Winter 2015 Issue

by Bryan Slinker, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine

Growth and opportunity. Moving into 2015 we find ourselves in a time where we are steadily hiring many new faculty members. Over the last three years, we have averaged nearly one a month across the college. And what an exciting time this is. It seems there is always a seminar or “chalk talk” being given by an exceptional faculty candidate from one of the many searches. Regardless of the area of expertise we seek, whether small animal or equine internal medicine, antimicrobial resistance, cellular microbiology, critical care, neuroscience of motivated behaviors, muscle biology, surgery, virology—and many more— talented scientists and clinicians from around the world see opportunity in our college. And in them we see tremendous opportunity for our college as we seek to improve in every dimension of our mission.

The decisions are challenging—there are so many outstanding possibilities to choose among as we hire new colleagues. Sometimes we hire two where we sought one. At times we find exceptional individuals we had not even known we were looking for! The potential to add to the quality of our college by attracting such talent is simply too hard to pass up. There is of course a limit to how many new colleagues we can bring on the faculty to join us, but the financial stretches we have made recently are worth it in relation to the opportunity for the college.

Our existing faculty and staff offer newcomers a body of great colleagues, both in expertise and in personal qualities. Our strategic successes offer newcomers ready access to a critical mass for focused, joint efforts to advance knowledge, clinical care, and service. We also offer fantastic facilities and equipment. Once candidates visit during the recruiting process, they can see a great career ahead of them if they join us. And so they do. We are also rapidly changing the face of the college. Of the last 30 faculty members hired over about three years, nearly a third have been mid-career. We are strategically moving away from the traditional hiring pattern of bringing in only new faculty at the very beginning of their careers. These mid-career individuals “hit the ground running” and help keep us on a strong upward trajectory as we face some imminent retirements of long-time, successful colleagues. Importantly, 50 percent of our new faculty members across the college are women. Together these new faculty members show us what our future looks like. And that future is bright.

In issues of Advance, and in other ways, we will provide more details of these individuals who constitute a remarkable new face for the college. Rest assured that in this time of rapid growth and change—which is by no means nearing an end—we seek not only to improve and better serve our mission and stakeholders, but we also seek to maintain the strong traditions and character of our Cougar family. We’ve come a long way from a couple of faculty and a $60 lean-to tacked on to the Armory in 1895, but we will not forget where we came from.

Go Cougs!