; and develop an economics communication strategy.

Alumni and Fundraising

Last week, we welcomed Duncan Alexander to campus. He has been very supportive of our Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, and he visited "Field of Dreams," a local stable that provides therapeutic horse activities. Duncan is providing summer research funding for two of our students who are partnering with two students in the College of Social Work. Dr. Wendy Lorch is leading the project that will measure the impact of working with horses for patients with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Although there are many anecdotes describing the benefits of these sorts of interactions between people and horses, few measurable studies have been conducted in the past. The work being done this summer will offer a quantitative measure and we appreciate Duncan's support of these efforts.

Upcoming Events

Next week includes many important events in the college: Our Staff Appreciation luncheon, the culminations of the Student Summer Research program, Orientation for the Class of 2015, plus our annual Alumni Reunion Weekend!

Please plan to join your colleagues for "Kudos," our aptly named appreciation lunch being held on the lawn in front of VMAB, under the big tent on Thursday, September 8. In addition to food from Qdoba, we will announce this year's winners of the Distinguished Staff Award. Thanks to Kristi Pyke, director of Human Resources, for organizing this annual event. It's important to take time to reflect on the outstanding and important work that each of you accomplish each year, and share some relaxed time together.

Our Summer Research Students will be showcasing their work on Thursday as well. Posters will be on display all afternoon, and will remain up through the weekend for our alumni to enjoy. A record 49 veterinary students participated this summer and gained experience and insight into the world of research.

We will also welcome the Class of 2015 starting Thursday, September 8. Orientation activities will be held at the Recreation and Physical Activities Center (RPAC) on Thursday, at the Ohio Union on Friday, and on our college campus on Monday, September 19. For the first time, our newest veterinary students have been invited to join our alumni at the Saturday tailgate before the football game.

Alumni will be on campus Friday, September 9 and Saturday September 10 for the annual Alumni Reunion Weekend events. Friday includes a special Continuing Education session highlighted by a keynote speech by Dr. Kent Hoblet, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University, and former chair of our Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. He will speak in the VMC auditorium from 2-3 p.m. and all faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend. Class Reunions, along with the annual banquet and auctions are being held at the Hilton Easton. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by contacting Dr. Michelle Harcha for information at harcha [dot] 2 [at] osu [dot] edu. On Saturday, the Alumni Society will host their annual membership meeting from 8-9:30. At 9:30, I will offer our alumni an update of the past year in a "state of the college" address, and then we will enjoy a tailgate on the lawn prior to the Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Toledo football game.

I hope you plan to enjoy and participate in as many of these important college events as you can. (The tailgate does require pre-registration. Please contact Dr. Michelle Harcha for information.) And this coming weekend, please enjoy the end of summer. Have a safe Labor Day Weekend, and go Bucks!

Dean Lonnie King