| Most Happy When: "Teaching."
Vice President of Academic Affairs
Phillip Cornwell has taught at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology since 1989 when he came to the college as a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Cornwell is one of a select group of Rose-Hulman professors to have earned the Dean's Outstanding Teacher Award (2000) and Board of Trustees' Outstanding Scholar Award (2001).
In 2011, he was named Vice President for Academic Affairs. Prior to joining Rose-Hulman, Cornwell served as visiting faculty and staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory and in positions at Princeton University. He serves as a visitng faculty member at Los Alamos. Cornwell was named in the Princeton Review's book, The Best 300 Professors in 2012 as a teacher at Rose-Hulman. He was named a Rose-Hulman Board of Trustees Outstanding Scholar Award winner in 2001 and earned the Dean's Outstanding Teacher Award in 2000. Cornwell has earned several other awards throughout his years of teaching. He is also active beyond the Rose-Hulman campus. He was asked by the governor of Indiana to serve on the Indiana Automotive Council and also serves on the ASEE Global Forum on Engineering Education. In addition, he has been published in numerous journals and books and has served on many Rose-Hulman committees. He holds a PhD and master's degree from Princeton University's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He also has a BS degree, Summa Cum Laude, from Texas Tech University's Department of Mechanical Engineering. Cornwell is married to Rachel and the couple has two sons, Wesley and Stephen.
In his administrative role, Cornwell assists President Rob Coons in setting academic strategic objectives that will keep the college at the forefront of undergraduate engineering, science and mathematics education.
"Phil has earned our confidence as an individual who has proven himself by excelling in the classroom, in his profession and as a campus leader. Although we will be losing one of our greatest professors, we will be significantly stronger as his influence becomes magnified across campus and across the world as our academic leader," stated the late president Matt Branam in making the announcement. "I am sure that his intelligence, work ethic and passion for our mission will become instrumental as we develop a better understanding of Rose-Hulman's place in the dynamically changing environment of higher education."
Cornwell has had the best paper and presentation in the mechanics division at five American Society of Engineering Education annual conferences. He also is a former recipient of the Society of Automotive Engineers' Ralph R. Teetor Education Award as an outstanding young engineering educator and he received the Rose-Hulman Triangle Fraternity's Teacher of the Year Award.
A Princeton University educated scholar, Cornwell has been co-author of a best-selling textbook on dynamics, and has spent several summers as a visiting faculty member and collaborator at the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). At LANL he has worked in the area of structural health monitoring and has been a mentor for the Los Alamos Dynamics Summer School.
"I do miss teaching, but what I like about this role is the ability to serve the Rose-Hulman community by preserving and enhancing the qualities that make Rose-Hulman special," said Cornwell. "Our mission -- to provide the world's best undergraduate engineering, science and math education in an environment of individual attention and concern for the student -- is unique and must remain our rallying cry as we move forward."
Cornwell believes Rose-Hulman cannot rest on its laurels, but must continually strive to improve the curriculum and how it educates and prepares students to be successful in the future. He also says that his role is to clear the way, providing ever new avenues, for teachers to teach.
"The primary measure of Rose-Hulman's success should always be the success of its students," said Cornwell, adding that he believes that the college needs to have a broader impact on undergraduate engineering, science and math education. He also asserted that Rose-Hulman's best days are in the future.
Cornwell earned his doctorate and master's degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University, after graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University. The Los Alamos, N.M., native and his wife, Rachel, have two sons. The family lives in Terre Haute, Ind.