Spring 2019

Looking Back—and Ahead

My term as dean ad interim is drawing to a close. I confess that, as someone who spent a lot of time in a “pathology bubble,” I stepped into this position with a fair amount of trepidation. However, serving as the interim dean has been an incredible experience, one that pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me grow personally in ways I never expected.

One of the more challenging, but rewarding, aspects of the past year was the American Veterinary Medical Association accreditation process, which not only provided a valuable opportunity to step back and consider all we accomplish at Cummings School, but also led to us sprucing up many of our facilities. Meanwhile, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Nicholas Frank and our Curriculum Committee led a yearlong discussion about how we educate veterinary students, culminating with the faculty approving the first phase of a curriculum redesign. I look forward to becoming more actively involved in this process once I return to my roots in teaching pathology.

Just this spring, our third-year students participated in Cummings School’s first Dental Week. Our White Coat Ceremony in early March celebrated students moving into the fourth and clinical year of their education. The students were proud of having made it through the grueling curriculum and excited (and somewhat nervous) about entering the real world of the clinics. A joyful crowd of family, friends, faculty, students, and staff gathered to congratulate the Class of 2020 on their achievements and to bear witness to them repeating the Veterinary Student Oath and receiving the white coats they’ll wear while seeing patients.

On July 15, Tufts will welcome Alastair Cribb as the fifth dean of Cummings School. The founding dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary, Dr. Cribb comes here with a wealth of valuable experience in practice, research, and academia.

As I reflect back on my time leading Cummings School, I feel fortunate to have become better acquainted with university leadership and the school’s amazing friends and donors. Even better, I have gotten to know Cummings School on a much deeper level. It has given me great pleasure to put resources into areas of need and to provide support to faculty where possible. I was once told that the role of a dean is to be like the conductor of the orchestra: You are surrounded by talented musicians—that is, the faculty, staff, and students—and your job is to help them make beautiful music together.

I hope that is what I’ve done during my short tenure as dean, and I look forward to seeing what we all accomplish together under the direction of Dean Cribb.

Joyce Knoll
Dean Ad Interim

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