Strategic Planning

1.1. Attract, mentor and support the best and brightest students and trainees

We will strive to attract top candidates, promote demographic diversity, and support our students throughout their educational program. As the knowledge base for veterinary medicine continues to expand and grow, so must our support of our students ,to expose them to unique opportunities without overwhelming them with the vast available knowledge. We will teach them problem-solving skills and life-long learning strategies to promote a professional career full of challenge and new knowledge.


a. Modify the recruitment process to attract the best professional and graduate students from California and beyond.

  • Develop an admissions process that is competitive for the highest quality candidates.
  • Consider changing the proportion of in-state to out-of-state students.
  • Aggressively recruit students to achieve a balanced class including, demographic, specialty and geographic representation. (Strategy 4.2)
  • Develop methods for recruiting and supporting foreign students.
  • Leverage faculty interests and strengths to offer unique opportunities for students that attract the best and brightest (e.g. global experience, STAR program, dual degree programs).
  • Develop graduate training partnerships with government, agriculture and private industry.
  • Identify areas of excellence for post-graduate training.

b. Provide a more supportive environment for students.

  • Query students to assess satisfaction and unmet needs.
  • Benchmark best practices at other institutions.

c. Address the economic impact of rising University of California student fees.

  • Prospectively determine a reasonable financial burden for school of Veterinary Medicine SVM students and develop an approach to support students accordingly.
  • Improve student programming and curriculum to educate students about the cost of debt and future income.
  • Pursue philanthropy specifically to support financial aid.

d. Explore the development of an undergraduate pre-veterinary medicine major at UC Davis.

e. Foster strong relationships with the California State University System as a pipeline for students interested in animal agriculture; consider reinstating masters degrees programs. (Strategy 7.1)


