Strategic Planning

OVC's Healthy Futures Strategic Plan

The Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), with its rich history of excellence in innovation, education and service, is continually pushing the boundaries of veterinary medicine, including One Health. Our success has been made possible because of the foundation of discovery and excellence built by those who have come before us. This success continues today through the passion and skill of our exceptional students, staff and faculty. None of this would be possible without the humbling commitment of our many stakeholders and supporters. For those of us who are members of the OVC community today, it is our job to celebrate our past and build the OVC of the future.

We are guided by the strategic renewal themes of the University of Guelph, and particularly by the University’s tagline: Improve Life. If there was ever a statement that encompassed what we do here at OVC, it is to improve life by creating healthier futures for animals, people and the environment.

Over the past year, we have brought together staff, faculty, students and external stakeholders to identify emerging needs in our local and global community and seek the most significant ways that OVC can make a difference.

We’ve established five strategic areas that will focus our energy and resources for the next five years. While we are still working hard on all of the other important things we do, we are targeting some areas for particular growth, both internal and external.

1. Learning Pathways: Enhancing the Student Experience   

2. Innovation and Discovery: One Health Research Leadership

3. Vet Med Ed 2.0: A New World of Instructional Technology

4. Our Impact: Influencing Societal Change

5. The Power of People: Enhancing Workplace Culture and Recruiting the Very Best

We’re pleased to share our vision for OVC’s future and invite you to be a part of that future. When we work together, we can all Improve Life.


Jeff Wichtel

Dean, Ontario Veterinary College

Get in touch and get involved!

A strategic plan itself is just a document. We need people to put it into action. Getting involved can mean anything from providing expertise on specific activities to being a member of a Critical Strategic Issue Action Team to help guide and implement specific initiatives. 

Check out the list of areas of focus in the drop-down menu to the right and if you see something that might be of interest or where you could have some impact, get in touch!

If you'd like to get involved, or if you have questions or feedback, please send us a message. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Learning Pathways: Enhancing the Student Experience

Peter Conlon, Tarek Saleh, Cate Dewey

One Health Leadership: Leveraging our Research Strengths

Gordon Kirby, Shayan Sharif

Vet Med Ed 2.0: A New World of Instructional Technology

Stephanie Nykamp, Kerry Lissemore, Paul McDonald

OVC Impact: Influencing Societal Change

Jane Dawkins, Kim Robinson

The Power of People: Enhancing Workplace Culture and Recruiting the Very Best

Carolyn Kerr, Luis Gaitero, Carol Ann Higgins, Elise Wickett

Healthy Futures

We are excited to share our healthy futures strategic plan with you.

Click the link below to open the strategic plan in a new tab.

OVC Healthy Futures Strategic Plan


Previous integrated plans:

OVC Integrated Plan 2009 <- *Add link if needed* (Link on old site didn't work)

OVC Integrated Plan 2012 <- *Add link if needed* (Link on old site didn't work)

One Health Research Leadership

Our world is undeniably interconnected; animal, human and environmental systems are intrinsically linked and issues that affect one area can have lasting, and sometimes devastating impacts, on the health of others.

OVC champions the critical roles that animal health and veterinary medicine play in One Health. The development and impact of the Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses, as well as translational clinical research from the Institute for Comparative Cancer Investigation and the Centre for Cardiovascular Investigations, are impressive examples of OVC’s considerable strength in the areas of zoonotic disease prevention and control, and in translational medicine.

As part of the OVC Healthy Futures Strategic Plan, we will be recognized in the scientific community as a leader in One Health approaches to addressing critical local and global health issues. OVC will leverage our existing research strengths, specifically in areas of zoonotic disease, public health, translational discovery, and the human-animal bond, capitalizing on the synergies between these expanding research programs and our student learning pathways. 

Key Objectives:

  • Strengthen partnerships and collaborations on campus and with other research institutions
  • Increase our global presence through publications, communications, symposia and commercialization of One Health research
  • Enhance collaboration, partnerships and networks with health authorities, industry and academia to expand our capacity in One Health research
  • Engage and train more students in One Health fields through expanded programs, courses and financial support
  • Increase recruitment of, and collaborations with, other talented One Health researchers

What is One Health?

As stated by the American Veterinary Medical Association: “veterinary medicine is the only profession that routinely operates at the interface of the three components of One Health.”

One Health is the term applied to the connections among the health of humans, animals and the environment. OVC has taken this approach to much of our research work for many years. Formalizing our leadership in this area is a step towards becoming an internationally recognized champion for the veterinary science link in One Health research.

Student Experience

With an international reputation for leadership in veterinary medicine, we recognize that our graduates are entering a global community that has evolved and expanded, creating new scopes of practice and career opportunities. We will ensure our graduates are career-ready, entrepreneurial, and on the leading edge of veterinary science and medicine. 

