Debating the needs of education
KANSAS CITY, MO. — "Educational speed-dating." That's how one participant described the first of three days of discussion about the present and future of veterinary education at a meeting of the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC).
More than 160 representatives from veterinary colleges, associations and licensing organizations gathered April 29 to learn about current and imagined veterinary education programs. Participants dove into smaller groups to discuss possible changes to nine types of "veterinary educational models" as described by NAVMEC executive director Mary Beth Leininger, DVM.
The chief models included:
The day wrapped up with two proposed models for change — one from a student and the other from a dean. Graduating veterinary student Virginia Kiefer of the University of Tennessee and Oregon State University veterinary school dean Cyril Clarke, DVM, both imagined models emphasizing shorter pre-veterinary-school time with cost-effective distance learning, and more client and clinical experience in school.
After Kiefer and Clarke finished their presentations, Peter Eyre, BVMS, PhD, former dean and professor at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, echoed audience members' hopes for change and realization of uphill battles to come: "It'd be easier to do this if you were starting a college from scratch."
A third meeting July 14 to 16 will focus on changes needed in accreditation, licensure and testing for educational reforms to be successful.