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Veterinary Medicine faculty charts course for future with new strategic plan

Moving forward with a vision of 'One Community, One Health'

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine's plan highlights four priority areas for the next five years and beyond, including: fostering a connected and empowered community; expanding UCVM’s global community through One Health, Indigenous engagement and internationalization; strengthening the faculty’s clinical and diagnostic community; and enhancing the learning experience of postgraduate trainees. Photos by Chris Bolin, for the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Dean Baljit Singh, left, Alta Genetics executive David Chalack and President Elizabeth Cannon take part in the strategy launch event at the Red and White Club on March 30.

By Collene Ferguson, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

Community support helped the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) grow from an idea into a top-ranking veterinary school in little more than a decade.

So, it’s fitting that the faculty launched its new five-year strategic plan by celebrating with members of that community.

The event, held at the Red and White Club at McMahon Stadium on March 30, drew nearly 150 people, including students, faculty, staff, UCalgary leadership, and many community partners.

“We are on the cusp of a new and exciting phase of rejuvenation, growth and strengthening,” said Dr. Baljit Singh, dean of UCVM. “In the next five years, we will build on our strong foundation and charge ahead with purpose.”

An extraordinary journey

“Over a decade ago, the University of Calgary recognized an opportunity to make a difference when we established our Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,” President Elizabeth Cannon said at the event.  “We saw the challenge of meeting animal and public health needs in our province, and we also saw the tremendous potential to address these needs with an integrated, interdisciplinary approach in veterinary education.

“The faculty has gone above and beyond in its leadership to support the health of animals, people and the environment,” Cannon said.  “It has been an extraordinary journey.”

Celebrating UCalgary’s 50 years of impact and UCVM’s vision for the future

“UCVM is proud to be a part of the University of Calgary’s 50 years of outstanding contributions to scholarship, research and community service,” said Singh. “We are privileged to celebrate this milestone along with the release of our new strategic plan.”

The plan highlights four priority areas for the next five years and beyond, including: fostering a connected and empowered community; expanding UCVM’s global community through One Health, Indigenous engagement and internationalization; strengthening the faculty’s clinical and diagnostic community; and enhancing the learning experience of postgraduate trainees.

Consult, collaborate and consult again

“UCVM’s strategic plan was developed through a ground-up process that engaged our internal and external stakeholders multiple times," said Singh.   

That process involved five months of intensive consultation about the faculty’s future, including an online survey of students, faculty and staff, several retreats, multiple small group and individual meetings, and weekly early morning sessions with the strategic plan steering committee.

“I really liked that it was collaborative and they were asking questions at all levels,” said Abir Bachir, a faculty assistant in UCVM’s Department of Ecosystem and Public Health. “And I was really excited to see the energy and cohesiveness of people’s ideas.”

Dr. Susan Kutz, a member of the steering committee, calls the process “invigorating, stimulating and energizing.”

“I think the experience was very good in bringing students, faculty and staff together towards a common vision. And I think it was very productive in doing that,” said Kutz. “You could feel the energy and the optimism building throughout the process.”