Professor R. Stankevičius, Newly Appointed Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Plans for Ambitious Project: Construction of New Small Animal Hospital

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At the beginning of December, Prof. Dr. Rolandas Stankevičius, who had long been at the helm of the Faculty of Animal Science of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LUMS), was elected Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Today, the professor shares with us his journey to becoming the head of another faculty at LSMU, one that trains aspiring specialists with a passion for animal care. He also discusses his goals for his term of office, and his well-wishes to the new dean of the Faculty of Animal Science, Professor Elena Bartkienė.

You have previously held the position of Dead at the Faculty of Animal Sciences, demonstrating your leadership experience. Could you share the circumstances that led to your appointment as the Head of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine?

I first took the helm of the Faculty 7 months ago, as a temporary replacement for the Dean who had served in the position for a long time and was completing her term of office. The thought of becoming a permanent head of the Faculty didn’t occur to me right away. I am a qualified veterinarian myself, so the desire was fuelled by the idea to turn to my roots and delve into the Faculty’s field of work. The support from department heads, students, and community members that ensued played a pivotal role in making the ultimate decision. Witnessing how enthusiastically they embraced the idea, I did not hesitate any longer.

What experiences do you intend to draw from and use in this role?

Veterinary medicine and animal science are closely intertwined. They are related and do not conflict, as both share the goal of helping animals, albeit one focuses on rearing and the other on treatment. I am convinced that my prior experience of leading the Faculty of Animal Science and the relationships I have established will help me as I take on the leadership of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

In many cases, assuming a new and significant position begins with an objective and a vision. What is your vision for this position?

In this role, the foremost objective is to prioritize the students and enhancement of the overall quality of studies. Equally important is the goal of increasing the number of students enrolling to study at the Faculty. While the Veterinary Medicine programme is popular, it is crucial to acknowledge that the Faculty also offers two smaller study programmes that need help in attracting more students.

One of the visions is to design a new study programme to attract a distinct category of young individuals who have not yet been covered. The main and most ambitious objective of my 5-year office is to build and implement a more spacious and modern small animal hospital. This building would further enhance the teaching and learning conditions for students.

No one will deny that you possess a warm character. How could you define yourself as a leader?

I can certainly affirm that I never resort to raising my voice or displaying frustration. My approach is to consistently stay diplomatic, actively listen to the team about the issues encountered, and comprehend the individual circumstances of each team member. That being said, I hold high standards and anticipate that the tasks I assign will be completed promptly and properly.

What is your favourite leisure activity? How do you relax after a busy day?

I must confess that my schedule does not leave me with much spare time. However, when I do manage to take a break, my preference is to go on trips. Among various modes of travel, I particularly enjoy road trips. This allows me the chance to engage with people in their natural environments, gaining insights into their lifestyles. It is also a great way to disconnect from the internet since I cannot check my work email while driving.

What would your well-wishes for the new Dean of the Faculty of Animal Science? Are there any words of advice you would like to offer her?

The new dean does not need guidance in assuming her role. Having served as the Head of the Institute of Animal Rearing Technologies for many years, she possesses substantial management experience and an excellent understanding of the specifics of the Faculty. Given the numerous ongoing and upcoming work and projects, I wish the new Dean patience, resilience, and the utmost success in her endeavours. Furthermore, if she ever requires my support, she can rest assured that my door is always open.