Six southeast veterinary colleges band together

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A group of veterinary colleges, spearheaded by the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, has launched a consortium to collaborate, develop, and share best practices for veterinary education.

The Southeast Veterinary Educational Consortium is in its beginning stages, but the veterinary colleges are eager to work together and share resources to improve the learning process, said Dr. Juan Samper, associate dean for academic and student affairs at the UF veterinary college.

"As veterinarians, we are almost never or seldom taught how to teach, and it's something we only learn from feedback or trying to emulate some of the great teachers we had," Dr. Samper said. "The profession is changing, and newer generations not only need but want to have a different way to learn. Memory is not a great way to deliver content. We cannot use the student's brain as a hard drive. We want to make sure they use it as a processing center."

Program workshop presentation
The Master Teacher Program at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine is entering its 11th year. It was launched to meet strategic goals in strengthening the veterinary college's teaching programs. (Photos courtesy of UT CVM)

SEVEC comprises, along with the UF veterinary college, the following schools:

  • North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

"(UT veterinary college) has a long history of working on these challenges," said Dr. India Lane, a professor of internal medicine at UT veterinary college. "We've created a robust set of faculty development materials related to instruction and have fostered an internal community of practice that meets regularly in a teaching academy model. ... We are excited to be a part of this new initiative in order to share resources and to create a regional community of practice that connects our efforts and interested individuals to their counterparts at other schools."

Program participants
Participants in the Master Teacher Program at the UT veterinary college point to the program as particularly useful in improving their teaching methods, materials, and communication.

Each school contributed $10,000 in seed funding to the project and will continue to do so on a yearly basis. The group is currently looking for additional funding for larger projects.

"The primary goal of the consortium is to work together to tackle common challenges in the educational mission of veterinary schools, both in enhancing the quality of instruction and supporting and promoting teaching faculty," Dr. Lane said. "Working together, we hope to better prepare instructors for their teaching roles and to support and share innovations. Ultimately, these efforts should improve the educational experience for our students and help us recruit and retain excellent faculty and staff members."

Dr. Samper devised the idea for SEVEC after learning about a similar think tank, the Consortium of Western Regional Colleges of Veterinary Medicine, which comprises the veterinary colleges at Colorado State University, Oregon State University, the University of California-Davis, Washington State University, and Western University of Health Sciences.

"We need to have a hard look at how we teach," Dr. Samper said. "This is paramount for us to succeed."

SEVEC has plans for its committees to meet virtually on a regular basis and to host a symposium for participating faculty and interested staff sometime this year.

"As a former administrator and a faculty member, I am always amazed at the great things that happen when folks get together across institutions," Dr. Lane said. "This consortium will provide a venue for more of those great conversations and the structure for follow-through and implementation of collaborative ideas."

Southeast Veterinary Educational Consortium

SEVEC will achieve its goals by doing some or all of the following:

  • Organize face-to-face meetings for faculty and other educators.
  • Develop a teaching method for portfolio creation and evaluation.
  • Develop best practices for reward, evaluation, and effort allocation as it pertains to the educational mission of the institutions.
  • Develop an educational research collaborative to promote interinstitutional collaboration, grantsmanship, and dialogue around new trends in education.
  • Share current assessment practices to enhance the learning process.
  • Share educational programs and resources for recently hired faculty.

Related JAVMA content:

Western veterinary colleges band together (March 15, 2012)