As UA is wrapping up the semester and heading into the holidays, we are spotlighting one of the women leading at the University of Arizona as part of Senior Leadership and Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Julie Funk. Dr. Funk has invested her career to the care and safety of animals, not to mention her investment in the development of her faculty and students.
Pursuing her dream in veterinary medicine took Dr. Funk around the country - graduating from the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine with her DVM, earning a master's degree in veterinary clinical sciences from the University of Illinois, and then receiving her doctorate in comparative biomedical sciences form North Carolina State University.
Prior to her work at the University of Arizona, Dr. Funk served as a faculty member at Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, teaching public health and researching food safety. She then had an opportunity to serve as the Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Student Success at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. It was at MSU where she worked with her mentor Dr. Karen Klomparens. She credits Dr. Klomparens with supporting her through her leadership journey.
"Let people know that you are interested in leadership. Sometimes there is a reluctance to acknowledge ambition, particularly for women. Ask advice, seek mentorship, and take a few risks."
Not only was Dr. Klomparens a supportive colleague and role model, she was a mentor and a sponsor. As Dr. Funk recalls, "She defined the role of a sponsor in two ways: 1.) Someone who will help you get out of your "messes" and 2.) Someone that advocates for you when you are not in the room." Dr. Funk emulates this through her own support and development of her students, faculty, and staff.
"I hold two values as daily reminders of what is important to me. These are courage and making a difference. Every day, with the students, faculty, and staff, we are taking courageous steps as a very novel DVM program. And we are making a difference for the profession by making a difference in the way we teach and support students, create community, and advance our faculty and staff."
Dr. Funk is making a difference through her investment in developing the next generation of diverse leaders in her field. "Fundamentally, representation matters," as Dr. Funk explains, "having diversity in leadership positions strengthens society by acknowledging the abilities of people from all backgrounds." Without representation and diversity in leadership roles, "the excluded groups can be devalued regardless of their abilities in society. "
Thank you Dr. Julie Funk for your work to #BreatktheBias and advance leadership and representation for your faculty, staff, and our community!