Renate Weller
Renate Weller began her job Sept. 1 as dean of the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Sept. 3, 2021

UCalgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine welcomes a new dean

Dr. Renate Weller says veterinarians have an important role to play in solving 'big, global challenges'

Dr. Renate Weller, DVM, PhD, officially moved into her new office at UCVM on September 1, after moving with her family from London, England in mid-August.

“We enrolled our younger children in middle and high school respectively and our older one's at U of C,” says Weller, who arrived in Calgary with her husband, Dr. Thilo Pfau, PhD, four children, a donkey, a horse, a pony and two dogs. Before the move, Weller was director of Veterinary Education at CVS Group plc, one of the UK’s largest integrated veterinary services providers. Prior to that position, she was a professor and associate dean at the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London.

Renate Weller and family

Renate Weller moved to Calgary from the U.K. with her husband, Thilo Pfau, daughters 11-year-old Josepha, 19-year-old Lucie, 21-year-old Clara, and 15-year-old son Tom, as well as the family’s donkey, horse, pony, and two dogs.

Renate Weller and her donkey Fritz

As an equine clinician, Renate Weller (who has a soft spot for her donkey Fritz) is looking forward to contributing to veterinary life in Alberta, with its vibrant horse-owning and farming community.

Veterinary profession well placed to help solve global issues

Weller says UCVM, with its outstanding faculty, innovative teaching methods, and collaborative university framework, is well positioned to tackle the immense social, environmental, and economic challenges related to animal health.

“I'm a bit of a veterinary snob. I think we are the profession that's best placed to help in solving some of the big, global issues like antibiotic resistance, food production and climate change because animals contribute to that. We have a role to play in all sorts of sustainability matters: social sustainability, we help people with their pets, economic sustainability: especially in Alberta with the big agribusinesses and we have a role to play in environmental sustainability," she says.

Another ongoing issue Weller plans to help address is Alberta’s shortage of veterinarians. “We need to look into how we can help solve that. It's obviously not the solution to say ‘Well, we just accept more students.’ That's not how it's done. The faculty is at capacity and provincial government funding comes into play. So, we need to do it in a way that works for everyone,” she says.

Weller brings many years of experience as researcher, educator, and equine clinician to her role as dean at UCVM. While at the Royal Veterinary College, she won numerous teaching awards and in 2017 she was appointed National Teaching Fellow to the UK’s Higher Education Academy. Weller is board certified by American and European specialist colleges and her clinical excellence has been recognized internationally with multiple awards including admission to the Hall of Fame for Equine Veterinarians in the US.

Awards and accolades aside, Weller loves working with students. “This is why we do this job. I mean, seeing all those young faces embarking on this journey. That is what makes it worthwhile,” she says.