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March 31, 2023

Douglas Freeman recommended as interim dean of College of Veterinary Medicine

Douglas Freeman has been recommended to serve as the interim dean of Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Douglas Freeman
Douglas Freeman

Freeman will serve as interim dean designee beginning on April 15, and the recommendation will be submitted for the MSU Board of Trustees’ consideration at its April 21 meeting. Prior to his arrival, Bari Olivier, professor in MSU’s Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, will step into the role of responsible administrator for the college, beginning April 1.

Freeman is a former dean (2010-2020) and professor emeritus in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine, or WCVM. He completed his DVM (’83), MS, and residency (’87) at the University of Minnesota. Freeman then earned his Ph.D. in reproductive physiology (’91) from the University of Idaho. He is a diplomate emeritus with the American College of Theriogenologists, or ACT.

As dean of WCVM, Freeman led the school through two successful accreditation cycles with the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education. Despite funding challenges, the college successfully negotiated the renewal of two, five-year Interprovincial Agreements, a financial commitment from western provincial governments to the school to help ensure a steady supply of highly qualified veterinarians in Western Canada. Additionally, he led the completion of an eight-year, $80M infrastructure project; significant expansion in college research, education and clinical programs; and enhancement of the college’s engagement with Indigenous peoples. These include a wellness program focused on primary patient care and a service-learning program that partners students, faculty and staff with remote native communities for veterinary services and outreach.

Freeman also is focused on One Health — the concept that human, animal, and environmental health are intricately connected — and the interprofessional collaboration it necessitates. One of his key contributions was establishing the One Health Leadership Experience. This annual conference brought together global experts in One Health with hundreds of students from across the University of Saskatchewan campus. MSU students interested in One Health have attended this conference as well. Freeman also championed the development of the university’s interdisciplinary Certificate in One Health for undergraduate students, and he established Canada’s first veterinary social work program in collaboration with the University of Regina’s Faculty of Social Work.

Freeman’s collaborative spirit is apparent in other partnerships he formed at the WCVM and beyond. In addition to facilitating traditional engagement with health and agricultural professionals, he helped establish key university partnerships that include the One Health Initiative, the Global Institute for Food Security, the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation and the Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence.

From 2001 to 2010, Freeman was professor and head of the Departments of Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences and Veterinary Diagnostic Services at North Dakota State University, or NDSU. He also directed NDSU’s Great Plains Institute of Food Safety. He is a past president of the ACT, a former fellow of the American Council on Education and a past president of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges. He also attended the Penn Executive Veterinary Leadership Program at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He has served as a pharmaceutical industry consultant and on various government, university and organizational boards. Freeman is a member and past chair of the University of Saskatchewan’s Council of Health Science Deans and a board member for the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization.

Freeman is the founder of Summit Leadership LLC, in Cohasset, Minnesota, a company dedicated to the development of established and emerging leaders to enhance leadership across organizations. He is a certified leadership development professional and member of the Global Alliance for Professional Leadership Development.

“As a leader, Dr. Freeman emphasizes innovation, team building, collaboration, developing consensus, and the alignment of funding with strategy,” said MSU Interim Provost Thomas Jeitschko. “He is strongly dedicated to students and student success, collaborative academic leadership, and the effective management of facilities and operations, and we look forward to his leadership in our College of Veterinary Medicine.”

Freeman will succeed Dr. Birgit Puschner, who served as dean from September 2018 to March 2023.

“Many thanks to Dean Puschner, who has chosen to return to the faculty, for the tremendous impact she has made in the college since her arrival in 2018,” said Jeitschko. “Her contributions over the years have helped CVM become a destination for teaching, innovation, care and service.”

By: Emily Lenhard

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