CPB Strategic Plan 2021-2025

The Strategic Plan Committee members are listed below:


PREAMBLE ("Setting the Stage" and "Opening the Screen")

Purdue University is the land-grant University of the State of Indiana. As the only College of Veterinary Medicine in the State, the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine (PVM) is in the unique position of conducting education, research, and outreach to fulfill the veterinary needs of the State and improve the health and well-being of animals and people. The Department of Comparative Pathobiology (CPB), housed within the Veterinary College, has a long tradition of excellence. CPB is dedicated to the study of disease processes and their impact at the molecular, cellular, individual, population and ecosystem levels. Various areas of expertise within the department include infectious diseases and vaccinology, pathology, cancer biology, drug development, toxicology, animal welfare, disease diagnostics and surveillance, and human-animal interactions.

In its last strategic plan developed in 2009, CPB delved into three major goals: Launching Veterinary and Biomedical Careers, Delivering Discovery that Benefits Animal and Human Health, and Meeting the Global Challenges for Improving Animal and Human Health. The key priorities within the scope of each goal were addressed with success in various areas. In 2018, CPB undertook a comprehensive external review of its programs with respect to administration, research, facilities, and faculty and staff. This review culminated in recommendations for several short-term and long-term action items. Among these, the need for a renewed strategic plan for CPB was recommended as an upfront action.

In 2019, Dr. Sanjeev K. Narayanan, the current Department Head of CPB, convened a faculty committee to engage in developing a new strategic plan. The committee first conducted an analysis of CPB's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats/challenges (SWOT) to identify the parts that should be built upon, the areas that should be improved, the threats/challenges that lie ahead, and the opportunities that could be captured. Among these, the three most salient aspects in the area of strengths with faculty expertise with diverse experiences, pathology training programs, animal welfare, and human-animal bond are:

-needing improvement in resources (facilities, budgetary agility), CPB's visibility, and diversity and inclusion;
-challenges in securing competitive funds, competing graduate programs with sustaining critical mass of students, and online programs; and,
-opportunities for expanding specialized areas such as infectious diseases and diagnostics, cancer biology, and therapeutics; enhancing animal welfare science and the human-animal bond, and development of non-traditional educational platforms (e.g., online degrees). 

The committee deliberated on the various aspects of CPB going forward resulting in the following new strategic plan for 2020-25 titled: Global Leadership--Advancing Quality of Health Among People, Animals, and the Environment. This strategic plan centers around four major goals--Teaching and Learning; Research; Engagement and Service; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), with the understanding that initiatives of DEI would be appropriately interwoven within the former major goals.

CORE VALUES / CULTURE ("Who We Are and How We Conduct Ourselves")

The Department of Comparative Pathology (CPB) affirms the values, culture, and integrity of our land-grant University as set forth by Purdue University. Specifically, CPB is defined by a set of core values and a Departmental culture that reflects our commitment to the study of comparative medicine and the advancement of our faculty, staff, and students. 

Teaching and Learning

  • We focus on innovative teaching.
  • We emphasize student-centered learning.
  • We support individual development and success of our diverse students.
  • We believe in empowering all students to achieve a growth mindset that believes criticisms are constructive.

Research and Innovation

  • We adhere to the highest standards of research ethics in all our programs.
  • We encourage collaborative and multidisciplinary programs providing a continuum of basic science to applied research benefiting both animal and human health (i.e., translational research and One Health).
  • We emphasize innovation in delivery of our learning, discovery, and engagement programs.
  • We embrace change and continually seek to improve.

Service and Engagement

  • We strive to provide exceptional services to our constituents and excellence in all we do.
  • We encourage participation in activities that enhance our profession and reputation of our Department.
  • We promote life-long learning.


  • We respect ourselves and others.
  • We engage as enthusiastic participants.
  • We speak our minds but are willing to listen respectfully and work toward a consensus.
  • We actively support individual development of our faculty and staff.


  • We promote a collegial work and learning environment enhanced by multiple aspects of diversity.


