Strategic Plan for the College
Original 10-Year Plan Approved January 2000
Revised and edited March 2003
The mission of the College of Veterinary Medicine is to promote the art and science of veterinary medicine through the acquisition, application, and dissemination of scientific advances that help diagnose and treat disease and maintain health of animals and humans. This mission is accomplished through scholarly inquiry into the nature of health and disease, conveying these findings through scientific media and educational programs, and application of this knowledge through services provided to the public.
The College values the expectation and responsibility to:
- train students to diagnose, treat and maintain the health of agricultural, wildlife, and companion animals.
- assist veterinarians, the owners of livestock, as well as the food and pharmaceutical producing industries in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of animal and human diseases.
- provide referral and consultation to veterinarians and their clients.
- expand knowledge and develop new technology for the health and well being of animals and humans through basic and applied research.
- train graduate and professional students in advanced technologies in order to protect the human population from emerging diseases.
- promote the acquisition and application of veterinary medical knowledge in a way that is environmentally responsible.
- provide veterinary medical training and service, and conduct research in such a way that ensures the health, welfare, and appropriate use of animals.
- contribute to the welfare of people by promoting the human-animal bond.
- be leaders in regional, national and international arenas in teaching, research, and service of veterinary medicine.
VISION STATEMENT AND INTRODUCTION
Our vision is that the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine will be ranked among the foremost veterinary colleges in the nation by the year 2010. The College (at 50 years of age) is young and on the path to achieve excellence.
We have two goals: to enrich and expand the environment for state-of-the-art veterinary clinical science and practice; and 2. to increase research productivity. To achieve this vision we want to expand on our strengths and eliminate our deficiencies.
Strengths to be enhanced
- Teaching. We have achieved excellence in teaching. To date, eight College faculty members have received the prestigious UGA Josiah Meigs teaching award on campus. In addition, many of our faculty are renowned nationally and internationally and have developed programs that are already among the best in the nation. For example, four faculty members in the college have received national teaching awards in both basic and clinical sciences.
- Research. Our faculty members are internationally recognized scientists and experts in diverse areas, including diseases of horses, companion animals, poultry, fish and wildlife. The majority has the PhD degree or an equivalent terminal degree.
- Service. We have dedicated, board-certified clinical specialists, many renowned nationally and internationally. The College has excellent clinicians who provide regional outreach to solve animal health problems in Georgia and the Southeast.
An exemplary student population. Our students are among the best and brightest of the professional and graduate students at the University. Public interest in veterinary medicine, applications for admission, and the credentials of matriculating students are at an all-time high at this time (1999). Efforts to maintain this strength while encouraging diversity will assure that this talent provides an excellent resource to recruit future biomedical scientists for society and will ensure quality and growth of the profession in the future.
Access to animal populations. Faculty and students are linked to domestic and wildlife species through various programs, including the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center, Athens and Tifton Diagnostic Laboratories, the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, and the Food Animal Health Management Program. These links are an excellent avenue for scholarly endeavors involving animal health, food safety, and human-animal interdependence. The opportunity for collaborations among College faculty and the greater university community is enormous.
Interdisciplinary programs. The College has interdisciplinary programs established and planned that offer opportunities for collaborative biomedical research and graduate training. These include the Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program, the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, and the Vaccinology Program. Faculty members have links to the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center and are integrally involved in the Biomedical Health Science Institute. These programs and links provide the opportunity for the College and the University to expand extramural funding for research and graduate training.
New and renovated facilities. State and Federal governments have invested approximately $45 million in facilities for the College in the 1990's, including the Athens and Tifton Diagnostic Laboratories and the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center. Most recently, the Veterinary Bioresources Facility has received $4.3 million in State funding, and additional funding is being sought to complete the Animal Health Research Center.
Instructional technology. The College has educational resources that are among the best in the country. Our faculty pioneered the use of computer assisted learning for veterinary instruction through the use of the Internet and 3D real-time interactive, instructional media.
