WSU alumna Heidi Banse to lead Arkansas State’s new veterinary school

Heidi Banse

By Devin Rokyta, College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Heidi Banse saw firsthand the impact of innovative education and the supportive community at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine as she worked toward fulfilling her dream of becoming a veterinarian.

Now, 17 years after graduating from WSU with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Banse is set to begin her tenure as the dean of Arkansas State University’s new College of Veterinary Medicine as the school welcomes its first class of aspiring veterinarians this fall. She officially starts July 22.

“It is exciting to be part of building a program from the ground up that is centered around students and creating opportunities for students to do clinical rotations in general practice, gaining valuable experience to really be day-one ready,” Banse said.

Since leaving Pullman, Banse (’07 DVM), a Montana native, has built an impressive resume. She completed an internship in large animal medicine and surgery at the University of Georgia and a dual residency and doctoral program at Oklahoma State University in equine internal medicine and veterinary biomedical sciences. She accepted her first faculty position at the University of Calgary in 2013 before heading south in 2017 for Louisiana State University, where she has most recently served as associate dean for educational strategy.

While she has gained a great deal of experience since earning her DVM, the foundation for her career was established at WSU.

Banse initially planned to practice small animal medicine, however, she discovered a passion for equine and large animal practice through her work during her veterinary studies at WSU with Dr. Warwick Bayly, a leading equine veterinarian and researcher.

“That led me to transition from a small animal person to an equine person, which is pretty unusual – most people go the other way,” she said.

Bayly was just one of many WSU faculty members who left a lasting impression on Banse. She remembers how Dr. Erin Groover, now a clinical professor of equine internal medicine at the University of Auburn, set an example by approaching every day with enthusiasm and passion. There was also equine surgeon Dr. Bob Schneider and Dr. Julie Cary, currently the director of Simulation-Based Education for WSU’s DVM program, who each made a point to empower and challenge fourth-year students during rounds.

Similarly, she fondly remembers Dr. Deborah Sellon’s equine medicine class, where case-based sessions emphasized clinical reasoning over memorization.

“Some of what she did in her classes, the sessions that she developed, they were really pretty innovative at the time, even though they have become more mainstream and standard practice since,” Banse said. “Those cases were very vivid and stuck in my head. They were important learning experiences for me both as a student and as an educator.”

Throughout her career, Banse has been committed to enhancing veterinary education. At LSU, she established a Teaching and Learning Academy to bring educators together, and she was appointed by her college’s dean to contribute to a comprehensive curriculum review as part of an accreditation process.

“Those experiences made me appreciate the challenge and rewards associated with administration and the ability to have really long-lasting impact on our students,” she said.

Banse’s passion for veterinary education and her drive to innovate led her to Arkansas State University.

“Building a new program from the ground up is very exciting. It’s a big project, but one that offers the opportunity to have a lasting impact on our students,” she said.

Banse’s advice to current students and recent graduates of WSU is to remain flexible and open to new challenges.

“I’ve always been willing to take advantage of any opportunity that comes my way,” she said. “A growth mindset has enabled me to transition career fields and seize amazing opportunities – don’t be afraid to try new things and take on new opportunities.”