  • We respect wellness, work-life balance and self-care, and serve as role models to students.
These core values and culture that define CPB are based on those of the College. These are integrated throughout this strategic plan. Of note is a goal of commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that emphasizes CPB's focus to fulfill and celebrate the expectations of this commitment.


MISSION (What we must do)

Improving Health

Improving animal, human, and environmental health through scientific advances informed by their interrelationships.

Key Characteristics (end-state evidence)

  • Learner- and culturally-centered interdisciplinary education of future generations of diverse professionals for careers in veterinary medicine, agriculture, biomedical research, diagnostic sciences, and public health.
  • Discovery leading to advancement of knowledge and technologies for improving animal and human health, taking into account the diversity within society and environmental health.
  • Societal engagement and service promoting health and well-being through applications of discovery.
  • Demonstrable core values and culture that embrace integrity, diversity, inclusion, collegiality, respect, dignity, and equal opportunities for all to succeed.

VISION (Where we aspire to go)

Global Leadership

Global Leadership in advancing quality of health among people, animals, and the environment.

Key Characteristics (end-state evidence)

  • Global leadership in ‘One Health’ taking a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to optimize health outcomes in both animals and humans.
  • Teaching and learning marked by innovations in discipline-specific as well as transdisciplinary knowledge, skills, and practices for leadership in tomorrow’s health careers.
  • Research with groundbreaking advancements in translational science and transferable technology.
  • Societal engagement with service based on front-line research benefiting Indiana, and extending to national and global communities.
  • Intrinsic culture of diversity and inclusion promoted in every aspect of the Department, celebrating the talents and contributions of faculty, staff, and students, and inspiring them to succeed with integrity and excellence.

GOALS (What we will achieve to get there and how)

The Mission and Vision of the Department of Comparative Pathobiology will be achieved through four goal areas-Teaching and Learning, Research, Engagement and Service, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. These goal areas, their illustrative characteristics (as end-state evidence of achievement), and the strategic initiatives that will be instrumental in achieving the goals are described below.

Consistent with CPB's primary role in society to be a custodian of human and animal well-being, the Department is establishing a principle of 'Wellness' to serve as the anchor for its strategic plan goals to be encompassed by and immersed into this principle.

An Overarching Principle of Wellness

The Department's overarching principle of 'Wellness' should be viewed apropos to the core values and culture, mission, and the vision that are described above. The concept of 'Wellness' is a broad-based and holistic concept with multiple dimensions. As a deliberate intention, this concept will be manifested through the process of achieving the strategic plan goals. Thus, to set the stage for these goals, the Department is further explicating its dimensions and related aspects of this principle of 'Wellness' as follows.

The fundamental anchor of the department's overarching principle of 'Wellness' will be to create an educational and work environment that recognizes the importance of wellness and fosters work-life balance and positive emotions for all.

The Department's overarching principle of 'Wellness' will address:

-fostering an educational climate that appreciates the science of wellness and recognizes that productivity increases with overall personal wellness and work-life balance.
-sustaining an organizational environment that allows faculty, staff, and students to feel energized in what they do best with positive emotions.
-promoting a working environment that provides a sense of purpose and optimism about future.
-enhancing a professional environment that improves faculty, staff, and student productivity while reducing burn-out.
-recognizing wellness that is intrinsically based on trust and support from faculty, staff, students, and all colleagues.

In order to realize these dimensions, the Department will be committed to:

-engaging scholarly experts in developing and implementing customized tools, such as annual surveys, for the assessment of wellness, as well as work outcome and the dynamics of work-life balance (perspective taking/sentiment analysis).
-cultivating tools to determine individual strengths and weaknesses and develop objective plans to improve professional and personal growth (training tools).
-conducting in-person and online workshops to encourage incorporation of the practice of wellness in discovery, learning, engagement and diversity.
-exploring the development of a potential certificate program in 'Wellness' tailored to the needs of the Department's constituencies.