Deficiencies to be addressed
We have identified three colleges of veterinary medicine that exemplify qualities to which we aspire. These colleges are the University of California at Davis, Colorado State University, and Cornell University. To achieve these aspirations we must address several areas.1
Size of the Hospital. Although our caseload is comparable or greater to that in each of the above colleges, our hospital facilities are dramatically smaller. The sizes of the respective teaching hospitals are: Colorado State University 125,000 ft 2 , the University of California at Davis 131,000 ft 2 , and Cornell University 120,000 ft 2 . In comparison, the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Hospital is 63,000 ft 2 . Our caseload is currently (1999) greater than that at Cornell and Colorado State University.
Number of faculty. Although our veterinary student to faculty ratio (2.6:1) is comparable to each of the above colleges, our greater caseload with its concomitant service responsibilities has a negative impact on the teaching and research of clinical faculty.
Number of residents and graduate students. Our student to faculty ratio is 0.7:1. This is considerably lower than in our aspirational colleges where these values range as high as 2.3:1. Additionally, our resident to caseload ratio is considerably lower than these institutions.
Number of staff in hospital. The UGA College of Veterinary Medicine has 77 hospital staff. In comparison, The University of California at Davis has 287; Colorado State University has 100; and Cornell University has 91. This situation exists in spite of the fact that our caseload is greater.
Total operating budget. Our total budget of approximately $36 million (FY99) is about half that of the above institutions.
Sponsored research support. Our sponsored research support of $4.7 million (FY99) is about one-fifth that of the above institutions.
Endowment. Our endowment is estimated to be about one fifth that of the above institutions.
Quantity and quality of research space. The original building was built in the late 1940's, the south wing was added in the 1960's, and the hospital wing was added in the 1970's. Much of the laboratory space in these buildings has not been improved since the original construction. The average assigned space of less than 500 sq. ft./researcher is very low.
RATIONALE FOR IMPROVEMENT
Extrinsic and intrinsic forces direct the mission of the College.
Extrinsic forces compel the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine to attain a higher level of excellence. The veterinary practitioners and citizens of Georgia look to the College of Veterinary Medicine as a source of highly trained and skilled graduates to join our profession, and as a referral institution where state-of-the-art medicine and surgery can be provided for animal owners. Derivation of new knowledge in animal health care and applications of basic research findings to applied health care are major activities in the college environment. The next decade will be the time when advances in biotechnology and associated biomedical research will challenge our current methods of treatment and prevention of animal diseases.
Primary animal health care. Society expects the profession to respond to changing needs for primary health care, and the College must be responsive to expectations and needs for the health care of animals. A principal mission of the College is to train veterinarians in primary health care. Unprecedented demand for services in our teaching hospital is now a major drive for increasing faculty and resident numbers and expanding physical facilities. Societal expectations for primary care involve adaptations of rapidly expanding medical knowledge and technology. The importance of the human/animal bond further raises the level of sophistication in animal health. Veterinarians are expected to guide and develop policy for safe production of food and fiber from animal sources, companion animal welfare, laboratory animal care, and wildlife management. In Georgia the number of jobs for veterinarians is expected to increase 42% between 1996 and 2006 (2) . Currently (1999), the average number of job offers for new graduates is three per person. Given projected population growth and economic development in Georgia, we expect this to continue over the next ten years. With additional critically needed hospital space, we will be able to enhance veterinary education, service and research.
Advanced training. Society increasingly expects veterinarians to engage in advanced health care issues. Veterinarians seek advanced training at different stages of their careers, and the profession provides a pool of talented, mature biomedical scientists. The College must continue to be able to attract the best-qualified individuals with an intrinsic interest in the advancement of knowledge. To meet this societal need and to sustain the impact of the profession, better opportunities for post-DVM training are essential. Continuing education is a driving force for a successful profession, and innovative ways should be found to improve both graduate and post-DVM training. The aforementioned need for additional critically needed space is also essential for advanced veterinary training in clinical and research disciplines.
Human and animal health. Society needs veterinarians to respond to issues affecting both human and animal health. Veterinarians work with physicians and other biomedical scientists to research better ways to prevent and treat human health problems such as cancer, AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse, and obesity. It is imperative that the veterinary profession in the United States be responsive to new or emerging animal/human health issues, including the threat of bio-terrorism.
