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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Veterinary school to change teaching style

After years of planning, a completely new curriculum will take effect at the UC Davis Veterinary School in the fall.

Jan Ilkiw, associate dean of veterinary medicine, said the school redesigned its curriculum in order to keep up with the pace of progressions in learning. Students will be working more in groups and outside the classroom.

“Educational philosophy and how adults learn has come a long way in the last 20 years. It was time to take that into consideration and implement a student-centered rather than teacher-centered curriculum,” Ilkiw said.

The new curriculum has been designed so that the organizing principles for the classes are different body systems rather than the current setup of vastly different courses.

“Students were overwhelmed with the amount of material presented,” said Richard Nelson, chair of the curriculum committee. “We recognized that students have evolved and they learn by different mechanisms now. The information is going to be the same – it’s just being delivered in a different format.”

Students will spend a day every three weeks working with senior students in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. They will also spend less time in class and more time working together on problem-solving activities.

“Veterinary medicine is now a team-based profession so starting the student early learning to work effectively as part of a team is an important philosophy,” Ilkiw said.

The new curriculum will follow many of the medical school models in that it is based on outcomes, she said. All accredited veterinary schools are required to determine what an entry-level veterinarian should know and do and assess whether graduates have achieved that standard in order to better prepare them for the real world.

“The old curriculum has been under review for five years so the decision to implement a new, very different curriculum was not taken lightly,” Ilkiw said.

Ilkiw added that the cost of the program can’t be fully determined until it is put in place. However, with the way it is structured now, the budget for the new curriculum will need to be similar to that of the current curriculum.

“The design of the new curriculum is going to enhance the overall veterinary education,” said Yasmin Williams, director of admissions. “It’s going to be a better model for them to apply in any future career goals.”

AKSHAYA RAMANUJAM can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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