Jay Kyle '88, DVM '93 has been named the new associate director of student success in the Office of Academic Affairs in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM). In this role, Kyle will work to increase retention, support academic success, and champion the overall student experience.

As a double Hokie, he's no stranger to the responsibilities that accompany dedication to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

"I'm excited to return to my alma mater to strengthen existing programs and develop new initiatives for student success," said Kyle. "I am going to be working with students from all years, looking at programs that are currently in existence and evaluating them for their utility and the outcomes that they're providing students. Ultimately, our job is to graduate veterinary students who can pass the boards and enter the profession. I'll be ensuring that students are progressing so that when it's time to take their boards, they're going to pass."

A retired colonel in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, Kyle brings a wealth of expertise in guiding and mentoring students and alumni to find career success and fulfillment. He also has experience in food safety, veterinary clinic operations and management, curriculum development, program management, and training at the individual and corporate levels.

"For 22 years, I was an Army veterinarian on active duty, and I was lucky enough to have a lot of assignments where I was put in instructor positions where I realized I have a real love for teaching and mentoring," he said. "As an officer, I focused on my enlisted soldiers' success and the success of the junior officers who were under me. When I can lend a hand to somebody needing help or struggling that's what I'm all about."

Before his new position as associate director of student success, Kyle was the assistant director of career development and college relations for nearly three years at the Smith Career Center at Virginia Tech. Before that, he served as assistant director of health professions advising and was a faculty advisor to the Pre-Veterinary Medical Association at Virginia Tech for five years.  

"Before this, as an academic advisor, I was able to interact with students in a wide variety of areas and help them be successful in whatever their career path and lifelong aspirations might be. In this new role, I'm most looking forward to getting to know the students and seeing them grow over the four years that they're here into the professionals that they've always wanted to be," Kyle said.

While part of Kyle's new role in academic affairs will be looking at overall trends in departmental programs that could be intervened with or enhanced to improve the student experience, his new position also comes down to one-on-one work.  

"Ultimately, it's getting down to the individual student because it's not a cookie-cutter approach. You have to look at each person and where they might be finding some challenges in the course, and then how to address those challenges that an individual is facing. The key is looking at ways that we can individually tailor any programs that we develop down to the individual student level," said Kyle.

The Office of Academic Affairs welcomes Kyle's expertise and his commitment to service as part of his Virginia Tech roots.  

"I'm a double Hokie. I was drawn to Virginia Tech originally because of the emphasis on service. Upon retiring from the military, I wanted to come back into this setting and do what I could to help other people. As a veterinary student, I wasn't at the top of my class in any way, shape or form. I know what students go through, what it's like to struggle in class, worry about passing the national boards and enter a profession. I want to use my empathy for students with my prior life experiences to get them where they want to go. I hope to leverage my passion for service and mentorship to assist VMCVM students in ways I wish were available to me when I was a student here," Kyle said.

Kyle has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from VMCVM; a master's degree in public health from the University of Texas, San Antonio; a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College; and a Bachelor of Science in biology from Virginia Tech. He is a member of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, the Southwest Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, the Veterans Caucus at Virginia Tech, and the National, Southern, and Virginia Associations of Colleges and Employers.

Written by Florence Gonsalves MFA '23 and writer with the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

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