Continuous Curricular Quality Improvement
At the ISUCVM, curricular improvement is much more than a buzz-word. Our instructors constantly seek to improve their teaching and help students achieve the most they can from their time at the college. Qualified full time staff continuously collect, analyze, and report on data regarding the performance of our teaching function, students and alumni. It all begins with good data, and we strive to have the highest quality and most in-depth information possible regarding how we are doing as a college. The following are a few examples:
National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, Qualifying Examination (QE): The ISUCVM is one of only a small handful of veterinary colleges that has made the commitment to systematically measure basic science knowledge using a standardized instrument, administering the QE to all veterinary students during their VM3 year. While this represents a significant commitment on the part of the college, this comprehensive exam provides documentation for the students of their knowledge base, and information for the college regarding how to improve. Recent analysis conducted by our Office of Curricular and Student Assessment proves that the QE score is a solid predictor of performance on the NAVLE.
Standardized Performance Assessment Laboratory (SPAL): Students need the opportunity to practice newly learned skills in realistic environments that can provide valid systematic feedback. That's why we contracted with Des Moines University's College of Osteopathic Medicine to use their state-of-the-art Standardized Performance Assessment Laboratory (SPAL) for practicing and assessing client communication and diagnostic skills. Beginning in the Fall of 2009, this experience is available to all third year students in conjunction with our core Client Communications course.
Comprehensive Survey Program: No one knows our program better than our students and graduates. And no one knows our graduates better than the people who employ them. That's why we take input from these groups extremely seriously. Right before graduation all of our VM4 students complete a survey regarding nearly every aspect of their experience at the ISUCVM. A similar abridged survey is then sent to our graduates 1 and 5 years after graduation, and an adapted survey is sent to employers of graduates 1 year after graduation. We enjoy the opportunity to learn what we are doing well. But, more importantly, we look forward to learning how we can improve, and we change our curriculum as a result of what we learn. In 2008, for example, a substantial change was made to the VM1 year (introduction of nutritional biochemistry and molecular and cell biology), prompted in large part by input from graduating seniors and alumni. Similarly, the addition of staff members with expertise in client communication and the introduction of the SPAL experience (above) were prompted in part by feedback from alumni and their employers. At the ISUCVM, using stakeholder feedback to improve the curriculum is simply becoming the way we do business.