Strategic Plan

The future builds upon the achievements of the past.

This plan represents our collective vision for continuing a trajectory of innovation and impact at Illinois.

Our Mission

We educate future veterinarians and biomedical scientists, make discoveries that improve animal, human, and environmental health, facilitate production of a safe food supply, and deliver outstanding clinical care.

Our Vision

We will be a pre-eminent public college of veterinary medicine, provide a transformative educational experience for our students, create and communicate knowledge that changes the world, deliver outstanding clinical service to our patients and clients, and pursue excellence in all our endeavors.

College of Veterinary Medicine Goals

The college strategic plan is closely aligned with the campus strategic plan. As part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, our college aspires to be a pre-eminent veterinary college at a public research university with a land-grant mission and global impact. Our college, like our campus, embraces these four fundamental goals.

Goal 1: Foster Scholarship, Discovery and Innovation

Expand and support nationally recognized research programs

a. Make targeted strategic investments in college research activities

 i.    Explore forming Centers of Excellence with an expectation for revenue generation, possibly including but not limited to:

  • Infectious disease research
  • Outbreak management and emergency response research
  • Translational and diagnostic medicine

ii.    Invest in key research infrastructure that is the foundation for attracting extramural research funding

  • Create a BSL-2Ag facility at the Veterinary Medicine Research Farm
  • In collaboration with the university, explore building a BSL-3 facility to accommodate research and diagnostics
  • Increase digital pathology capabilities
  • Provide internet access and field lab/teaching space at the Veterinary Medicine Research Farm

iii.  Develop infrastructure to support entrepreneurial activities arising from research, such as animal models, vaccines, and drugs

b. Support research careers along their entire trajectory

i.    Hire outstanding, creative researchers with a diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences aligned with college and campus priorities

ii.   Support equity, inclusion and career development for everyone

iii.  Actively promote succession planning and development of a diverse pipeline of future researchers to ensure stability in the college’s research efforts

c. Foster and grow research-focused external interactions

i.   Engage in innovative interdisciplinary projects with other campus units

ii.  Incentivize interdisciplinary research with partners outside the college, including minority-serving institutions, to attract prospective faculty and graduate students

iii. Be recognized as the go-to source for expertise in animal models and diagnostics

iv. Work collaboratively to improve campus-level services and ensure their utility for college researchers

  • Biostatistical consulting at Interdisciplinary Health Science Institute
  • Technology transfer and approval of research agreements with corporate partners

v.  Enhance equity and inclusion in research outreach activities and expand collaboration opportunities with the veterinary community, practicing veterinarians, producers, community-based non-profit organizations, and state and federal agencies

vi. Strategically place college faculty members on campus-level, national, and international committees

vii. Promote public-private partnerships for translational research

viii. Make clinical trials more available to clients of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Medical District Veterinary Clinic

d. Provide impactful research experiences and mentorship for a diverse pool of trainees at all levels

i.  Facilitate and reward submission of proposals for grant programs that provide research experience for underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students

ii. Engage house officers in research projects key to their career progression and encourage veterinary student participation in these projects

iii. Revitalize graduate programs to ensure competitiveness for federal training grants

iv. Prioritize and facilitate involvement of research-interested veterinary students in biomedical research and enhance combined-degree program opportunities

v. Develop and require formal instruction for all trainees regarding responsible conduct of research

vi. Train researchers to communicate the importance of their work and findings to the nonscientific community

Goal 2: Provide Transformative Learning Experiences

Provide transformative veterinary and biomedical educational experiences in a vibrant and diverse learning community

a. Foster engagement and promote creativity in students by nurturing innovation, efficiency, collaboration, and scholarship in educational practices


i.  Continue to develop and apply innovative and synergistic educational strategies within our state-of-the-art, student-centered integrated curriculum

ii.  Comprehensively review and revise curriculum and courses to optimize integration

iii. Enhance students’ capacity to work collaboratively and to provide veterinary services effectively in a multicultural society through exposure to diverse clientele at the Medical District Veterinary Clinic in Chicago

iv. Provide students, faculty, and staff with opportunities to improve interpersonal communication skills and cultural competence

v.   Encourage interdisciplinary experiences to foster abilities to solve complex, societal challenges

vi. Provide research experiences for students that foster critical thinking and scholarship

vii. Leverage technology and lessons learned from hybrid models of instruction to improve efficiency and decrease costs of delivery

viii. Showcase instructional achievements, linking faculty/staff awards and promotions to instructional contributions and quality

b. Enhance the recognized value of earning a qualification from the college by creating distinctive Illinois programs

i.   Expand the scope of education that leads to student and alumni distinction, including certificate programs, master’s degree programs, and research experiences

ii.  Explore development of additional combined degree programs, such as a DVM/MBA program

iii. Make veterinary and graduate education more accessible to students from underrepresented backgrounds

iv. Actively recruit students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds to research/veterinary programs through research fellowships, clinical days, and volunteer experiences

v.  Incentivize faculty participation in efforts to recruit and retain students from underrepresented groups by recognizing the time and effort in annual activity reports

vi. Reduce resident and non-resident student debt by helping students with financial planning and by increasing scholarships and graduate assistantships

