UF announced the appointment of the chief of large animal surgery at UF to interim chairman of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences on Tuesday.
Dr. David Freeman, an equine surgeon, was appointed earlier this month to the position, which is in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Freeman said his greatest challenge has been deciding where to suggest the department trim its budget, as UF President Bernie Machen has requested of all university colleges and administrative units prepare for a 10 percent cut of their budget.
However, he said he could not comment on the specific areas he's considering because the final decision will come from the dean.
Freeman was appointed to fill the space left by former chairwoman Dr. Eleanor Green, who left to become the dean of Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
Freeman said he will hold the position for at least a year so the department can sort out budget issues before its structure is re-evaluated to determine specific needs. Once that is done, a national search will be conducted for a permanent department chair.
Freeman has continued to be chief of large animal surgery, as he was before his appointment. Additionally, now that he is interim dean, he is also chief of staff of UF's Large Animal Hospital. Freeman said he has been able to handle both positions in part because the hospital has had about one-third fewer animals due to the economy.
"We've been affected in the same way every business has," he said.
Although Freeman is excited to work with faculty members in his temporary position, he said he also looks forward to being able to conduct more research and surgery once the position has been filled. Because of the demands of the position, he's had to cut back on clinical work, research and grant writing, he said.
"Probably from an early stage my goal was to be an equine surgeon," Freeman said. "That's what brought me to where I am today, and it still remains what I'm most interested in doing."