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2016 Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award


October 21, 2016

Dr. Jim Clark

Dr. Jim Clark

Dr. Jim Clark is recognized for his energy and enthusiasm in developing and leading exceptional communication and business courses for our DVM students. A Clinical Professor, Dr. Clark graduated with a DVM from UC Davis (1988) and an MBA from San Diego State College (2002). He developed an early passion for emergency critical care medicine, which he has practiced exclusively for 20 years. Owner/partner in 3 Veterinary Emergency Practices with over 100 employees, he joined our School in 2010 to lead the “Doctoring” courses.

Dr. Clark introduces students in the first week of year 1 to fundamental skills crucial to their academic and life success. These include team building, leadership, trust, critical thinking, professionalism, how to give and receive feedback, and how personality styles can work together and contribute to effect team management. He takes student and instructor feedback seriously, improving his courses, and adapting them to address pivotal issues like debt management, and mental health and wellness. Dr. Clark developed the “Wise Coach” method for teaching communication, which has now been adopted at other veterinary schools.

Dr. Clark advocated for, and developed, VET440-Business and Communication. This extensive hands-on course taken as students transition to their clinical education, includes learning and practicing interview and negotiation techniques, a debt management workshop, how to analyze employment offers, handle personal debt, and information on basic accounting, insurance needs in practice, and forms of practice ownership. He works closely to increase student’s comfort in difficult conversations whether with distraught clients or negotiating salary. A student noted - “So painful, and so necessary. Thank you for providing us with this fantastic course”. It takes a special person to provide a safe environment where students can learn and gain confidence performing stressful activities. “As always Dr. Clark was amazing. He provided excellent feedback, created a welcoming and supportive learning environment, and helped ease our stress of the experience by making us laugh beforehand to calm our nerves a little. He always has a positive attitude and is always very encouraging, which helps me feel a little less stressed about the communication labs.”

A wonderful liaison with practitioners and the CVMA, Dr. Clark provides training for practitioners to participate in the “Doctoring” courses. Many students seek his counsel and his selection as 2016 faculty Commencement speaker reflects student esteem for Dr. Clark.