Vital Signs: November 2014 Vol. 3, Issue 11

A message from Dean Cyril Clarke

Our Diversity and Inclusion Commitment

Dear friends and colleagues,

Earlier this fall, Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands launched InclusiveVT, a new approach to advancing diversity and inclusion. Central to this initiative is the expectation that responsibility for promoting diversity be devolved to university deans and other senior leaders, and that emphasis be placed on creating an inclusive environment.

To get started, each college selected three initiatives upon which to focus attention. Initiatives selected by the College of Veterinary Medicine will: (1) build on our recent successes in recruiting a more diverse student body; (2) encourage hiring of a more diverse staff and faculty through inclusion of trained advocates on search committees; and (3) explore strategies to ensure that underrepresented minority students receive the personal support necessary to feel at home in our community.

These efforts will build on programs offered by Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland, as well as the commitment made by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) to promote diversity, including its DiVersity Matters program and biennial Iverson Bell Symposium to promote diversity and inclusion in academic veterinary medicine.

It is vitally important that we succeed in this effort. Diversity of faculty, staff, and students enriches the educational experience of all students. It also facilitates provision of animal and public health care to all members of the communities we serve. In recognition of the importance of diversity, the faculty recently approved a revision to the college mission that now emphasizes the value of educating "a diverse population of professional and post-graduate students." We look forward to moving ahead with the development and implementation of our InclusiveVT initiatives.

Warmest wishes for a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday,

Dr. Cyril Clarke, Dean

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