CVM faculty member named 2021 Meigs Professor

By Alec Lee

Dr. Jo Smith is one of five faculty members to be named 2021 Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professors. This professorship is the University of Georgia’s highest teaching honor.

“This year’s Meigs Professorship honorees are exemplary educators who engage students at all levels through innovative instruction and experiential learning,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “They are committed to positioning their students for success, not only in the classroom but throughout their lives.”

As a veterinary medical practitioner, reviewing evidence is key to making the correct diagnosis or recommending the best treatment. But Smith brings an evidence-based approach to the classroom as well. Smith learns as much from her students as she instructs them, while she helps her students gain the knowledge and skills they will need to practice veterinary medicine. Smith is the director of the Small Animal Internal Medicine Residency program and has been vital in the ongoing development of an evidence-based curricular model for the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program.

Often cited as being invested, approachable, supportive, open, and genuine, Smith has clearly shown her students that she is available to them and committed to providing the best education possible. To fully prepare students for their work in practice, Smith played a role in developing professional skills training in the DVM program which covers a variety of topics including communication, ethics and jurisprudence, and cultural competency. The program also includes priority areas in inclusion, well-being, and resilience, citing mental health struggles suffered by veterinary healthcare providers.

Smith’s contributions to education do not end with students at the College. She is also involved with educational “boot camps” for junior faculty held by the Southeastern Veterinary Education Consortium (SEVEC). Working with the Center for Teaching and Learning at the university, she worked to build a detailed rubric designed to support the development of high-quality veterinary instruction. Previously, Smith has been recognized for her instruction with the CVM’s Zoetis Distinguished Teaching Award and the David Tyler Award for Advances in Teaching.

Read the full story on the other Meigs Professors and learn more about the award on UGAToday.

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