Engaging in these activities, the Department will be mindful of purposeful achievements such as:

-overall general health (CDC norms) and wellness that is higher than the overall population, amongst veterinarians and members of other veterinary departments in the country.
-stepwise improvement in wellness over measured periods (yearly/every five years) based on surveys.
-overall improvement in emotional well-being among personnel: Feeling happy, grateful, respected, appreciated, and an overall sense of belonging.
-academic work (courses) with an infusion of personal care and wellness aspects.

Given these dimensions and related aspects of the overarching principle of 'Wellness,' the Department is casting its strategic plan goals to be encompassed by and immersed into this principle of 'Wellness.'

GOAL: Teaching and Learning

Excellence in student-centered teaching and learning that prepares graduates for contemporary veterinary practice and related careers. 

Key Characteristics (end-state evidence)

  • Inclusive excellence in teaching and learning-comprehensive curricula and content, and innovative methods and technology, informed by frontline research and scholarship-with effectiveness, efficiency, and impact toward professional preparation of students.
  • Market/practice-ready graduates prepared for future leadership that advances the profession.
  • Demonstrable critical thinking and problem-solving skills with which graduates can successfully address complex professional challenges.
  • Multiculturally proficient graduates with strong intercultural communication skills.
  • Student-centered education and training with personal-scale attention extended by faculty nurturing faculty/student interaction, mentoring, extracurricular/experiential learning, and close monitoring of student performance.

 Strategic Initiatives

  • Provide opportunities for faculty to grow and achieve excellence in teaching and learning, and develop cultural proficiency for education in a globalized world (e.g., through seminars, workshops, incorporating evidence-based instruction, self-directed learning methods, and connecting faculty across communities and continents).
  • Apply flexible and adaptable teaching and learning methods tailored to meet diversity of learning needs (e.g., online coursework delivery, externships, experiential learning in clinics, research, and computational experiences).
  • Improve equity, fairness, and impartiality toward unbiased teaching and learning, especially as it relates to assessing clinical and non-traditional rotations.
  • Provide support for attending, networking, and presenting accomplishments in teaching and learning at professional conferences, and for publications.
  • Increase equity-minded opportunities to enhance effectiveness in teaching and learning and to provide teaching experience to graduate students towards their preparation for potential faculty careers (e.g., through teaching assistantships, seminars, workshops, and scholarships/awards).

GOAL: Research and Applications

Globally acclaimed research with high-impact applications for improving human, animal, and environmental health. 

Key Characteristics (end-state evidence)

  • High impact research with high-visibility applications advancing the national and global recognition of the Department and the College (e.g., ADDL, Purdue Center for Animal Welfare Science, Center for the Human-Animal Bond).
  • Widely cited faculty publications in prestigious journals.
  • Faculty, staff, and student recognition with national and international awards, and memberships in influential professional organizations and peer groups.
  • Expand scope of research and applications with agile attention to current issues and societal needs.

 Strategic Initiatives

  • Focus research in four areas:
    • Emerging infectious diseases including antimicrobial pathogens, new therapeutics, and effective vaccines.
    • Cancer biology and therapeutics including comparative genomics and transcriptomics, immunotherapy and other cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.
    • Animal welfare and human-animal bond involving complex relationships within and among animal and disparate nature of human health, and related societal issues.
    • Novel diagnostic techniques aligned with societal needs to facilitate, support, and enhance biomedical research and disease mitigation.
  • Prioritize faculty hires in the research focus areas to build a diverse critical mass.
  • Allocate resources and priority funding (e.g., seed funding, graduate research assistantships, endowed positions) to the research focus areas, and other emerging areas of research excellence.
  • Incentivize and reward participation in the leadership of regional, national, and international professional organizations.
  • Increase financial support for faculty and graduate students to present research accomplishments at national and international professional meetings.
  • Incentivize and reward the organization of professional meetings on campus that attract national and international recognition.
  • Develop a seminar series in collaboration with the college to showcase our faculty, university faculty and invited speakers to discuss science of discovery, learning, engagement, diversity and wellness.

