Vicki Wilke, DVM, PhD, is an assistant clinical professor and director of Surgery Residencies in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Known by her students and coworkers for her upbeat attitude and hardworking demeanor, Vicki Wilke is a professor, student initiative cofounder, recipient of multiple awards of excellence, and a gamechanger.
Wilke’s commitment to student learning and giving back to the community has resulted in her recognition within the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in the form of the Outstanding Faculty Award, and nationally with the Student AVMA Community Outreach Excellence Award. What others call going “above and beyond” Vicki Wilke considers to be her daily duty.
“I feel extremely lucky to have what I do, and know what I do. I feel indebted to help out the community,” says Wilke. “Sometimes that happens in the form of teaching and preparing students for clinical practice, other times it happens through outreach or research. I don’t think what I am doing is necessarily gamechanging, it’s just my job.”
In 2007, Vicki Wilke took a teaching position at the U of M. Just one year later, she had cofounded a student initiative group, VeTouch, which provides veterinary services in low-income areas and has since taken over 900 appointments. Additionally, Dr. Wilke has served as a veterinary professional on multiple service learning trips with veterinary students to Latin America.
Beyond her outreach efforts, Wilke is known throughout her department for providing students with educational opportunities and having a contagiously positive attitude. It’s a rare day in the College of Vet Med that Vicki Wilke isn’t seen with a smile on her face.
“Positivity is contagious,” says Wilke. “The more excited and positive I am, the more comfortable the students become, and the better the work they do becomes.”
Her teaching, research and outreach all share a common goal: making lives better for animals and people.
“Helping others makes me feel good, but it really isn’t about me, it’s about my students and the clients.”
Now, that sounds like one veterinarian that’s good for both man and his best friend.