Spring/Summer 2019 Issue

by Bryan Slinker, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine

Change is afoot. Recently, I announced that I would step down as dean of our college at the end of 2019. A search will begin soon to identify our next dean. This is thus a time of reflection for me on where we have come since I became dean 11 years ago.

The short story is that we are a very different college in many ways, as we here have all worked together to accomplish some amazing things.

The longer story is this.

Our Veterinary Teaching Hospital staff and faculty in Veterinary Clinical Sciences are working extremely hard as they advance clinical care and attend to a growing caseload while teaching the next generation of veterinarians as the premier veterinary specialty practice in our multistate region.

We have welcomed a new academic unit, the School of Molecular Biosciences, increasing the role of exceptional undergraduate life science majors in our mission, and adding to our significant programs in fundamental biomedical research.

We have built the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health from a vision sketched on a napkin into a thriving entity with programs around the globe to improve the health and economic security of people in resource-poor countries, stabilizing them to reduce conflict and minimizing the spread of infectious disease and antibiotic resistance.

Our Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology and Integrated Physiology and Neuroscience departments continue to thrive as they anchor our research and education missions.

We created the first Teaching Academy in a veterinary school, the mission of which is to “make teaching matter” through faculty development as scholarly educators, and researchers seeking to improve educational practice.

We expanded our mission as a regional veterinary college through implementing WIMU, the Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah Regional Program in Veterinary Education. The multi-state program is fully accredited through 2024.

We created partnerships with local and regional humane societies including Seattle Humane and the Idaho Humane Society where our students can gain even more hands-on training.

We successfully competed for the Functional Genomics Initiative via internal reallocation of funds at WSU, committing ourselves to increased effort to advance livestock production through genomics and gene editing.

We have built up the Clinical Simulation Center that continues to grow in scope and sophistication and is the first such center accredited in a veterinary college.

Our physical facilities are second to none among veterinary colleges, and the new home for the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab was recently fully funded by the Washington legislature and will be completed in early 2021.

And so much more…whew!

These feats have been accomplished through the commitment, effort, and vision of our fantastic faculty, staff, and students. I have always considered my role to be securing resources and running interference for these collective efforts. And I have loved every minute of it. I have been a part of this college as a student, faculty, and academic leader for more than half of my life now, and so this departure is bittersweet for me. However, it is time for your college to have a new dean. As I step aside, I am confident that we will find the next dean who will effectively work with this great community to continue our momentum. In the meantime, there is still plenty to do as I continue to work with you all for the remainder of 2019.

Go Cougs!