GOAL: Engagement and Service

Public awareness of interrelationships among animal, human, and environmental health and well-being, and providing professional services. 

 Key Characteristics (end-state evidence)

  • Large scale repository and utilization of information resources for veterinary research and applications, teaching and learning, and culturally enhanced public and professional service.
  • National reputation for animal disease diagnostic research as the preferred resource serving the needs of the state, expanding to global societies.
  • Diagnostic services for animals, supporting the role of the College in serving as a teaching hospital.
  • Widely accessible advanced level academic offerings, and specialized continuing education programs.
  • Excellence in providing complementary (co-curricular/extracurricular) learning experiences for all students in the College (e.g., service learning, internships, study-abroad).
  • Leadership in promoting public awareness of interrelationships and interdependence of health and well-being among animals, humans, and the environment.

Strategic Initiatives

  • Enhance website with improved content and presentation to better market an up-to-date CPB information repository-capturing 'brand identity,' role, scope, utility, and public value-so as to assist with publicity, impact, and private fund-raising.
  • Disseminate science-based information through diverse publications and venues that capture the scope and impact of research and services that register with media and policy-makers.
  • Develop targeted multi-disciplinary partnerships with other departments, colleges, and stakeholder groups to increase access to resources that can enhance research and outreach capabilities, including minority-serving institutions with whom PVM has articulation memoranda of agreement.
  • Create innovative service offerings that generate revenue for ADDL, clinical pathology, and other key focus areas that highlight and distinguish CPB as a preeminent resource among peers.
  • Offer innovative, high visibility, high-impact continuing education programs in diverse formats targeted to different audiences to meet current and anticipated needs of the veterinary community and the public.
  • Improve and promote the visibility of CPB and its recognition by increasing nominations of faculty, staff, and students for University, national, and international awards.

GOAL: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

A welcoming educational environment that nurtures diversity, equity, and inclusion to maximize the potential of all for successful careers. 

Key Characteristics (end-state evidence)

  • An inclusive community of students, faculty, and staff representing diverse characteristics experiencing an equitable departmental culture.
  • Demonstrable sensitivity and understanding of the value and purpose of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • An educational climate that celebrates multicultural awareness and nurtures the success of all.
  • Accountability for ensuring a constructive educational environment that champions diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Sustainability in growing a diverse and multicultural workforce in the pathobiological sciences and their applications.

 Strategic Initiatives

  • Acclimate new faculty, staff, and students to PVM and the greater Lafayette community.
  • Actively participate in PVM programs and initiatives, and those of university-wide and other appropriately identified diversity-related programs and initiatives that may inform the CPB community in creating a welcoming environment for all, and promote a constructive climate of valuing all people, individually as well as collectively, recognizing their multiple social identities.
  • Build and sustain a diverse community of faculty, staff, and students through persistent recruitment and retention programs contributing to a climate of cultural competence, and nurture their career potentials.
  • Promote multicultural and intercultural awareness to enhance the understanding of incorporating key DEI concepts across the curricula.
  • Create non-judgmental, low, or limited risk mechanisms for faculty, staff, and students to communicate their perceptions of CPB climate status, and suggest opportunities for improvement.
  • Initiate an internal DEI leadership team in collaboration with the PVM Office of Diversity and Inclusion to advise appropriate and substantive responses to discover issues that may require timely mitigation and accountability.
  • Hold all faculty and staff members accountable for reinforcing and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence by codifying expectations and guidelines for considering their contributions when assigning merit, and celebrate accomplishments with recognition and awards.
  • Incorporate DEI systemically into departmental decision making.

KEY METRICS ("How we will Assess Progress")

A selected set of strategic metrics will serve as the 'Dashboard' for assessing progress on the goals of this strategic plan. Addressing the 'Big Picture,' these key metrics will signify the measures at the 'macro' level that will indicate the major aspects of the Department's progress on the strategic initiatives. These metrics will also include those that are tracked by the University as the University-wide metrics and those that are tracked by the College as the College-wide metrics, for assessment and reporting purposes.

