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Clarke to lead Oregon State's vet college
Stillwater, Okla.–– A 20-year education system veteran's teaching, research, clinical and administrative experience, paired with an understanding of the culture at Oregon State University, made him a good fit for the position of dean in the school's veterinary college.
STILLWATER, OKLA.–– A 20-year education system veteran's teaching, research, clinical and administrative experience, paired with an understanding of the culture at Oregon State University, made him a good fit for the position of dean in the school's veterinary college.
Cyril Clarke, DVM and PhD, will begin his deanship at Oregon State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in May.
Currently the associate dean of academic affairs for the Oklahoma State University Center of Veterinary Health Sciences, Clarke transitioned through multiple positions in the program including visiting professor, tenured professor and department head. During his tenure at Oklahoma, Clarke says he has helped foster program growth and acted as a mentor for students. After serving as dean for several years, he says he now has the administrative foundation to fully head, grow and improve Oregon State's veterinary program.
"Over the past 19 years, I have had a wonderful opportunity to learn about so many elements and activities that occur in a veterinary school––instruction, research and administration. I've been really the beneficiary of opportunities that more or less cover the spectrum of missions of a veterinary college," Clarke says. "One of the aspects that has been particularly satisfying is that during my service, the college has accomplished significant growth in all of its missionaries, so to be part of that growth and development of a veterinary program has been very satisfying and a wonderful opportunity to gain experience in program development."
When he joins the land-grant university, Clarke is challenged to continue the progress and funding support of the veterinary school's four-year program, currently in its first year. Once lacking clinical facilities, the school partnered with Washington State University (WSU) to offer students a complete education program. But with the construction of a small animal hospital last summer and renovation of the large animal facility to be completed next year, the college ended its WSU partnership. Oregon now offers a full four-year program that continues to undergo significant development. "This ongoing expansion is great for the institution, and it will be a wonderful experience for me to promote further development," Clarke says.
Clarke replaces interim dean George "Rich" Holdren, who took over leadership earlier this year after Howard Gelberg transitioned to the faculty as a professor of veterinary pathology.
Working in what Holdren deems a "chronically underfunded" state, he advises Clarke to focus on sustaining funds for the four-year program, while also taking "advantage of the opportunities to really make this a tremendous place."
"We wanted someone who could take the college to the next level of excellence," explains Sabah Randhawa, Oregon State provost and executive vice president of Academic Affairs, of the university's decision to hire Clarke after an eight-month search. "I'm really excited about having him join us. There was overwhelming support of his candidate-ship for the college."
Relying on Clarke to work well within Oregon State's culture while also helping the college's research program and clinical diagnostics, Randhawa expects the incoming class size to continue growing each year.
And Clarke also sees the importance of continued recruitment increases at the college, which, at 48 students, had one of the smallest incoming classes in the nation for the 2006-2007 academic school year. With their training, Clarke says veterinarians are able to perform many functions in society, including companion animal, food animal or public practice and research. "The challenge the profession has is to make sure we are graduating enough veterinarians across the spectrum to meet the expectations society has of the profession," Clarke says.
Raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Clarke fostered his childhood interest in science through his veterinary studies at the University of Pretoria. Practicing clinical medicine in rural communities through the country, he came to the United States to enroll in a PhD graduate program at Louisiana State University.
Upon graduation, Clarke worked as a visiting professor for Oklahoma State University for two years until his green card was issued in 1989. He then was appointed to assistant professor and has since held a position as a department head.
"I've really enjoyed a very satisfying career here. I have had a wonderful opportunity to learn about so many elements: activities that occur in a veterinary school, instruction, research and administration. I've really been the beneficiary of opportunities that more or less cover the spectrum of missions of a veterinary college," Clarke says.
Now finalizing preparations to move, Clarke is relocating to Corvallis, Ore., with his wife, Jean, also a DVM, and their three college-age children: Stephen, a first-year law student, Peter, a freshman engineering major, both attending the University of Texas; and Jennifer, a junior biological sciences and pre-veterinary medicine major at Oklahoma.
Clarke cannot identify the single thing he will miss most about Stillwater, Okla. "I've had the good fortune to enjoy a period of 19 years here at the college as well as in the community. Of course I am going to miss the college and the academic community, including the faculty, students and staff."
Regardless of the changes ahead, Clarke remains optimistic and looks forward to the upcoming challenge. "I am very excited and indeed grateful to be given the opportunity to work with the OSU college and also to continue developing the program."