Second veterinary education reform meeting debates merits of sustainable models
More than 160 representatives from veterinary colleges, associations and licensing organizations gathered April 29 to absorb information about current and imagined veterinary education programs. Friday and Saturday the participants dove into smaller discussion groups to discuss possible changes to nine types of "veterinary educational models" (VEMs) described by NAVMEC executive director Mary Beth Leininger, DVM.
The chief models from nine different schools included:
Participants also heard presentations on "out-of-the-box" ideas for change, as well as updates on education in human medicine and dentistry.
The day wrapped up with two innovative 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. "We’re tired of studying from text to test," Kiefer says. Both speakers called for more practical training in the areas students hoped to focus on in practice.
Their most unorthodox proposal was an imagined module of uniform early learning in the first two years, followed by modules focused on specialty medicine in the latter years of study and open to veterinary students and veterinarians.
After Kiefer and Clarke finished their presentations, Peter Eyre, BVMS, PhD, former dean and a 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."
Ideas developed in the breakout groups will be shared in the near future, Leininger adds. A third meeting July 14 to 16 will focus on how accreditation, licensure and testing organizations need to embrace change for any educational reforms to be successful.