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Mission, Vision, & Values

Department Mission 

To protect and improve the health of animals, the viability of the SD agricultural industry, and the welfare of society through high quality diagnostic, analytical, research, extension and teaching activities.

Role Specific Missions:

  • Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (ADRDL) - To provide high quality veterinary diagnostic services as a means to promptly and accurately establish causes of animal health problems. Such diagnoses will aid attending veterinarians and health officials in the treatment, control, prevention and surveillance of animal diseases to the benefit of the SD and national livestock industry, other animal owners, and public health.
  • Research: To utilize contemporary methods in the biological and life sciences to elucidate mechanisms controlling health and disease in animals and humans by the development of methods to diagnose, moderate and eliminate diseases.
    Teaching & Advising: Provide cutting edge animal health and biomedical science courses for the training of undergraduate and graduate students that incorporate problem solving and critical thinking skills using traditional and applied genomic technology solutions. Effectively advise undergraduate students in the pre-veterinary medicine curriculum, and M.S. and Ph.D. graduate students. Provide degree programs to allow our students to be competitive in the animal health and biomedical science fields. Provide opportunities for practicing veterinarians and non-traditional students in the animal health field to obtain graduate degrees.
  • Veterinary Extension: To provide outstanding educational opportunities for veterinarians, the livestock industry, extension educators, and other citizens regarding animal health, zoonotic diseases, and food safety issues; and position the ADRDL and Veterinary Science Department as primary sources of that information.


Statement of VSD Strategic Intent/Vision: 

Our strategic intent is to achieve national distinction while strengthening local relevance as we strengthen our programs with excellence and become recognized as the leading Veterinary Science Department in the U.S.  

Role Specific Visions:

  • ADRDL Vision: To be a premier AAVLD accredited full-service veterinary diagnostic laboratory that is:
  • Recognized for excellent, timely and outstanding service to veterinarians, animal owners, animal industries, and public health officials.
  • Considered a key asset for Animal Health, Livestock Production, and Wildlife Services in S.D. and the nation
  • On the cutting edge of technological advances in diagnostic science
  • A national leader in developing and defining quality veterinary diagnostic services for the future
  • Research Vision: To effectively address animal and human health needs with applied and basic research through linkages between research, diagnostics and outreach, and to grow its participation in South Dakota’s economic development.
  • Teaching & Advising Vision: Improve current teaching and advising activities to promote preparation for ABS undergraduate and graduate students in using applied genomic technologies. We will enhance economic development through developing food animal careers for pre-veterinary students and graduate students. We will educate non-traditional graduate students in the biomedical and animal health industry within our areas of expertise to increase their innovation, entrepreneurial, and leadership skills to enhance the economic development of livestock/food systems.
  • Veterinary Extension Vision: South Dakota veterinarians, livestock producers, and citizens will be the best-equipped in the world with information regarding animal health and zoonotic disease.

Guiding Values 

Our guiding values are in line with the long-standing traditions of the land-grant university system, yet are still relative when serving stakeholders today and in the future. The following are modified and adapted from the SDSU College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences strategic plan:

  • Integrity, honesty and respect will be a foremost component in all activities at all times
  • Professional service will be excellent, timely, useful and relevant
  • Graduates will be prepared for a lifetime of learning, career success, leadership development, and personal satisfaction
  • Research, scholarship, and creative activity will inform, teach, contribute to economic prosperity and/or quality of life, and be socially and environmentally responsible
  • Diversity of people, cultures, and ideas will reflect a global perspective, enrich our lives, and enhance our program quality
  • Stewardship, both responsible and wise, will be practiced in the beneficial development and use of limited human, economic, and natural resources
  • Stakeholders will be engaged to identify priority issues and opportunities, develop synergistic partnerships, and to focus use of our resources.

Mandates Impacting Unit

 The department works diligently to fulfill the tripartite mission of the land-grant universities: teaching, research and service.  The Veterinary Science Department (VSD) is somewhat unique in that it operates two of the largest public service laboratories in the university and state. The S.D. Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (ADRDL) was established by SDC law in 1967, and operates under guidance from related SDC laws The ADRDL also works closely with SD and federal government agencies (USDA, FDA, S.D. Department of Agriculture; S.D. Animal Industry Board, S.D. Game Fish and Parks, others) to produce data important to conducting the business of animal and human health management, and agriculture in S.D. and the region we serve.

Our research focuses on food animal infectious disease, zoonotic diseases and basic disease mechanisms. Our research program has focused on  food animal infectious diseases because of the importance of food-animal production in this region and from inherent mandates associated with federal and state support of the S.D. Agricultural Experiment Station which has traditionally funded much of
our research activity. Our research program is also the heart of our graduate education program, where students can get M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in Biological Sciences through the ABS College.

Our undergraduate teaching program is small; the department does not offer a DVM but leads the pre-veterinary medicine program on campus. This is done in cooperation with mandates and expectations of the two colleges of veterinary medicine with which South Dakota has official relationships. Iowa State University has a contractual relationship with the state of S.D. to take at least six qualified applicants per year and the University of Minnesota offers reciprocity to S.D. residents.