Fall 2019 Issue

by Bob Mealey, interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine

In our last Advance Newsletter, Dean Bryan Slinker opened with the phrase “change is afoot.” He discussed his upcoming retirement and reflected on all the positive changes and accomplishments over the last 11 years under his outstanding leadership.

Well, change is still afoot. Bryan’s plans changed on September 30 when President Schulz asked him to step in as WSU’s interim provost. For him to serve this critical role, Bryan needed someone to step up to lead our college. My plans changed when I got that surprising call. I was both very honored and apprehensive to be given the opportunity to take on such a big responsibility. But just as Bryan was willing to give back and serve the University in a time of need, I, too, was willing to do the same for our college.

Since many of you may not know me, I thought I would just take this opportunity to introduce myself. I grew up in Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado and am a 1990 graduate of the DVM program at Colorado State University. I went on to a large animal medicine and surgery internship at the University of Minnesota, followed by a residency in large animal internal medicine with an equine emphasis at Texas A&M, becoming board certified in large animal internal medicine. I joined the clinical faculty here at WSU in 1996, running an equine medicine service and teaching fourth year DVM students in their clinical rotations, first in the old hospital in McCoy Hall, then in our new Veterinary Teaching Hospital. I entered the doctoral program in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, earning my doctorate in 2001 with a project focused on equine infectious disease and immunology. Although I did not get my DVM from WSU, my doctorate makes me a WSU alumnus!

I joined the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology faculty in 2002 and have worn several hats as I have risen up through the ranks. I maintained a research program in equine infectious diseases and coordinated courses in the DVM curriculum. I served as the college’s associate dean for research and the director of our Animal Health Research Center. For the last two years I have been chair of the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology.

For the past 23 years, I have been in our college in one capacity or another, and my multiple roles and leadership experience have prepared me to take on this new challenge as dean. I will admit that this is a whole new level of leadership for me and leading a college as big and diverse as ours is intimidating. Thankfully, I don’t have to do it alone because we have a great team, and I have lots of help. For this I am most grateful.

The open search for our new permanent dean has produced an impressive pool of outstanding applicants, and on-campus interviews for the finalists will be completed the first week of December. It is very likely that we will have a new dean named before the end of the year, and I am very excited about this prospect.

Until our new dean is here, my plans are to lead this college to the best of my ability to sustain and build upon the incredible progress achieved under Bryan’s leadership. As a college, we will continue to be deeply committed to improving the health and well-being of animals and people at home and all over the world. We are large and complex and have experienced tremendous growth, and there will always be challenges to face. We have, however, an incredible track record of success on multiple fronts, and many new opportunities await. Along with our amazing faculty, staff, and students, I am committed to meeting challenges and pursuing opportunities so that we continue our upward trajectory and set up our new dean for continued success.

As always, Go Cougs!