Strategic Planning Update: Research, Education and Clinical Services

Last month’s issue of the Veterinary Page included an update on our college’s strategic plan, focusing on cross-cutting goals and progress made in several of these areas in recent months. This month’s issue is a follow-up to that post, and includes specific updates within each key part of our mission — education, research and clinical services.

Preeminence in Research:

Our overall goals, as set forth in the strategic plan, are below, followed by our most recent updates, which may fall into more than one category (or in none of the below categories if there are no updates at this time.)

  • Enhance success of current faculty
    1. Laboratory renovations
    2. Equipment upgrades
    3. Internal grants
    4. Trainee stipends
    5. Support for grant submissions
    6. Faculty development and mentoring
  • Graduate program review
  • External funding (training grants)
  • Expand available research space
  • Campus-wide preeminence initiatives


  • New hires in the works: In addition to the preeminent faculty hires we made note of in our previous issue, several other appointments are pending and should be finalized in the coming months.

    Aristide Kamal

    Aristide Kamal is an incoming Ph.D. student from Cameroon studying manatee health.

  • Our graduate program is expanding: This year the college brought in 16 new students, including eight pursuing master’s degrees and eight pursuing doctoral degrees.
  • Further review of college’s research program underway: A focus group consisting of UF faculty members is currently tasked with reviewing the college’s research program and is in the process of making a significant number of proposals for change, ranging from recruitment tactics to graduate coursework.
  • Space enhancement: A third floor will be constructed above the Veterinary Academic Building lecture halls and will provide additional space for research.

Preeminence in Education:

Our overall goals, as set forth in the strategic plan, are below, followed by our most recent updates, which may fall into more than one category (or in none of the below categories if there are no updates at this time.)

  • Curriculum review, revision
  • Accreditation
  • Scholarship in teaching
  • Technology in the classroom
  • Clinical techniques lab with staff and equipment
  • Problem-based learning
  • Evidence-based teaching (outcomes assessment)
  • Student environment
  • Student well-being and counseling
  • Review admissions policies and pre-vet curriculum
  • Faculty development
  • Financial education and student debt


  • Curriculum Revision:
    1. The new Interdisciplinary Family Health course began this fall and is a reflection of the college’s efforts in interdisciplinary education, cultural awareness, teamwork and communication.
    2. The first year embryology course was revised and combined with Veterinary Histology, with select lectures added to the systems courses.
    3. Molecular Biology was reduced to one credit with the hope of the future development of a diagnositic methods used in veterinary medicine for upperclassman in the future.
    4. The Supervised Patient Care and Clinical Techniques Course was added to the curriculum for first and second year students. The second year course will begin when the class of 2018 enters the second year. Students will receive clinical exposure in their first year of veterinary school. They will be interacting with the Cornerstone Records Management program and becoming better prepared for clinics.

    Dr. Linda Behar-Horenstein, a Distinguished Teaching Scholar and professor in the UF College of Education's School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education, has been working closely with UF CVM faculty members on refining and improving teaching skills and practices.

    Dr. Linda Behar-Horenstein, a Distinguished Teaching Scholar and professor in the UF College of Education’s School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education, has been working closely with UF CVM faculty members on refining and improving teaching skills and practices.

