Educators collaborate to advance swine medicine curriculum

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Swine educators face the challenge of attracting and preparing veterinary students for careers in swine production medicine, despite a shrinking curriculum dedicated to teaching swine courses.

Moreover, many students do not get exposure to swine veterinary medicine until late in their veterinary school careers, often after career choices have been made.

As a result, many opportunities for swine veterinarians go unfilled.

The overall goal of the Swine Veterinary Educator Conference is to solve this problem. Purdue University hosted the third annual conference May 10-11 in Lafayette, Ind.

Eighteen swine veterinary faculty from 12 schools in the United States, Canada, and Australia attended. They discussed recruitment, curricular content, addressing animal welfare issues in the curriculum, and animal care and use issues in education. The Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue presented a workshop for the faculty on lecturing techniques.

Dr. Trish Holyoake from the University of Sydney, Australia, described activities of the Australian Swine Educator Group.

One of the outcomes of the 2005 conference was a commitment by each faculty member to provide an hourlong lecture in PowerPoint and video formats in their respective areas of expertise. These will all be formatted in Microsoft Producer and compiled as an advanced swine curriculum, available as free conference proceedings to swine faculty at all institutions.

Metrics concerning admissions and recruitment will be collected across institutions so that the effectiveness of recruiting strategies prior to admission and during the veterinary program can be evaluated objectively.

For further information about the conference, contact Dr. Sandra Amass at amasssatpurdue [dot] edu.