Prof. Jeff Wichtel has been reappointed dean of the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) for a five-year term, effective immediately.
The decision, announced today by Gwen Chapman, provost and vice-president (academic), follows an extensive review by a committee of faculty, students and staff.
“Jeff is known for his passion for veterinary medicine and his steadfast dedication to OVC faculty, staff and students,” Chapman said.
“His extensive experience and knowledge as an administrator, researcher and clinician has helped build OVC’s reputation, nationally and globally, including during unprecedented global challenges.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Wichtel empowered the OVC leadership team to pivot teaching approaches, maintain time-sensitive research and deliver essential animal services.
During his first term, he further strengthened OVC’s teaching and research, including launching initiatives intended to enhance animal health care and education.
Also cited was his ability to build a strong network of external relationships with the agri-food sector, alumni, donors, government and industry partners, as well as veterinary corporate partners focused on improving companion animal health.
“Jeff came to U of G in 2015 with a vision for how to enhance OVC and position it for the future,” Chapman said.
“During the past five years, he has had many successes, including helping make OVC a global leader and securing support for groundbreaking teaching and research initiatives that will help shape the future of veterinary care. We look forward to the next five years of continued growth and innovations under his leadership.”
Aiming to build external relations for the college, Wichtel has secured notable philanthropic support for research and teaching facilities, training, diagnostic tools, student well-being and experiential learning, veterinary mental health research and scholarships and bursaries.
Among the highlights is an $11-million donation, the largest single gift received by OVC, to create the Kim and Stu Lang Community Healthcare Partnership Program to provide veterinary services in underserviced and remote communities.
Under Wichtel’s leadership and working with industry partners, OVC has created the Animal Health Partners Chair in Veterinary Medical Innovation, a new scholarly chair to accelerate the translation of veterinary medical innovations from laboratory to patient.
The college has consistently been ranked in the top 10 for veterinary science by Quacquarelli Symonds and holds the position of fifth worldwide, third in North America and first in Canada.
“I am privileged to work with exceptional faculty, staff and students who are committed to furthering our mission to improve the health of animals, people and the world we live in,” said Wichtel.
“Today, more than ever, connections between veterinary and human health expertise, which we foster at OVC, along with the One Health concept recognizing we are all intrinsically connected, will be critical as we face increasing health challenges across the globe.”
Holder of a faculty appointment in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine, Wichtel is a well-known researcher and author in animal nutrition, disease, production and reproduction.
Before joining U of G, Wichtel was associate dean, graduate studies and research, at Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island.
Previously, he taught at Massey University in New Zealand and in the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University. He has also been a resident at Iowa State University and a mixed animal practitioner.
He earned his B.V.Sc. and PhD from Massey University and is board-certified by the American College of Theriogenologists.