  • Teaching Academy: Several faculty members attended and presented talks and posters at The Veterinary Educators’ Collaborative, a clinical educators meeting, at Iowa State University this past summer and as a result have submitted abstracts to the American Association of Veterinary Medical College’s meeting in March 2015. As a result, the UF College of Veterinary Medicine will form a Teaching Academy to help promote scholarship in teaching as well as innovations in teaching. Proposed year-one goals for the academy have been outlined by Dr. Pam Ginn, associate dean for students and instruction. A call for a director of this academy will be made to and selected by the college’s Administrative Council.
  • The college joined the UF Health Science Center’s Educational Scholarship Learning Community (ESLC) and some faculty members are participating in monthly journal club and presentations. More faculty are being encouraged to participate.
  • In conjunction with the ESLC, the college will sponsor the first series of MERC workshops focused on Research in Medical Education. These workshops are open to all faculty and can lead to a Certificate in Medical Education Research. The workshops are to be held in November, December, January and March.
  • Dr. Linda Behar-Horenstein from the College of Education has been employed part time by the college to assist faculty in documenting scholarship in teaching, conducting peer review, assessing our current teaching methodologies and implementing new ones. Dr. Behar-Horenstein will participate in the Teaching Academy.
  • Renovation of the space that houses the Office for Students and Instruction and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies was completed in early fall. The structural changes allowed additional offices with more privacy for student interactions to be created, as well as a new reception area. The conference room in that space was expanded and modernized with audiovisual equipment.
  • All classrooms have been upgraded to provide a power source available to each seat in order to make it easier for students to charge their electronic devices while in lectures. An audiovisual upgrade that will allow for automated lecture recording is in the works.
  • Clinical Techniques Laboratory design phase is close to completion. Construction will begin in December as the semester ends. The very loud disruptive part of the construction should be completed before the new semester begins. Lecture Halls A and B will continue to be used during construction. The lab should be completed in June. The plan is also to shell in a third floor for additional research lab space at the same time the skills lab is being built.
  • Curriculum Map: The Curriculum Map program continues to evolve to include more functions. The next feature to be introduced will be the area of individual student educational portfolios to capture completed Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs.) An electronic method of capturing SLOs will be introduced and approval can be given on the spot or through e-mail notification. Currently, all clerkships have associated SLOs that are linked to AVMA competencies. SLOs for didactic courses will soon be added. The Map is becoming the source for all course content and student information as well as faculty workload. The Map was well received at the Veterinary Educators Collaborative and has since by reviewed by the UF College of Medicine and other universities as a possible tool. We are able to sell the program to other colleges.
  • Changes in FLE: A redesigned first-year leadership experience program recently provided incoming UF veterinary students with a variety of creative activities aimed at fostering awareness of their individual talents and strengths. In addition, students were introduced to the concept of becoming both a professional and a member of the Gator Nation. An emphasis on the availability of University resources, a sense of collegiality, support and respect for one another and for faculty were integral features of the program. Jaime Gresley, strengths coach and director of new student and family programs at UF, led a lively workshop to help students learn about applying their individual strengths to what they do on a daily basis. College administrators hope the program will enhance the overall culture of communication, not just among students but between students and faculty members. The plan is to incorporate more of the strengths quest program into future activities.
  • Health and Wellness Summit 2.0: Dr. Ginn participated in the planning and organization of the second summit focused on Veterinary Student Wellness held at The Ohio State University in October. The concepts of personal strengths and using these to develop resilience, similar to those explored in this year’s FLE, was incorporated into the program. Drs. Ginn, Dunbar Gram, Ron Delmoro and OSI staff member Tammy Herchel attended the summit. The group intends to move forward on developing a longitudinal wellness program for students as well as making similar programs available for interns, residents and faculty. The summit emphasized the need for members of the veterinary profession to learn how to better handle the stresses of both the educational process and the profession itself.

Preeminence in Clinical Services:
Our overall goals, as set forth in the strategic plan, are below, followed by our most recent updates, which may fall into more than one category (or in none of the below categories if there are no updates at this time.)

  • Leading reputation in specialty services
    1. Invest in clinical facilities and equipment
    2. Scholarship in clinical trials
    3. Increasing clinical trials
    4. AAVLD accreditation
  • Improved operational model
    1. RDVM communications
    2.Enhance clinical efficiency and customer service
    3.Enhance communications skills for students
  • Maximize student learning opportunities
    1. Innovative clinical teaching models
    2. Sustain and enhance caseloads
  • Invest in people
    1. Work-life balance
    2. Faculty and staff development


  • Investment in clinical facilities and equipment: The new UF Equine Sports Performance Complex was completed and opened for business this past summer. In addition, the existing MRI equipment has been upgraded and a new CT was purchased.
  • Increasing clinical trials: Technical support has been added to help expand the clinical trials program.
  • AAVLD accreditation: Dr. Jeff Abbott has directed the staff to develop policies and procedures toward accreditation by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is conducting a review of our laboratory and we are working with USDA to be compliant with an internal audit. The target date for completion is 2017.
  • RDVM communications:
    1. The UF Veterinary Hospitals have added new points of contact for RDVM communication. Referring veterinarians will receive an email/fax when the patient arrives, discharge orders at the end of the visit. Starting in November, they will receive a monthly report of all the cases that were referred to the UFVH over the past month.
    2. A new Veterinary Medical Association outreach program has begun, through which continuing education presented by college faculty members is provided locally to VMA groups throughout the state.
    3. The UF Veterinary Hospitals are in the process of developing a radiology portal for the RDVMs to view their images on patients referred.
  • Enhancement of clinical efficiency and customer service:
    1. Two new features have been added to the pharmacy to improve the timeliness of prescription fill time and inpatient medication delivery.
    2. Additional staff have been added to leverage doctor time and enhance the patient experience.
  • Enhancing communications skills for students: Dr. Ron DelMoro, a counselor with expertise in communication, was hired this fall and will be providing grief counseling to clients, assisting students, staff and faculty with issues such as compassion fatigue. He is also working with Dr. Amy Stone on how to implement recording client interactions to enhance communication skills.
  • Innovative clinical teaching models:
    1. Faculty have participated in ongoing work with Dr. Linda Behar-Horenstein to refine and improve teaching skills and practices.
    2. A new clinical skills clerkship has been developed. This clerkship has allowed the UF Veterinary Hospitals to eliminate students working in the hospital as technicians without clear learning objectives. Students were replaced with staff in these roles and students are now optimizing their learning in ways that are specific and focused.
  • Sustain and enhance caseloads. Growth in caseload in both the small and large animal hospitals continues.
  • Work-life balance:
    1. The UFVH plans to roll these initiatives into the Teaching Academy program, targeting specific areas, such as improvement in time management skills.
    2. Plans are underway to improve on-boarding process for new staff and faculty.
  •  Faculty and staff development: Adjusted salary of nursing staff to meet market demands.
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