Karen Cornell named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine

Posted by: Kat Gilmore

Dr. Karen Cornell

Dr. Karen Cornell, a board-certified veterinary surgeon and a professor of soft tissue surgery in the Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, has been selected as the next Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Cornell assumes her new role effective Jan. 1, 2015.

“It will be my honor to work with my colleagues in the tradition of excellence in veterinary education at the University of Georgia by providing a program utilizing progressive educational methodologies in a supportive environment, so that veterinary students may develop the competencies necessary to succeed in our ever-changing society,” said Dr. Cornell.

Dr. Cornell joined the UGA CVM in 1998 as an assistant professor of soft tissue surgery and by 2010 had earned the rank of a tenured professor. Through the years, she has served the College on multiple committees and in four significant leadership roles as:

  • • Director of Continuing Education, since January 2014;
  • • Assistant Department Head for Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, since 2011;
  • • Interim Director of the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital, 2009-2010;
  • • and as Chief of Staff for Surgery, 2002-2008.

A gifted educator, Dr. Cornell has garnered multiple accolades for her educational efforts, including twice being awarded the highest teaching award presented to veterinary educators, the Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teacher Award (now the Zoetis Distinguished Teacher Award), in 2001 and 2006. In 2011, she received the highest teaching award bestowed by the University of Georgia upon its faculty, the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor. Other teaching accolades include participation in the UGA Lilly Teaching Fellows Program (2001-2003), and her selection as a member of the UGA Teaching Academy (2006). She also served as a mentor in both programs.

Ever popular with veterinary students, Dr. Cornell has been recognized by veterinary students with awards, as well as being selected to “hood” their class on graduation day, and to give the commencement address.

Dr. Cornell co-founded the College’s award-winning Vets for Pets and People program, which works to educate Georgia’s veterinarians about the links between animal abuse and domestic violence, and provide foster care for pets of victims of domestic violence who seek shelter through Project Safe.

An early proponent for strengthening the communication training provided to veterinary students, and to enhance their skills for communicating with future clients, Dr. Cornell was instrumental in bringing communication training to interns, residents and DVM students at UGA CVM through grants from the Bayer Animal Health Communication Project. Most recently, she has co-collaborated with other UGA CVM professors and a team at the College of Education to create a web-based tutorial to help veterinary students hone their critical thinking skills prior to beginning their hospital rotations.

Dr. Cornell has been involved in the training for dozens of interns and residents who became board-certified veterinary surgeons. She has authored or co-authored numerous chapters in veterinary textbooks and manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. She is known worldwide for her expertise in surgery, as well as for her innovations in educational methodologies.

In 2009, Dr. Cornell received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, where she earned both her DVM, in 1988, and her PhD, in 1998. She is an active volunteer for her profession, serving in leadership roles for the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, the International Veterinary Communication Institute, and the Veterinary Leadership Institute.