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It has already started, but we have only committed to the exploratory phase.
We do not know the answer to this question yet because the exploratory phase of curriculum redesign is just beginning at the Cummings School. If we decide to proceed with curriculum redesign, there will be three phases: exploration, design, and implementation.
This has varied among veterinary and medical schools depending upon the methods used and changes that are made. It appears to take 2-3 years for most institutions. We have our AVMA COE accreditation site visit in October 2018 so we expect to make slow and steady progress until that date, and then accelerate the process afterwards.
The curriculum is determined by the faculty of the school and all faculty members involved in the DVM program will have an equal say in this matter. Curriculum Committee is the standing committee of the school that is responsible for the curriculum and it is composed of faculty selected by Faculty Council and the Dean who serve three-year terms, and a student representative from each class. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs is also a voting member of this committee. Decisions relating to the DVM curriculum must be approved by CC and major changes are sent to Executive Faculty Board (EFB) for approval. The Dean is the chair of EFB and it is made up of faculty selected by Faculty Council and the Dean, department chairs, the medical director of the hospitals, and the associate deans. If a faculty vote is proposed by CC, it must first be approved by EFB.
A comprehensive curriculum redesign involves many other stakeholders, including current students, alumni, and employers of our new graduates. Members of the Board of Advisors for the school will also be invited to provide input. The methods used to gather input from these parties has not been determined yet, but a plan will be developed during the exploratory phase.
YeaRim Oh from the Office of Academic Affairs coordinates our curriculum and she will help to organize the curriculum redesign process if we decide to move forward. Her experience with the curriculum review will be invaluable if we proceed with curriculum redesign.
In all likelihood, yes. However, this will have to be approved by CC and then EFB. A major school decision like curriculum redesign is normally taken to a faculty vote.
This is a question that still needs to be addressed and we must develop a plan that works for our school. One option is to involve as many people as possible and share the workload, with each faculty member deciding for themselves how much can be involved.
Yes. The university is fortunate to have the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) based on the Medford campus and we have asked its director, Dr. Donna Qualters for help with this project. Dr. Carie Cardamone will also be joining CELT in June 2018 and we look forward to her coming to the Grafton campus on a regular basis. Dr. Cardamone will provide general support for our educational programs one day of the week and if we proceed with curriculum redesign, she will devote additional time to the Cummings School to help us get started.
No, the curriculum review is being conducted to meet the requirements for accreditation determined by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education and we must complete this process before our October 2018 site visit. Under Standard 9, it states that ‘The curriculum as a whole must be reviewed at least every seven years’ and we must describe the process used to assess curricular overlaps, redundancies, and omissions. YeaRim Oh from the Office of Academic Affairs now serves as our curriculum coordinator and she is organizing the curriculum review process.
Although these processes are different, performing a comprehensive review of our curriculum will set the stage for curriculum redesign and provide us with a curriculum map for use during the design phase.
Our strategic plan includes the following bullet points in the section on Continuously Improve Learning Experiences :
Our strategic plan does not specifically mention curriculum redesign, but it gives us a way forward for the goals listed in this section of the plan.
In our first Curriculum Conversation with faculty we asked participants to list the strengths and weaknesses of our current curriculum. There are many strengths, including the expertise of the faculty, the depth and breadth of the instruction provided to students, and the rich learning environment of the teaching hospitals. Our students also benefit from the many areas of the veterinary profession represented on campus, including basic science research, applied research, public health, laboratory animal medicine, public policy, and community medicine.
Threats include the large amounts of information that we try to teach, the negative impact of current class and exam schedules on student wellness, and the problems that students are encountering with applying and integrating information. We often think of curriculum as a term used to describe an inventory of courses, but a broader definition is ‘the totality of student experiences that occur in the educational process’. This includes how we teach, what students learn, and how they are assessed. Our curriculum requires redesign so that we can maximize student learning and wellness, enhance horizontal and vertical integration of content, and increase opportunities for application of knowledge. It may require a comprehensive curriculum redesign to accomplish all of these goals because small incremental changes are met with resistance when students are accustomed to traditional approaches to teaching. We must therefore consider shifting the entire paradigm of our curriculum to create a culture of learning through application and integration of knowledge from the first day of the first year of our curriculum.