The changing faces of academia

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National Report — Within 24 hours, two female deans were named to lead key veterinary programs at the University of Georgia (UGA) and University of Pennsylvania.

NATIONAL REPORT — Within 24 hours, two female deans were named to lead key veterinary programs at the University of Georgia (UGA) and University of Pennsylvania.

At presstime, Dr. Sheila Allen, a surgeon/oncologist, moved into the top post at UGA's College of Veterinary Medicine after being named interim dean last March. The next day, Dr. Joan Hendricks, a critical care specialist, took the reins at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

The two new deans join the ranks of 28 veterinary institutions in the United States all in a year when women officially outranked men as a majority for the first time in history. Dr. Shirley Johnston, the founding veterinary dean of southern California's Western University, ranks as the first in the country.

Johnston tells DVM Newsmagazine, "This is a change I have long awaited. These extraordinary women don't need advice from me ... just words of congratulation," she says.

Dr. Ralph Richardson, dean of Kansas State University, says Allen and Hendricks have strong institutional ties to their universities, which will serve them well. "They understand the university and challenges of higher education." He also says it's interesting that both veterinarians have risen to the top job through the clinical ranks.

"I don't think too much about the fact that I happen to be a woman in this role," Allen tells DVM Newsmagazine. "I just happen to be a veterinarian who enjoys what I do and who wants to make the college even better."

While Hendricks likened the experience to an emotional roller coaster, she says simply: "The face of veterinary medicine has literally changed."

— Reported by Jennifer Fiala, senior editor and Daniel R. Verdon, editor

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