8. april 2021

News from the School Director

Dear reader,
A year with corona as part of Copenhagen University, we were – after the first 6 weeks of total lockdown in March and April 2020 - allowed to carry on with our critical functions, including keeping our research labs, animal hospitals, diagnostic services and critical practical teaching in compliance with specific University COVID19 guidelines. We are pleased that only 20 of the 1264 veterinary and animal science students has been registered with corona virus infection, and to our knowledge, there has been no transmission of corona virus among the front-line staff and students in the University Hospitals.
Students and staff at the VetSchool have managed the situation very well despite the difficult circumstances: Lockdown of our campuses apart from the most critical (physical) activities; cancellation and subsequent postponement of practical teaching modules at the University hospitals, laboratories and at collaborating farms, slaughterhouses and veterinary practices; continuously changing working conditions due to a constant flow of new guidelines and restrictions and reduction of available help and teachers at the University Hospitals due to quarantined staff and students.
Patients. Both the Large Animal University Hospital at Taastrup Campus and the Companion Animal University Hospital at Frederiksberg Campus have maintained their intake of patients in 2020/21, apart from a reduction in the intake of production animal patients.
The research activities at both our departments, Department for Veterinary Clinical Sciences (IKV) and Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (IVH) have continued without major delays and funding for new research projects have been accomplished, indeed IVH Sciences has succeeded in increasing their external funding in 2020 compared to earlier years.
The Danish Veterinary Consortium. COVID19 pandemic has certainly put pressure on both the academic and technical staff and the students, including our researchers at IVH dealing with research consultancy service in relation to the Danish Veterinary Consortium have been working almost 24/7 in periods, in order to deliver updated data and information to the Danish Food and Drug Administra-tion on corona infection in mink.

With help from Centre for Online and Blended Learning at SUND, our teachers have within a very short time frame transformed all physical lectures and theoretical exercises and some laboratory exercises to online activities.
Moreover, with help from our veterinary collaborators, it was possible to complete 2 weeks of the cancelled clinical training at the Large Animal University Hospitals as external practice training.
Our students have been at home for almost a year: Forced to obtain the theoretical knowledge and skills in virtual classrooms without physical contact with fellow students and teachers - only allowed on campus for clinical and critical practical teaching and for some exams; and forced to accept to participate in postponed clinical modules in interim weeks and summer months. We see a reduced study progression among veterinary students in 2020; however, the exam performances during the past summer and winter are actually slightly better than the year before. We also observe an increase in student inquiries about problems with feeling isolated and lacking study motivation.
What have we learned?
The VetSchool is (still) a very unified higher educational establishment within SUND and Copenhagen University consisting of dedicated students, researcher and professional technical staff that are able to adapt to unexpected situations very rapidly, if allowed.
Virtual technologies have great positive implication in teaching and administration of teaching and research that we should continue to exploit in a pandemic-free future.
The physical contact between students and teachers/researchers and between students / researchers and the public stakeholders are very essential in order to obtain and maintain performance at highest level.
We are very dependent on good collaboration with farmers, slaughterhouses, veterinary practices etc.
A year with good news. The Copenhagen University VetSchool has been rank as no. 7 on the QS World University Ranking list together with VetSuisse Faculty Bern & Zürich and University of Cambridge. This is the second time within the last decade that we have moved up among the Top 10 Veterinary Science Establishments.
The VetSchool has achieved a total score of 90.2 out of 100. The QS ranking is based on 6 indicator values or scores, which all contributes to the total score. For the KU-Vetschool, they were: H-index citations - 98; Citations per paper – 97.3; Academic Reputation - 85.5; Employer Reputation – 58.8.
A great thanks to all employees for this result. The ranking confirm that we have first-rate research output among the veterinary establishment in the world.
Peter Holm
Director of School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science