Intrinsic forces . A synergism of faculty energy and facility space propelled the College forward in the past. This balance shifted as clinical and research disciplines expanded without a concomitant increase in available space.
Clinical scholarship. In the 1970's the College played a leadership role in the advancement of veterinary clinical science in the United States. It provided new positions for clinical scientists, with competitive salaries as well as job responsibilities with realistic time allotted for scholarly pursuit. In 1979 the College occupied a state-of-the-art teaching hospital that attracted the best academic clinicians in the country. Since that time, however, the College's competitive advantages have eroded.
Caseloads have increased dramatically, while clinical positions and hospital space have remained static. The explosion of biomedical knowledge and the diversification of specialties also have increased the need for faculty positions. If private primary care practice represents the base of a pyramid, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital is the apex. This position is gradually being eroded by lack of resources. At the top of this hierarchy, clinical investigations are increasingly complex and time consuming. The public has ever-increasing expectations for quality, sophistication, and success in animal health care. These additions to faculty workload, and demands on time have occurred at the expense of clinical scholarship. The responsibility for scholarly pursuits distinguishes clinical work at the university-based teaching hospital from private, specialized veterinary practices.
Research productivity. When the College was conceived in the 1940's, its overriding goal was to train veterinary practitioners. In this endeavor we have been, and continue to be highly successful. Nevertheless, the changing times and our expanded mission require that we increase our research productivity. In 1996 the University administration explicitly conveyed this expectation. The College has implemented strategies for improving research productivity, which will be enhanced and expanded in the next decade (see explanation under Goal 2 below).
Goal 1. To enrich and expand the environment for state-of-the-art veterinary clinical science and practice.
Build a new veterinary teaching hospital. A new hospital will enable the College to accommodate the diversification of specialties, meet societal expectations for expanding health care service, provide better learning opportunities for students, and enhance the scholarly productivity of the faculty. A much larger teaching hospital of approximately 150,000 ft 2 will be needed. This will cost an estimated $86 million (3). Potential sources of funding include:
State appropriation. Our need is immediate and we believe that appropriations for the hospital should be on a fast track.
New bond issue opportunities. This will require new authorizations for the construction of state facilities.
Hospital income. Based on current (1999) caseload, income, and potential for realignment of annual expenditures, the College could contribute an estimated $0.5 million per year for construction costs. Tripling hospital space has the potential to increase this contribution.
Private funding opportunities. We can identify individuals, such as supportive clients or corporations involved with animal health who recognize the importance of veterinary medicine. Additionally, we need to invest alumni and referring veterinarians in the future of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, both in direct financial support, and by assistance in identifying individuals cited above. In 1999 the College hired a full-time director of development to expand fund raising efforts. Gifts and pledges to the College are increasing.
Increase support for faculty development.
Endowments for clinical professorships or chairs. Anticipating further growth in the private fundraising over the next ten years, we consider two clinical professorships (@$250,000 each) and one chair (@$1,000,000) as realistic objectives.
Create academic professional positions (non-tenure track). Academic professionals will be assigned to clinical service; this will release time for tenure-track clinicians to pursue scholarly activities.
Increase the personal services budget for faculty. In the 1970's and 1980's there were limited numbers of disciplines, and two or three specialists in each allowed for provision of health care as well as scholarly activity. This is no longer the case. Disciplines have increased and both the specialization within disciplines and the caseloads that the specialties handle have grown. Additionally, increased demand for specialists in private practice at very attractive salaries has made recruitment and retention of faculty difficult. We need to develop seven new faculty positions and provide a more competitive salary structure for clinical faculty and house officers. University salaries are no longer competitive with the private sector. Salary adjustments necessary to meet market demands for individuals in certain disciplines will require an estimated 20% increase over the current faculty personal services budget, and a 20% increase over the current staff personal services budget.
Increase the personal services budget for staff. Increased volume and complexity of clinical responsibilities have overburdened faculty. Therefore, we need to hire additional technical, clerical, and professional support personnel to increase the staff/faculty ratio from the current 2.5 to 3.0. Reducing this burden will reenergize the scholarly drive of clinicians.