The Department will track several additional metrics for each goal at the 'micro' level (action level) including various operational metrics concerning the implementation of strategic initiatives. These additional metrics will be used to measure progress on the initiatives at more detailed levels.

The definitions of the metrics that are common among the College and the University metrics will remain consistent. The Department will define the metrics that go beyond those at the College and University levels as a part of the strategic plan implementation process.

(Note: ## indicates annual count or at other intervals selected by department based on availability of data.)

Overarching Metrics (pertaining to all goals)

  • National and Global Rankings of the Department in the context of the College (e.g., QS; USNWR; THE)
  • National and Global Reputation and Leadership of Faculty and Staff (## leadership positions; awards)
  • Overall general health (CDC norms) and wellness comparison with the overall population, amongst veterinarians and members of other veterinary departments in the country (score, trends)
  • Improvement in wellness over a measured period (baseline and every five years based on survey)

Metrics for Goal: Teaching and Learning

  • Success of graduates/Career Placement (##;% of total; % by gender; % by URM trend)
  • Online Courses and Programs for Teaching and Learning (##; growth; trend)
  • PhD Degrees Granted and Time-to-Degree (## total and ## per faculty; ## median years)
  • Formative Assessments of Course Objectives, Summative Assessments of Student Learning, and performance assessments of teaching and learning (frequencies, conclusions, ## awards, trend)
  • Courses with an infusion of personal care and wellness content (##; trend).

Metrics for Goal: Research

  • Proposals and Awards (##; $$ Total)
  • Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Populations(##; demography)
  • Peer-reviewed Publications (##, scholarly indices)
  • Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Student Recognition for Research (## awards, types, partnerships, alliances; expert consultants)
  • New Diagnostic Methods Developed (##, applications/commercialization of patents/licenses; impact)

 Additional Metrics for Goal: Engagement

  • Brand Identity and Significance (## website hits, volume of information)
  • Demonstrable Service (##, participation rates, partnerships, public policy actions)
  • Visibility of Engagement and Service (## continuing education programs, participants, impact; reports, ‘white papers,’ newsletters, press articles, media and press reports, usage, referrals, citations) 
  • New and Re-envisioned Service Offerings and Revenue Generation (##, $$, trends)
  • Courses with infusion of engagement aspects (##, types, trends)
  • International visibility experience and outreach (## study-abroad, ## experiential learning activity and types, ## collaborations/service activities, geographic spread, ## faculty, staff, students involved)

Metrics for Goal: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Baseline and aspirational gains to be articulated)

  • Faculty, staff, and student demographic representations (per innovative recruitment and retention mechanisms-e.g., pathways, public branding and partnerships (##; by gender; by URM; total, %; incremental growth, trends).
  • Curricular integration and inclusion of diversity and equity content and concepts (evaluate baseline and periodic; ## courses, ## students enrolled)
  • Aspirational goals, targets and growth of CPB DEI multicultural awareness (periodic 'climate' surveys, AACU-metrics; and, COACHE)
  • Alignment of activities and anticipated outcomes (re: goals and priorities)cations.

Key Priorities ("Our Foci")

The mission, vision, goals, and strategic initiatives set the premises for actionable key priorities for CPB. These are the highest level priorities among others for which CPB will develop action plans. These key priorities are shown below.

