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Illinois vet students may get early hands-on experience

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Mar 11, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
Urbana, Ill. -- Students could spend their first weeks of veterinary school in clinical rotations if a curriculum overhaul is adopted at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

Typically, veterinary students don't start their clinical experience until their second or third year. The change proposed at Illinois, approved by the Urbana Senate and now under consideration by the college's board of trustees, would create a new lab-focused, eight-week school curriculum.

Instead of taking classes lasting a semester, with basic sciences early in their education and hands-on application much later, the school year would be broken into eight-week cycles, with each including a lab application of the things students are learning, says college spokeswoman Chris Beuoy.

The new curriculum would provide greater integration between science theory and real-world application. The labs would be intensive, but the final eight weeks would not include labs, Beuoy says. Instead, students can focus during the last session on electives, specialties and exercises like mock board exams.

The college's board of trustees is expected to vote on the new curriculum in May, and it could go into effect as early as the fall semester.