vii. Connect students with services to support quality of life and mental health

Goal 3: Make a Significant and Visible Societal Impact

Provide a comprehensive and integrated suite of educational programs, cooperative discovery, and clinical and diagnostic services to local, regional, national, and global communities

a. Position the college as a trusted source for novel and practical solutions for society’s greatest challenges

i.  Develop educational programming to address critical issues such as food security and animal, human, and ecosystem health in underserved communities

ii.  Develop targeted outreach programs in Illinois communities that are underrepresented in the professional and graduate curricula with the express goal of recruiting and developing a sustainable pool of veterinary medical and graduate students that mirror the diverse composition of Illinois and reflect the needs of society

iii. Develop collaborative programs with alumni, industry, professional organizations, non-governmental organizations, and governmental agencies to enhance the effectiveness of educational and outreach programs in reaching our target audiences

iv . Expand the scope of media platforms utilized to reach and engage our target audiences

b. Position the college as a global leader and premier source of professional development for students, veterinarians, animal owners, allied industry, and the public

i.  Expand existing and develop new online, hybrid, and in-person signature for-credit and non-credit educational programs to capture the opportunities created by the funded Investment for Growth programs and lessons learned during the college’s response to COVID-19

ii.  Develop a variety of educational opportunities including stackable badge courses, certificates, and degrees that meet workforce needs and promote economic growth locally, nationally, and globally

iii . Leverage campus-wide initiatives to create and participate in multidisciplinary educational programs to tackle the complex problems of society

c. Address critical societal needs through the establishment of a multidisciplinary center of excellence for zoonotic disease, conservation medicine and ecosystem health, and sustainable livestock-based food systems

i. Leverage college strengths in scholarly, educational, and clinical/diagnostic activities in alignment with university priorities by integrating with a broad range of campus stakeholders, including but not limited to the Beckman Institute, the Cancer Center at Illinois, the Center for Digital Agriculture, the Discovery Partners Institute, and the Institute for Genomic Biology

ii.  Engage key external stakeholders by developing novel programs that integrate scholarly, educational, and clinical activities to address threats to animal, human, and ecosystem health

iii. Invest in new facilities, infrastructure, and resources that advance the college’s leadership in conservation medicine and ecosystem health . Leverage expertise in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to be a leader in new and emerging molecular diagnostic technologies

iv. Enhance food security by expanding relationships with and services to Illinois livestock producers through the development of novel next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics, and artificial intelligence tools in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

d. Foster continued growth and excellence in veterinary clinical and diagnostic services

i.  Explore alternative business organization models for clinical services to facilitate cost control and enhanced operational efficiency

ii. Explore alternative employment models for clinicians to facilitate the recruitment and retention of exceptional personnel in areas critical to long- term growth of caseload and revenue across the portfolio of clinical services

iii. Develop improved communication and data exchange between the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to benefit our clients and referring veterinarians

Goal 4: Steward Current Resources and Generate Additional Resources for Strategic Investment

Promote a supportive, respectful, and productive working and learning environment

a. Remain committed to a culture of inclusiveness, collegiality, professionalism, and service

i.  Leverage funding sources to support activities that enhance diversity and inclusion

ii.  Ensure open communication and transparency in organizational governance

  • Provide opportunities for open dialog about issues in society, the profession, and the college

iii. Expand opportunities for student, faculty, staff and administration training in diversity, equity, and inclusion and recognize training in annual evaluations

  • Hold retreats for in-depth exploration of diversity, equity, and inclusion topics
  • Require implicit bias training for those serving on the admissions committee, interview teams, and search committees

iv . Expand initiatives in outreach, recruitment, and retention focused on creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive college climate and recognize these activities in annual evaluations

b. Serve as good stewards of the college’s assets and resources, particularly personnel, who represent our most valuable resource

i.  Provide appropriate opportunities to ensure a fulfilling and rewarding professional career for faculty and staff

  • Enhance and standardize hiring and onboarding processes to welcome new employees
  • Enhance and standardize mentoring and transparency around tenure and promotion
  • Implement standardized exit interviews for faculty and staff
  • Recognize and address the importance of emotional well-being in the workplace
  • Recognize and celebrate the many dimensions of diversity

ii.  Develop a college-wide fundraising plan, in conjunction with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, that aligns with college strategic plan goals

  • Create endowed chair positions and professorships
  • Develop corporate engagement and partner plan for research, student programs, gifts-in-kind, and current-use donations

c. Enhance the reputation and standing of the college

i.  Develop a comprehensive college-wide marketing and communications plan to support college strategic goals and improve national perception and rankings

  • Broadly communicate achievements of the college and its faculty

ii. Facilitate and promote faculty activities that elevate the reputation of the college nationally and internationally
iii. Celebrate and track national/international recognition garnered by college personnel, students, and alumni

Our Guiding Principles

  • A supportive and inclusive community
  • Experiences that empower learners
  • Innovation with global and sustainable impact
  • Service for people and animals
  • Thoughtful stewardship

Download a pdf of the 2021-2025 College of Veterinary Medicine Strategic Plan for a brief history of the college, metrics established for each goal, more on our guiding principles, and information about the process and people involved in the plan’s creation.