Over the next five years, OVC will excel in preparing all our graduates for diverse career opportunities by expanding our collaborative educational offerings to allow them to be leaders in the corporate and public sectors, biomedical research, technology and entrepreneurship. Our BSc, DVM and graduate programs will continue to be learner-centered and will evolve to include career-oriented, hands-on curricular and co-curricular learning opportunities with an emphasis on lifelong learning that facilitates career transitions. 

As part of our Healthy Futures Strategic Plan, OVC will establish a Learning Pathways Office that will provide students with guidance right from their first contact with the college through to becoming OVC alumni. We will continue to regularly assess and evolve our curricula to ensure optimization of career support throughout the student and graduate experience at and beyond OVC, including a mentorship program and curricular and co-curricular skills development opportunities. In addition, we will create a co-curricular transcript that addresses skills, knowledge and attitudes related to career readiness.

Our students will feel supported throughout their learning journey and be ready for the breadth of opportunities presented to them as they graduate. 


Power of People

OVC has long recognized that people are our most valuable resource. Our overall success as a college is a direct result of an energized staff who feel professional satisfaction and institutional pride. Our Strategic Plan identifies a supportive, inclusive, healthy workplace culture and improved recruitment of highly skilled specialists as critical to our college now and in the future. We are inspired and guided by the University of Guelph’s strategic renewal framework that touches on aspects of our Power of People initiatives across nearly every one of its strategic themes:

Inspiring Learning and Inquiry – Support the education and well-being of the whole person

Nurturing a Distinctive University Culture – Work together openly, respectfully and inclusively

Catalyzing Discovery and Change – Recruit and retain top innovative talent

Connecting Communities – Provide vibrant campuses that are inclusive and respectful, where everyone is valued

As part of our Power of People critical strategic initiative, OVC will continue building a working environment that is collaborative, respectful, inclusive and engaged. OVC will be a thriving workplace that competes for and retains the very best. We will be a destination employer for this and the next generation, with a strong sense of community and connection.

Working with partners to develop strategies for a healthy, positive and engaging environment, OVC will be a workplace that values integrity, equity, diversity and health; provide a high level of satisfaction among staff, faculty and clinicians; be a model for our students as they enter the workplace; and create a supportive experience for external clients interacting with the OVC community. We will be an employer of choice now and in the future.

Key Objectives:

  • Strengthen organizational health and enhance workplace culture

  • Ensure an environment with a sound value system

  • Attract and retain the very best talent 

OVC Impact

OVC will be the source for societally relevant expertise and innovative, evidence-based solutions in veterinary medicine and One Health in Canada and beyond. With so much information available these days, how can facts be effectively gathered, and informed decisions be made? Decisions at regional, national and global levels are ideally made through well-informed government policy, and that means organizations like OVC must ensure that the right information is in the hands of those making the decisions at the right time. Individuals similarly need high quality information to make decisions around their own health and the animals in their care.

To create valuable, consistent and current outreach strategies that meet the needs of our stakeholders, OVC will build upon our internal strengths and external relationships. As part of our Strategic Plan, we are committed to establishing new pathways to connect, translate and measure the impact of knowledge created at OVC, allowing us to enhance our reach and raise the profile of our people, programs and leading-edge research.

Through the development and implementation of a variety of knowledge translation, mobilization, exchange, education, communications and outreach strategies, we will increasingly be seen as a critical source for evidence-based information that continually informs the public, decision-making processes, and government policy, while receiving feedback on this effort.

Identifying champions, building bridges and developing community-based systems are the foundation of this action. To this end, OVC will create a hub that supports knowledge sharing activities across our campus, allowing us to improve collaboration, develop a sound understanding of how innovations (created at OVC as a whole) are both used and useful to external partners and build our capacity to collectively share our impact story.

Key Objectives:

  • Strengthen OVC’s internal structure to encourage collaborative, efficient and timely sharing of knowledge creation activities
  • Increase OVC involvement in relevant government and industry discussion and decisions related to veterinary medicine and One Health
  • Increase our presence in media, highlighting OVC’s world-class research, clinical activities and expertise in veterinary medicine and One Health.

Vet Med Ed 2.0: A New World of Instructional Technology

Technology can improve many aspects of learning and will increasingly be integrated into our graduates’ future careers. An investment in our classroom spaces and learning technologies will prepare our students for that future. OVC will continually ask “How can new technologies best support teaching and learning in the College?”

We will develop and adopt state-of-the-art, sustainable facilities that are technologically optimized for learning, research and clinical care. Through updates to facilities, technology and infrastructure, and training faculty on incorporating these new technologies in their pedagogical approaches, OVC will modernize the student learning experience.

Student confidence and ability will be increased, particularly in their psychomotor skills, through use of simulation and virtual reality technologies in clinical and surgical techniques. This tactile, simulation-based learning allows students to focus on repeating and mastering skills in a low-risk environment, with experiential learning outcomes being achieved more quickly and more consistently.

Key Objectives:

  • Support student learning through advanced technology in classrooms and teaching spaces

  • Improve student confidence and competence through use of state-of-the-art teaching technologies, including simulator and virtual reality capabilities