Where are we? Where do we want to be? How will we get there? How will we know when we arrive?
These questions form the foundation for strategic planning, a process that the College of Veterinary Medicine is beginning this fall in preparation for the coming five years. The college’s accomplishments over the past seven years were recognized with continued accreditation by the AVMA Council on Education in November, 2012. There is still much work to be done as we continue to assess, refine, and benchmark our performance against peer institutions and AVMA standards in the areas of instruction, research, and outreach. Moreover, the college must identify and direct its resources toward those initiatives that are consistent with a strategic plan that builds on Auburn’s traditional strengths while cultivating new opportunities. If we are to be bold and visionary in our growth, then we need to establish priorities and prepare for progressive change. There is no better example of this than the construction of the state-of-the-art Wilford S. and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital, which will be dedicated on April 11, 2014.
You have an important role to play in influencing the important strategic decisions that will be made in the coming months. I invite all members of the Auburn Veterinary Family who hold a stake in the college’s success to contribute to the strategic planning process. Your perspectives will allow the college to pinpoint with accuracy and clarity its placement on the map that charts the future of the veterinary profession.
Over the next six months, the college’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee and the administrative team will engage students, alumni, referring veterinarians, employers, faculty, staff, clients, donors, animal-owners, foundation members, and other stakeholders to listen to their perspectives on the college’s future. Our goal is to engage at least 1,000 people in this information-gathering phase.
In the end, we will build a roadmap for pursuing the college’s stated mission: “…to prepare individuals for careers of excellence in veterinary medicine, including private and public practice, industrial medicine, academics, and research. Through these efforts, the college will provide programs of instruction, research, outreach, and service that are in the best interests of the citizens of the state of Alabama, the region, the nation, and the world.”
This is a tall order that will require our best concerted effort. As Dean Emeritus John Thomas Vaughan declares in the most recent Apocyrpha, “Auburn was not an Accident.” Likewise, the College of Veterinary Medicine’s future must not be left to chance. I look forward to hearing from you as the college’s strategic plan develops.
Calvin M. Johnson, ‘86