NC State College of Veterinary Medicine professor and clinical anesthesiologist Lysa Posner has been named the college’s next assistant dean of student development. She will begin her new role this month.
Posner steps in after Jennifer Neel, who served in the role since 2017, announced that she accepted a new job in Arizona that also allowed her to be closer to family.
The assistant dean of student development supports NC State DVM students at every stage of their veterinary education, from admissions through fourth-year clinics and finding their first job within the profession.
Posner joined the CVM in 2005 as a clinical assistant professor of anesthesiology within the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences (MBS). She was promoted to clinical associate professor in 2008, received tenure in 2014 and was promoted to professor in 2017. Since 2014, she has been the assistant head of the MBS department.
“I feel like I have been training for this position most of my career. One of the most impactful parts of my job has been the mentoring of students and house officers,” says Posner. “There is great satisfaction in seeing mentees succeed, both personally and professionally. To be entrusted with overseeing student development at the CVM is truly an honor and a responsibility I take very seriously.”
Last year, Posner received the Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award and was nominated for the UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence, the UNC System’s most prestigious teaching honor which she was also nominated for in 2019.
“I am very excited to welcome Dr. Posner into this role after a very competitive search,” says Laura Nelson, CVM associate dean and director of academic affairs. “With her experience across the curriculum and history of student advocacy, I know that she will carry on the work started by Dr. Neel as well as identify new directions and opportunities for the college.”
Posner has garnered numerous other awards for teaching from students and professional organizations. The classes of 2020, 2022 and 2023 all named her outstanding teacher over the years. She has received the Bayer Teaching Recognition Award and the Carl Norden-Pfizer Outstanding Teacher Award. From 2019 to 2020, Posner served as president of the CVM Academy of Educators, and she is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia.
Posner said one of her major focus areas as assistant dean of student development is increasing equity within the student body.
“All of our students are capable. I tell them all, many times, that, ‘none of you got here by accident,’” says Posner. “But our students come from wildly different backgrounds, which means they don’t all start veterinary school at the same place.
“I want to level the playing field and help all of our students graduate as proficient veterinarians and scientists.”
Kate Bailey, CVM clinical associate professor of anesthesiology, calls Posner a personal hero.
“I remember when I was a student and she told me she thought I had a calling as an anesthesiologist,” says Bailey, who earned her DVM from NC State in 2009. “She really sees the students in a way that not everyone does or can. She cares and she’s always watching.”
Posner continued to mentor Bailey as she completed her residency at the CVM, inspiring her to enter academia. They are now colleagues, and Bailey still finds herself regularly reaching out to Posner to ask for advice or insight.
“As faculty, she’s still my north star when I have trouble making decisions or figuring out what to do,” says Bailey. “I don’t ask her for advice because she’ll say what I want to hear. I ask her because she will tell me the truth and say difficult things if needed, but always with kindness. She’s one of the most genuine people I know. Our students are so lucky to have her.”
Posner is also highly regarded for her clinical work and her leadership within the NC State Veterinary Hospital. In 2018, she was awarded a Coat of Excellence, recognizing extraordinary care, by the owners of a dog Posner helped treat for bladder cancer.
As the COVID-19 pandemic raged in spring 2020, Posner helped launch the CVM’s Face Mask Brigade, which collected hundreds of cotton cloth face masks created by the CVM community for CVM faculty and staff working on emergency cases.
Posner received her bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and earned a DVM from the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. She completed her residency in veterinary anesthesiology from the Cornell University Hospital for Animals and was a lecturer in anesthesiology at Cornell for four years before joining NC State.
And for more than 15 years at NC State, Posner has spent much of her career advocating for students and helping guide each on a successful path in veterinary medicine. But she also understands them. She listens to them. She knows them.
“I tell people all the time that I work with the best students. DVM students are adult learners who are incredibly smart, motivated, hard-working and are sacrificing a lot to be here,” Posner says. “I then get to help them transform into capable, autonomous veterinarians who leave NC State to make a huge impact on animals, their owners and society.
“I am incredibly proud of what our students have accomplished — and will accomplish. I couldn’t ask for a better job.”
~Jordan Bartel/NC State Veterinary Medicine