Four finalists named for veterinary school dean vacancy

June 12, 2012

by Terry Devitt

Four individuals have been identified as finalists for the position of dean of UW-Madison's School of Veterinary Medicine.

The announcement caps a five-month search for a replacement for Daryl Buss, only the second person to hold the job since the school’s inception in 1983. The four finalists were identified by a 17-member committee led by Tony Goldberg, professor in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences in the school.

“The search and screen committee worked extremely hard over the past five months to identify candidates with the right skills and experience to lead UW-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine into a promising future,” says Goldberg. “With the retirement of Daryl Buss, our school’s dean for the past 18 years, the new dean will indeed have some big shoes to fill. However, all four finalists have the leadership qualities, passion and vision to move our school and university forward.”

Finalists for the position include:

  • Ina Dobrinski, head of the Department of Comparative Biology and Experimental Medicine in the faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary.
  • Mark Markel, professor and chair of the Department of Medical Sciences in the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Christopher Olsen, a professor of public health in the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Robert Washabau, professor of medicine in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

In the coming weeks, the candidates will interview with Interim Chancellor David Ward, Provost Paul DeLuca, and other campus leaders, meet with faculty, staff and students, and give a public presentation on “Challenges and Opportunities for Schools of Veterinary Medicine in the 21st Century.”

A decision on who will be selected for the position will be made by the chancellor and provost with input from the campus community after the candidates complete the interviewing and presentation process.

The selected candidate will lead one of the nation’s top schools of veterinary medicine. In its short history, the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine has established itself as a leading center of veterinary medical education and research. It was established in part to provide critical service to Wisconsin’s animal agriculture industry and today ranks among the top schools in service, research and outreach.

The school provides professional education and training leading to a doctor of veterinary medicine degree, enrolling a new class of 80 students each year. In addition, the school provides undergraduate and graduate courses as well as research and training opportunities for UW-Madison master's and doctoral students. The school’s basic and clinical research portfolio ranks among the nation’s best, drawing top researchers and students from around the world. In addition, the school encompasses the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, which provides routine, specialized and emergency services for 20,000 animals a year.

The finalists for the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine deanship are all accomplished leaders in their fields with administrative experience at top schools.

Dobrinski is a professor of reproductive biology as well as a professor and the founding head of the Department of Comparative Biology and Medicine at the University of Calgary. She is a visiting professor at Inner Mongolia University. Dobrinski received her doctorate from Cornell University and her veterinary medical degree from Hannover College of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany, and she is a Diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists. She is the recipient of many awards and is an expert in the area of stem cell biology, her research focus. Previously, Dobrinski held an endowed professorship at the University of Pennsylvania, where she directed the Center for Animal Transgenesis and Germ Cell Research.

A large animal surgeon, Markel is the UW-Madison Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor. He is the chair of the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Medical Sciences and has served as the school’s associate dean for advancement since 2001, quadrupling the school’s endowment over a 10-year period. He leads an active program of research in the area of comparative orthopedics and is chair of the board of trustees of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. He has more than 490 publications to his credit, including 197 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 59 book chapters and 230 scientific abstracts. Markel received his veterinary medical degree from the University of California at Davis and his doctorate from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine.

Olsen is a UW-Madison professor of public health in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences and is the School of Veterinary Medicine’s associate dean for academic affairs, a position he has held since 2006. He is also an active member of the UW-Madison Master of Public Health program and the Global Health Institute. His research on influenza has yielded more than 60 refereed papers and numerous abstracts and other publications. Olsen is also the recipient of awards for teaching, research and faculty service, including the school’s Norden Distinguished Teacher Award and the Renk Distinguished Faculty Award. He received his veterinary medical and doctoral degrees from Cornell University.

Washabau is a professor of medicine and chair of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. He also serves as director of the Comparative Medicine Program in Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine and is a member of the Veterinary Medical Center Leadership Group. An expert in the area of gastrointestinal physiology, Washabau has published widely and has more than 65 refereed publications, 24 book chapters, three books, and numerous abstracts and proceedings to his credit. He has also been cited for outstanding teaching at Minnesota and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served on the faculty from 1989 to 2004. He received both his veterinary medical and graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Washabau is past president of the Internal Medicine specialty and of the Comparative Gastroenterology Society.