Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Renate Weller appointed vet school dean at University of Calgary

Renate Weller, an educator and leader in the equine veterinary field in Europe, will become the new Dean of the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Canada this September.

Well-known veterinary educator and researcher Renate Weller, Dr Med Vet, PhD, MScVetEd, FHEA, NTF, DipACVSMR, MRCVS will accept a new challenge in September when she adds Canada to the countries she has called home. Professor Weller will soon be known as Dean Weller as she assumes leadership of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary (UCFVM) in Alberta, Canada.

"I am really looking forward to working with the team at UoC and the wider animal-related community," Professor Weller told Hoofcare Publishing by private email. "As you know, I consider us all the 'guardians of animal health'.

"I am sure planning to spend some time on research. (We still have) many great questions to answer in our world!"

The University of Calgary is attended by 30,000 students and employs 1,800 staff serving 14 faculties, including veterinary medicine. Baljit Singh, BVSc, MVS, PhD is the most recent dean of veterinary medicine; he is now vice president of research at the University of Saskatchewan's Western College of Veterinary Medicine, also in Canada.

Calgary's vet school is Canada's newest; it opened in 2005. Cattle ranching is a large industry in the province, which is physically defined by the magnificent Canadian Rockies. Horse racing and all types of horse breeding and competition are well established in Alberta.

Professor Weller's appointment was quickly endorsed by an announcement from the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, which said, "The ABVMA is thrilled to share this announcement, and would like to congratulate Dr. Renate Weller on her appointment.  The future of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is in good hands, and the ABVMA is pleased that we will soon be working with Dr. Weller and strengthening the future of our industry together."

The University's announcement provided a comprehensive background on Professor Weller, including her current role as the inaugural Director of Veterinary Education at CVS Group plc, one of the largest integrated veterinary services providers in Europe, where she has devised educational and clinical training strategies for more than 7,000 employees in the group's hospital network. 

Weller's previous role at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) at the University of London, included the title of associate dean for undergraduate teaching and professor of comparative imaging and biomechanics in the Department of Clinical Sciences and Services. 

At the RVC, she launched the school's innovative and ground-breaking Graduate Diploma in Applied Equine Locomotor Research (GradDipELR), which has been completed by farriers in the UK and USA, and which is scheduled to begin another group of US farriers in 2022. The course is currently directed by Dr-Ing Thilo Pfau, PhD, of the RVC Structure and Motion Laboratory and Kim Stevens, PhD, MScAgric, BScAgric, PGCAP, FHEA, also of the RVC, with the participation of many guest lecturers and tutors from the vet school.

In 2019, Weller received the rare Worshipful Company of Farriers (WCF) Honorary Fellowship in recognition of her “outstanding contribution to the craft of farriery and the welfare of the horse”.  In 2018, she served as president of the British Equine Veterinary Association; she has chaired day-long lectures on farriery at several BEVA Congresses in the last ten years.

About the equine industry and the University of Calgary

UCFVM is one of five veterinary colleges in Canada. In the past, the vet school has been involved with the health and welfare of horses and livestock used for competition at the Calgary Stampede each July, particularly rodeo stock. The Stampede is the world's largest outdoor rodeo. 

The city's suburbs are home to Spruce Meadows, one of the world's premier equestrian sport facilities. Spruce Meadows plans to host three weeks of CSI 3* and 5* FEI showjumping events in September, known in the horse world as the CSIO Spruce Meadows 'Masters' Tournament", although spectator tickets are not being sold at this time. The summer series was canceled for the second straight year.

In 2018 and 2019, the University of Calgary hosted the Calgary International Equine Symposium during the Masters Tournament at Spruce Meadows. It was canceled in 2020, and has not been announced for 2021.

The University made the announcement of the appointment on Monday, May 3. At this time, the University, which is affected by the Covid-19 pandemic at present like other universities in North America, has not announced whether it will re-open the campus for the fall term. The University of Calgary currently requires all faculty and staff to work from home unless campus access is required.

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