VMS Organization of the Academic Unit

The Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery is one of three academic departments and one of four administrative units within the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). The Veterinary Health Center (VHC) is administered by the department and serves as the instructional clinical laboratory for the CVM. The VHC provides primary and referral animal health care services to the animal-owning public. Within the VHC are clinical sections which relate to specific disciplines. The sections are responsible for teaching and clinical case management in their respective areas of specialty. Complexities arising from the combined departmental academic and VHC client service environments present unique administrative challenges. The Department Chairman serves as the College’s administrative point person responsible academic and clinical training programs. 

A group of faculty designated Section Heads (or Block Leaders) was historically the primary governing body which worked with the Department Chair in addressing both academic and hospital issues. In July 1998, a modified departmental organizational structure was set into place to allow issues to be considered separately in clinical and academic forums and to encourage greater involvement by faculty and staff in the governing process. To consider the diversity of governance issues, a Hospital Advisory Board was established to address clinical operational issues and Instructional (Section) Leaders, essentially composed of faculty representatives from the previous sole governing body, was charged with focusing on academic and instructional issues. As part of this reorganized system, a governance team or Department Executive Committee was appointed. A description of leadership responsibilities of members of the Executive Committee follows.


The Department Chair is appointed by the Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery and serves as the primary academic officer for the department overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department.  The Chair reviews and articulates program goals and objectives of the department, implements department Policies and Procedures, plans budgets and administers distribution of departmental funds. He/she directs faculty recruiting, evaluates performance and needs of faculty, represents the department at College and Campus levels. The Chair, in concert with the Hospital Director and faculty, develops long-range plans and promotes the unique role and contributions of the Department and VHC in enhancement areas and inter-departmental programs.  He/She serves as Ex Officio member of Hospital Advisory Board and Instructional Leaders groups. He/She is a member of the Dean’s Executive Committee.

Hospital Director

The Hospital Director is appointed by the Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and serves as the primary fiscal officer for the VHC and oversees the day-to-day operations of the teaching hospital (with direct assistance from the Hospital Administrator and hospital staff). He/She plans budgets and administers distribution of funds, is responsible for outside reviews and inspections, physical facilities, and staff supervision. He/She serves as ex-officio Chair of the Hospital Advisory Board. Finally, the Hospital Director serves with the department chair to set long-term goals, objectives, and funding priorities for the VHC and Department. He/She is a member of the Dean’s Executive Committee.

Hospital Administrator

The Hospital Administrator is appointed by the Hospital Director and is responsible for the fiscal, personnel, and facilities operations of the hospital. The administrator maintains accounts, oversees billing, and is responsible for expenditures and accounting pertaining to all hospital and departmental funds. He/she serves as staff personnel officer handling recruiting, employment, evaluation and directing clerical and technical staff. The VHC Medical Records Supervisor and Pharmacist report directly to this individual. The Hospital Administrator is responsible for building projects (planning and construction), building maintenance, safety and security. He/she oversees materials acquisition by formulating, reviewing and approving bids for equipment and supplies and is responsible for maintaining equipment inventory. The Building Supervisor reports directly to the Hospital Administrator. He/she addresses client concerns about charges and/or billing and serves as liaison between the VHC and Campus offices, such as Human Resource Services and Campus Facilities.  He/she is also a member of Hospital Advisory Board.

Associate Chair for Academic Affairs

The Associate Chair for Academic Affairs is appointed by the Department Chair and serves on the department executive committee and as Chairman of Instructional Leaders (ILs). This group, under the leadership of the Associate Academic Chair, addresses issues concerning curriculum development, coordination, and implementation, means of improving the student educational experience, student evaluations, and student concerns. ILs are an appropriate body to assess educational resource needs and development of strategies for meeting identified needs. Faculty issues appropriate for discussion by ILs include peer mentoring and peer evaluation process, development of Teaching Portfolios in preparation of Promotion and Tenure documents, sabbatical leaves and faculty development issues. Other issues appropriate for consideration by the ILs under the leadership of the Associate Academic Chair are graduate training programs, research funding, and academic support staff and space needs. The Associate Academic Chair, as directed by the department Chair, may also serve as a liaison between the department and the college’s Academic Affairs Office on matters pertaining to academic matters including those pertaining to matriculation of non-traditional students (ECFVG & Ross) and Faculty Policy issues. The Academic Associate Chair may occasionally be asked to serve as the Acting Chair in the event of the Chairman’s absence.

Executive Committee

The departmental Executive Committee is comprised of the Chair, Hospital Director, Hospital Administrator, and Associate Chair for Academic Affairs.  The Executive Committee meets weekly and serves in an advisory capacity to assist the Chair and Hospital Director with setting the department and hospital calendars. The Executive Committee also addresses issues with broad implications to the Department  and VHC including interpretation, implementation, or suggested revisions of existing departmental and VHC policies and procedures or the need for new policies and procedures.  The Executive Committee may provide input on key appointments, such as Area Coordinators and Instructional Leaders, and responses to College or Campus charges, e.g., budgetary issues. This group provides input and assists with reports and documentation of activities, e.g., AVMA review and annual reports. The Executive Committee also serves as a sounding board for new ideas and as an early alert system for impending issues which might threaten smooth operations of the department or hospital. Strategies for growth, improvement or change, including drafting and revising mission statements and long-range plans, are additional appropriate topics for discussion by the Executive Committee.