CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University has joined four other universities with colleges of veterinary medicine to form a consortium designed to create more opportunities for students, faculty and professionals in the field.

The Consortium of Western Regional Colleges of Veterinary Medicine is a regional "think tank" committed to strategic planning, action and collaboration, according to Cyril Clarke, dean of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine.

"The concept behind the creation of this consortium is to identify areas of potential collaboration and to share ideas and resources in support of educating veterinarians who are well-prepared to enter practice," Clarke said. "In light of the budgetary challenges facing our state, it is essential we work with colleagues of other veterinary colleges in our region to provide students access to educational opportunities relevant to a wide range of veterinary careers."

Joining OSU in the consortium are Colorado State University, the University of California at Davis, Washington State University, and Western University of Health Sciences.

One of the first initiatives consortium members will pursue, Clarke says, is faculty development. The universities plan to create a regional teaching academy that would offer advanced instruction for faculty on the latest innovations and research in veterinary medicine.

Other topics and issues the consortium will address include:

  • Removing the gaps between societal needs and selected career tracks among veterinarians;
  • Recruitment of veterinary students and professional readiness of graduating veterinarians;
  • Learning and application of "soft skills," such as communication and veterinarian-client interactions;
  • Creating rich and innovative learning environments for students.

"Veterinary medicine is a constantly evolving field, with new technologies and challenges," Clarke said. "Collaborating with colleagues on issues of mutual interest will make all of us better prepared to educate our students and serve the veterinary profession."

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Cyril Clarke, 541-737-0811