Increase opportunities for residency training. Expansion of our clinical science programs will foster, and depend upon, training of clinical residents.
Sources of support for faculty development. To meet Goal #1, an increased personal services budget will be necessary, and the following sources will be used:
- New University allocations.
- Increased Southern Regional Education Board fees from states that contract with Georgia to educate new veterinarians.
- Additional differential tuition.
- Hospital income
Goal 2. To increase research productivity.
Develop and enhance foci of research excellence. Traditionally, research in the College has been broad-based. This approach limits collaboration and productivity because any given area of research needs a critical mass of faculty for optimal creativity. Foci of research excellence lead to measurable increases in critical mass of faculty, extramural funding, and solutions of animal health problems of economic and social significance. We can develop this critical mass in selected areas by replacing retiring faculty with new hires that complement areas of strength. The College will encourage areas of focus by providing resources and rewards for cooperative efforts and productivity. Resources available include program startup funds, technical support, research space and grant-writing workshops when necessary. Incentives will be provided through significant annual merit salary increases whenever possible. The College will focus on current (1999) and emerging strengths. Research excellence is driven by the curiosity and energy of creative individuals and teams who are provided with realistic time expectations for research studies and adequate facilities to carry out productive research programs. The following areas are developing into foci of strength in the College:
- Infection and immunity of animal and human diseases
- Pathophysiology, neurotoxicology and neuropharmacology
- Abdominal disease, endotoxemia, and basic mechanisms of inflammation
- Locomotor disorders
Furnish additional space and improve existing space for research.New space will become available after the teaching hospital has vacated its current premises. Remodeling space for research laboratories will require approximately $15 million (1999 estimates). In addition, current research laboratories will be improved. We estimate that these renovations will require an additional $5 million. There are several potential sources of funding:
- MRR funding
- Extramural research support (e.g., NIH laboratory facility awards)
- Georgia Research Alliance
- Private funds (donations)
- Patent and royalty income from the sale of intellectual properties
- Facility and administrative cost recovery from sponsored research
Incentives for development of research faculty:
Promote the expectation for salary support through extramural grants.Extramural awards supporting salaries will allow portions of state salaries to be used for research program development.
Endowments for two research professorships and one chair. Our goal is to endow to two research professorships (@$250,000 each) and one chair (@$1,000,000) as realistic objectives.
National Academy of Sciences. Within the next decade the College will seek the nomination of at least one of its research faculty to membership in the United States National Academy of Science.
Encourage inclusion of more faculty members on NIH Study Sections and other national research committees such as the USDA National Research Initiative Grants Program.
Increase opportunities for graduate student training. Expansion of the graduate program goes hand in hand with increased research productivity and extramural funding. New faculty hires will increase the number of graduate students. The College will develop combined degree programs, namely, DVM/PhD, DVM/MPH, and residency/PhD. Combined programs will include dual mentorship between the College of Veterinary Medicine and other colleges and institutions. Our goal is to provide the stipends and tuition for 2 students per class with a maximum of 14 students enrolled in the program. Support for the above will include: NIH institutional and individual training grants, private foundations, extramural grants, and University funds.
Increase the personal services budgets. Developing the critical mass of researchers that will be necessary to sustain and build a competitive research program will require at least 3 new research faculty positions. Salary adjustments necessary to meet market demands for individuals in certain disciplines will require an estimated 20% increase over the current faculty personal services budget, and a 20% increase over the current staff personal services budget. Finally, the hire of additional technical, clerical, and professional support personnel will be required to increase the current staff/faculty ratio from 2.5 to 3.0. An increased personal services budget will be necessary, and will include the following sources:
- New University allocations
- Extramural grants
1 These measures are 1999 figures, which were used to establish a baseline for the ten-year plan.
2 Sources: “Planning for Tomorrow: Industry and Occupational Outlook” and “Georgia Wage Surveys” by the Georgia Department of Labor; and “Americas Fastest Growing Jobs” by Michael Farr.
3 This current estimate (2003) is approximately $575/sq. ft.