Reed named to lead Purdue as new dean


West Lafayette, Ind. - Dr. Willie Reed has a tall agenda.

WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. — Dr. Willie Reed has a tall agenda.

Dr. Willie Reed

But his first order of business as Purdue's newest dean will be to get to know faculty/students, learn about their roles and study the veterinary school's strengths.

From there, he wants to form alliances with other schools and organizations within veterinary medicine, strengthen programs in research, clinical medicine, and look for more ways to collaborate.

In early October, Reed got the nod to lead the 47-year-old veterinary program. He is poised to take office on Jan. 2. He succeeds Elikplimi Asem, who has been serving as interim dean of the school since July 2005, when former dean Alan Rebar took over executive director duties of Discovery Park.

Boasting a faculty of 108, including specialists, the school faces many of the same challenges of higher education, Reed tells DVM Newsmagazine.

Finding creative ways to retain specialists at the university, bolster a flat applicant pool and help bridge new initiatives to improve the diversity of veterinary applicants, all rank high on his list. So too does keeping the school's veterinary teaching hospital viable.

"I've been interested in many of the issues facing veterinary medicine. We need to produce more veterinarians in non-practice tracks in some areas. The emergence of zoonotic disease... we have never really dealt with this before on this scale, and we are going to need to train veterinarians," he says.

"As demographics in the nation diversify in the next 20 years, we need to entice other populations to get interested in veterinary medicine. We need to look like society."

Purdue's veterinary school enrolls about 270 students and 105 students in graduate programs, including nearly 20 in residencies for board certification. The school also offers undergraduate degrees in veterinary technology, enrolling about 90 students in the on-campus program and an additional 266 students in a distance-learning program, which began in 1999.

After more than 16 years at the helm of Michigan State University's (MSU's) Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, Reed adds, "I am proud of the opportunity I have had to work on national issues." One such issue was having a part in creating a national animal health laboratory network through collaboration with government agencies and American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. The idea was to "link resources to provide for the testing needs around the country."

MSU's veterinary diagnostic laboratory is described as "a world-class facility and state-of-the-art in every sense."

Reed was chief of Purdue's Avian Diseases Diagnostic Service from 1985-90, assistant professor of veterinary pathology from 1982-87 and associate professor of veterinary pathology from 1987-90. He earned his doctorate in veterinary pathology from Purdue in 1982. Reed earned his DVM from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala., in 1976 and 1978, respectively.

Randy Woodson, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture who chaired the search committee, adds, "Willie Reed impressed members of the search committee with his experience and knowledge of the field, and the faculty and staff also expressed confidence in him."

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