Current Actions

  • COSMOS Turns STEM Students into DVMs
    The COSMOS biomedical sciences cluster (veterinary and human medicine emphasis) led by Rance LeFebvre is the most highly applied COSMOS program on all four UC campuses. Forty high school students learn from faculty and veterinary students on topics such as radiology, comparative anatomy, and pathology. Over the last 14 years, ten COSMOS participants have earned DVM degrees and more are currently enrolled. Katrina Castaneda, DVM, DACVS, previous COSMOS student, has been invited to give a keynote lectures to the entire COSMOS community, an honor in previous years reserved for Nobel laureates, and esteemed scientists.
  • Pre-Vet Outreach Efforts
    SMASH Pathways is a free summer program for 8th-graders to help them be competitive in science, technology, engineering and math. SVM team members -- Zwingenberger, Phillips, Owens, Kent, Guiffrida, P. Heffley and K. Watson - provided 25 participants with an introduction to veterinary medicine in the areas of: anatomy, radiology and x-ray reading, using a microscope, understanding cancer, an introduction to surgery and a suturing lab. This outreach initiative seeks to teach some of the basic knowledge and skills needed for a path in the medical sciences.
  • Preparing Pre-Vet Students
    The school's Summer Enrichment Program, a 5-week intensive program designed to help college level disadvantaged students, kicked off June 22. Ten students rotated through eight or more hospital services, attended lectures and study sessions with veterinary students on GRE materials, and participated in resume-building and admissions workshops.
  • Students Training in Advanced Research (STAR)
    The 2017 STAR Program kicked off on May 6 with an orientation, a field trip to the Marine Mammal Center and a BBQ. This year 45 students will participate in the program. The orientation featured faculty speakers and safety officer Larry Neal discussing topics such as: Lab and BioSafety, Data Handling, Research Ethics and a work/life balance panel discussion.
  • Engaging Potential Future Veterinarians Thirty-two Davis High School students took part in a program led by Sean Owens to expose them to veterinary medicine as a potential educational/career choice. This career pathway experience provides lectures, classroom demos, behind the scenes tours of the SVM veterinary facilities.
  • Promoting a Supportive Learning Environment Every two weeks students on the Anatomic Pathology rotation are invited to a light "Breakfast with Bain" to hear about upcoming hospital activities/announcements and to discuss clinical education successes and suggestions. These small group sessions facilitated by Melissa Bain, Director of Professional Student Clinical Education, are part of an on-going communication and outreach effort to nurture a successful learning environment.
  • Students & Donors Share Common Goals At the annual Evening of Gratitude, scholarship donors and their student recipients were honored and celebrated for their mutual dedication and investment in advancing animal health. This year the school was able to provide $6.7 million in total support for students - $2.5 million in gifts and endowments and $4.2 million in grants - made possible by the generosity of our individual, association and corporate scholarship donors.
  • Advancing the Profession through CE The 2017 Winter Conference attracted 200 attendees and 75 on-line participants. Topics included: canine medicine, emergency critical care, backyard poultry, livestock medicine, and feline dentistry. Dr. Temple Grandin, the plenary speaker, discussed her efforts to improve livestock-handling equipment design. Grandin is consulting with the school on livestock facility plans for the Veterinary Medical Center.
  • Addressing Student Debt
    To assist our students, the school has taken multiple steps to increase financial aid and scholarship support, stabilize tuition and fees and provide career counseling and services. For more information see the Addressing Student Debt communication (pdf) posted on VIPER.
  • Celebrating the Best and the Brightest The Class of 2020 was officially welcomed to the school at the New Student Induction Ceremony on Friday, August 19th. Held in the arboretum with family and friends present, 145 new veterinary students accepted the challenges ahead to pursue their veterinary educational dreams.
  • Recruiting the Best and the Brightest The admissions cycle for the Class of 2020 is now complete. Out of 731 applications submitted, 245 individuals were offered interviews and 145 students (125 females/20 males) will begin the DVM curriculum in the fall. The class ranges in age from 20-38, 42% are ethnically diverse, and 36 have expressed career interests in academia, research or public health.
  • Mentorship for Success
    The Career, Leadership and Wellness Center has revamped the mentorship program and encourages faculty and residents to participate. This new program is housed within a system called the Mentor Network which acts as a catalyst to connect DVM students to veterinary professionals. The network offers a searchable database where our students can query and reach out to UC Davis SVM faculty with similar interests.
  • Mental Health Wellness - At the February kick-off event "Each Aggie Matters" the school launched our initiative as part of a campus-wide campaign to openly discuss and affirm the important issue of mental health. The panel discussion, open to students, faculty and staff, was an exciting way to publicly advocate for our veterinary community. For more information and ways to engage visit our school's web page: Each Aggie Matters
  • Supporting Global Experiences for Students
    To foster interest in international activities and expand the horizons of our future veterinary leaders, the Office of Global Programs provides information, guidance, access to resources and contacts to assist students to identify potential summer externship, outreach and research opportunities. Associate Dean Pat Conrad met with eight 1st year students as well as one 2nd year student in December to discuss their individual interests and help facilitate their global experiences. This is an on-going activity.
  • New Career Leadership and Wellness Center Launched - Download pdf
  • Pre-Veterinary Student Outreach - At the Pre-Health/Pre-Med Conference held October 10-11, more than 8,000 students from diverse backgrounds attended a broad range of symposiums and workshops. Veterinary staff and faculty led more than 50 workshops on: equine, companion animal, livestock, poultry, zoological, marine mammal, avian, exotics, camelid, wildlife, primate, and lab animal medicine; diagnostic pathology; animal welfare; veterinary public health; veterinary research; oncology, nutrition, and surgery; admissions; problem-based learning and much more.
  • Honoring Alumni - At the annual Alumni Weekend, the school welcomed graduates from the classes of 1955, 1965, 1975, 1985, 1990, 2005 back to campus for social events, tours, lectures and the Rose Ceremony for the 50th reunion class (1965). Special honored guests included members from the first graduating class of 1952, Drs. John Shirley and George Puterbaugh. More than 5,000 veterinary professionals have graduated from the school and gone on to successful careers and leadership positions.
  • Training Leaders in Dairy Nutrition - The VMTRC has launched a new internship focused on dairy nutrition and feeding systems. In partnership with the California Dairy Research Foundation, this new program will train future leaders in feed manufacturing, dairy feeding systems, nutrient management and feed and food safety.
  • Educating the Best and the Brightest - The entering 1st year class - the Class of 2019 – began August 10th.  The 140 members of the class (119 women/21 men) were selected from a competitive applicant pool of 730. Class members include 113 California residents, 25 U.S. non-residents and two international students. Collectively they completed their undergraduate education at 89 California schools, and at 51 out-of-state schools. Their broad range of educational backgrounds and skills is complemented by their personal interests. This class includes scuba divers, a pole vaulter, a competitive gymnast and professional saxophone player
  • Career, Leadership and Wellness Center Update - Download pdf

  • Promoting the Professional Advancement of Veterinary Graduates - The VetMedJobs board launched this past January has been successful for students and employers alike. The system currently has 123 employers registered and 82 jobs posted. There are 684 students and alumni who are utilizing VetMedJobs to find externship, internship and full-time employment opportunities. Staff continue to invite employers to participate in the system, and look for ways to further develop and refine the job board to provide the best services possible to students and alumni.
    Visit the VetMedJobs board

  • Evening of Gratitude - The School hosted the "Evening of Gratitude" March 25th, a development focused event which acknowledges scholarship donors and partners them with the students their gifts are supporting. More than 230 donors and students attended the event. The program speakers included faculty member Dr. Matthew Mellema, Mr. Jeffrey Traum, on behalf of his family's endowed scholarship in memory of Dr. Jacob Traum, and 2nd year student Lori Hammond. A video depicting 1-4th year veterinary student scholarship recipients and what that support has meant for them was also featured.
  • Students Take Lead to Learn Veterinary Spanish - Organized by DVM student Michelle Albin and the Center for Continuing Professional Education, more than 100 students have been participating in a Wednesday night 1 ½ hour voluntary "Spanish for Veterinary Professionals" class. This informal course focuses on teaching veterinary students how to converse with Spanish speaking clients and helps teach them how to conduct professional veterinary consultations.
  • Increasing Diversity – To Reflect California’s Population (Download pdf)
  • Diversity Initiatives - January 2015 Update (Download pdf)
  • Center for Career, Leadership and Wellness Update (Download pdf)

Past Actions