Vital Signs: April 2014

Vol. 3, Issue 4

Dean Cyril Clarke

DVM Curriculum Revision

Dear friends and colleagues,

In the spring of 2013, a faculty working group started a comprehensive review of the DVM curriculum, with the goal of developing a proposal for revision. This review is necessary to meet accreditation standards but, more importantly, it will provide an opportunity for the college to consider whether there is a need to update the curriculum and incorporate emerging trends in veterinary and medical education.

After a series of facilitated workshops, the working group drafted a set of principles to guide the curricular development process. These principles prioritized the educational needs of our students, relative to other missions of the college, and laid out an evidence-based framework for promoting integration of subject matter, experiential (minds-on, hands-on) education, and significant opportunity for students to specialize in areas of individual interest. These principles are consistent with the recommendations of several strategic planning initiatives accomplished at the national level in recent years.

Using the guiding principles as a basis for further deliberations, the working group developed a proposed curricular model that has a number of interesting and innovative elements: 

  • Integration of basic and clinical sciences
  • Emphasis placed on outcomes assessment, including the evaluation of clinical competency
  • Team-based learning in the first two years
  • Earlier exposure of students to experiential learning in clinical and diagnostic settings

This proposed model has been presented to faculty at the department level. Two town hall meetings, scheduled for later this month and in May, will provide another opportunity for faculty to review and shape the final proposal. I anticipate also that feedback will be sought from students, staff, and veterinary practitioners (private, public, and corporate).

I am well aware that comprehensive revision of the curriculum is not easily accomplished. I believe it was Woodrow Wilson who said, “It is easier to change the location of a cemetery, than to change the school curriculum.” Considering the priority placed on education of our students, I am confident that our faculty will go the extra mile in reviewing and supporting proposed changes that advance student learning and sustain our college’s reputation for educational excellence.

Dr. Cyril Clarke, Dean

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