CORVALLIS, Ore. – Cyril Clarke, a veterinary medicine leader with broad experience in research, community outreach and expanding opportunities for students, has been named dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University.
Clarke, who begins his new duties next May, comes to Oregon from Oklahoma State University, where he has worked in a variety of capacities for 19 years – most recently as associate dean for academic affairs for the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. Clarke also headed the university’s Department of Physiological Sciences within its College of Veterinary Medicine for several years.
Educated in South Africa, Clarke began his professional career in that country working in under-developed areas treating large and small animals, advising farmers and developing vaccination and parasite control programs.
He went to Oklahoma State University as a visiting assistant professor in 1987, and joined the faculty full-time two years later. As a faculty member, department head and associate dean, Clarke has been involved in all facets of veterinary medicine at a Land Grant institution – and that broad suite of experiences makes him an idea candidate for the Oregon State position, OSU leaders say.
“His experience, coupled with his vision on how a top veterinary program should run, is compelling,” said Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Our College of Veterinary Medicine is poised to build a nationally recognized program, including significant growth in research and clinical service, and Cyril Clarke can provide the leadership to help chart our course.”
As dean, Clarke will oversee the only professional veterinary medicine program in Oregon. The OSU college graduates about 45 doctors of veterinary medicine annually.
The college recently expanded to offer a full four-year veterinary program after building the $14-million Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital – Small Animal Clinic that opened in 2005. Previously, OSU students had to spend about 18 months of their program at Washington State University to receive the small and companion animal component of their education.
The growth allowing a full four-year program also has brought top faculty and additional students to the program, which will receive another boost with a $12-million expansion of a large animal hospital. Groundbreaking for that project was held this week.
Clarke grew up in South Africa and received his BVSc veterinary degree – similar to the DVM, or doctor of veterinary medicine – from the University of Pretoria. After spending two years of national service practicing clinical veterinary medicine in rural communities, he came to the United States and pursued a Ph.D. at Louisiana State University before moving to Oklahoma State.
His multifaceted veterinary professional career has included research, teaching, administrative leadership, close relationships with industry, and development of community programs. Clarke’s background in veterinary pharmacology has produced numerous research grants and collaborative work with a research and development company on biosensor technology. As associate dean, he was responsible for all four years of providing a professional DVM program, including curriculum, student recruitment and scholarships. As a department head, he was able to expand the number of faculty and promote more scholarly publishing and outside research funding.
Clarke’s vision for the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine includes similar growth and expanded opportunities for students.
“Students need to understand the complexities of comparative biology and assume the responsibility for addressing the health needs of a variety of species, including the spread of disease between animals and humans,” he pointed out.
“To help them achieve that mission,” he added, “they need a well-designed curriculum and experiential learning opportunities that expose them to private and public veterinary medicine practices and a variety of clinical cases.”
Clarke said that research also is an important mission for universities, particularly Land Grant institutions, and that veterinary colleges have “a responsibility to conduct research that benefits both human and animal health.”