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Achieving Impact Through Extraordinary Growth

The end of the semester is in sight, and our first class of 100 graduates will soon leave for their first positions. This is also the first DVM class that I had the privilege to welcome to the College a few months after I started my job at NC State. Their prospects are bright, but there is no doubt they have plenty of challenges ahead in a wide variety of positions in practice, post-graduate training, industry and the military. Over the last few weeks, I met with many of these fourth year students to get their advice on how we can keep growing our program to better prepare our graduates for their futures. One way to do this is improving our facilities. We now have two new laboratories for clinical skills and the client communication training laboratory in full use, and we have a very busy construction year ahead. Before the end of the year, the College aims to completely remodel one of our three lecture halls, replace our University Dining kitchen, and a host of other improvements. The new curriculum will also be fully implemented in the third year, with sophisticated clinical reasoning and communication teaching culminating in experiential training giving the students the best chance to prepare for their clinical final year.

In the last newsletter, I discussed the College’s strong focus on equine programs during the year ahead, with new plans announced for a partnership with the College of Animal and Life Sciences at the Reedy Creek Equine Farm, and for an expansion and major remodeling of the Equine and Farm Animal Veterinary Center. One of the most important developments for our equine group was the announcement of the Tiffany and Randy Ramsey Equine Sports Medicine Program on February 20th, 2016. This transformational gift names one of the most important components of our equine clinical program, and sends an enormously positive message about the impact and caliber of our clinical and research activities in the horse.

This month the College will publish a set of metrics, (link provided below), or criteria by which our performance can be measured. These metrics are intended to measure outputs or impacts of our actions, and specifically the actions we committed to in our strategic plan. The metrics were developed by teams of faculty and staff, and we’ve worked to measure our performance over the past four years, which is the lifetime of our current strategic plan. This is a challenging process, and while some things are easily counted, others need real work to measure objectively. I’d like to highlight a couple of key changes you can see from the metrics:

  • First, there has been a phenomenal increase in caseload in the NC State Veterinary Hospital. As a result we are treating more patients, and have increasing opportunities for clinical teaching and clinical discovery.
  • Second, we have seen significant increases in faculty numbers, funded in large part by the enrollment increase in the DVM program.
  • Thirdly, we can see measurable growth in our research and discovery programs, fueled in part by faculty growth. You can see the impact in terms of papers published, grants submitted, and dollars earned.

All of these changes make huge demands on our faculty and staff, who should be very proud of what they are accomplishing.

Finally, I would like to close this message by recognizing the work of Associate Dean and Director of Academic Affairs, Dr. Keven Flammer, who has decided to step down on May 1st, 2016. Dr. Flammer served in this position from 2009, and did so with grace, intellect, and complete dedication to both the integrity and the growth of the DVM program which is a flagship enterprise of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Flammer has led vital changes that have kept our educational programs at the forefront and maintained a culture of academic excellence. During my four years at NC State, I have not found a better partner or friend. The good news is that Dr. Flammer will continue to pay a vital role in the College. In addition to teaching and research work in avian medicine, he will take up a new position as Director of DVM Program Assessment.