  • High visibility research and applications in focus areas with grant funding (external and internal), and allocation of other resources addressing current and societal needs.
  • Advancing animal disease diagnostic research, and innovative service offerings, portraying service units (e.g., ADDL) as a preeminent resource.
  • Recruitment of diverse high-caliber graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
  • Facilitating faculty and staff development for innovative teaching including formative assessment of course objectives and student learning, cutting-edge research, and exemplary service.
  • Promoting participation in national/international conferences/meetings (faculty, staff, graduate students and postdocs).
  • Establishing a Departmental team for faculty and staff nominations for awards and recognition, as well as for celebration of accomplishments (University, regional, national, global).
  • Enhancing state, national, and international engagement and visibility through -Brand identity, national/global representations (e.g., NIH), and dissemination of innovative, science-based information through Departmental websites (e.g., to expert audiences, policy-makers, media, and the public).
  • Establishing an internal leadership team for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion -Welcoming environment; inclusive advocacy for faculty, staff and students; multicultural communication; equitable codification of expectations/guidelines and accountability; curricular infusion; reinforcing key concepts; and climate assessments.
  • Attending to diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence in personnel hires -Faculty, staff, and teaching assistants for targeted courses, research assistants on grant funding.
  • Offering high visibility/high impact on continuing education and advanced programs (e.g., online offerings).



PEER INSTITUTIONS ("Comparison Group")

The Department will benchmark itself with institutional programs that are nationally and globally recognized. These institutions have been chosen based on the reputation of their pathobiological sciences and applications. The selection of these institutional programs is based on their reputational rankings, geographic proximity to Purdue, shared land-grant status, and aspirational aspects. Initially, five (5) peers have been identified by the Department as listed below (in alphabetical order). Additional peers may be identified as the Department moves forward.

  • Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan
  • Department of Pathobiology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Department of Pathobiological Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation, Michigan State University, Lansing
  • Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Missouri, Columbia

The Department will track performance data on its key metrics signifying progress on the strategic plan goals, and compare them with corresponding indices, as available, for these peer programs. This will help the Department in annually gauging its competitiveness with its peers.


Implementation plans for specific strategic initiatives will be crafted by CPB Department Head, together with faculty and staff, through annual action planning. This will clarify the priorities and the corresponding responsibility centers for implementation.

A critical aspect of action planning will focus on planning for resources to enable implementation of this strategic plan. The Department will annually engage in resource planning and cast its budgets along the lines of strategic plan priorities in conjunction with the College as follows.

  • General fund resources (net new allocations, reallocations) for advancing initiatives with effectiveness and efficiencies in teaching and learning; research; engagement and service; and diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Grants and contracts revenues advancing research productivity.
  • Philanthropic support in concert with the College's advancement programs in private fund development.
  • Additional revenue generation through wide-access (online) programs for the veterinary professions served by the Department, as well as societal awareness/education.
  • Judicious allocation and utilization of resources-human, financial, organizational, and physical facility resources-synchronized with strategic plan priorities, and corresponding actions.
  • Focused infrastructure supporting the plan priorities-professional and technical staff; physical facilities and equipment including renewing and upgrading; websites to effectively advance information dissemination, communication, public relations; and online capabilities.

A vital aspect of strategic plan implementation will be the annual assessment of progress on the priorities of the strategic initiatives. Based on this annual progress assessment, the action plans might be adjusted for course-corrections, and corresponding realignment of resource allocations and implementation timelines for the strategic initiatives, if necessary.

The implementation of this plan will follow the Department's governance structure, culture, and expectations, and those of the College as appropriate. Responsibility centers and accountability aspects will be identified to address various aspects of plan implementation. Communication of all aspects of plan implementation will maintain the expected levels of transparency. Assessments of progress will be conducted annually, except for initiatives that justifiably need longer periods to yield measurable change of significance.

During the last (fifth) year of the strategic plan period, the Department will conduct a summative assessment to measure cumulative progress on this plan during the plan period. This process will set the stage for renewing and/or recasting subsequent strategic plans.



This strategic plan charts the course for the Department of Comparative Pathobiology for the next five years (2020-2025). As a 'living' document, it is a visionary plan that the Department will implement to achieve its aspiration: Global Leadership-Advancing Quality of Health Among People, Animals, and the Environment. The College's support toward this plan, and ownership of the plan among faculty, staff, students, and other constituencies of the Department will be vital in its successful implementation.

The Department will now proceed to implement this strategic plan in harmony with the College's strategic plan, and in cooperation and collaboration among its various internal and external constituencies. To that end, the Department will remain committed.




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