Veterinary curricula today: Curricular management and renewal at AAVMC member institutions

India F. Lane, Margaret V. Root Kustritz, Regina M. Schoenfeld-Tacher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Renewing a veterinary curriculum is challenging work and its impact is difficult to measure. Academic leaders are charged with regular review and updating of their curricula, but have few resources available to guide their efforts. Due to the paucity of published veterinary reports, most turn to colleagues at other veterinary schools for insider advice, while a few undertake the task of adapting information from the educational literature to suit the needs of the veterinary profession. In response to this paucity, we proposed a theme issue on curricular renewal and surveyed academic leaders regarding curricular challenges and major renewal efforts underway. We compiled the results of this survey (with respondents from 38 veterinary colleges) as well as publicly available information to create a digest of curricular activities at AAVMC member institutions. This introductory article summarizes the key survey findings, describes the methods used to create the curricular digest, and presents information about key aspects of selected programs. Our overarching research questions were as follows: (1) What was the extent and nature of curricular change at AAVMC-accredited veterinary colleges over the past 5 years? and (2) How are curricula and curricular changes managed at AAVMC accredited veterinary colleges? The appended curricular digests provide selected details of current DVM curricula at participating institutions. Additional articles in this issue report on institutional change efforts in more detail. It is our hope that this issue will help to pave the way for future curricular development, research, and peer-to-peer collaboration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-439
Number of pages59
JournalJournal of veterinary medical education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
eFinancial Education Specialist provides financial education and advisement to our DVM students eCenters for clinical and research excellence, including oncology, equine surgery and sports medicine, infec-tious disease eA college research program characterized by more than $50 million in research grants and contracts annually; 89 research faculty teach within the DVM program eExistence of the CSU One Health Institute, fostering opportunities in education, experiential learning, and research eActive 4-year USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Veterinary Services Grant Program, offering approximately $250,000 to develop programs aimed at optimally equipping future rural livestock practitioners eVeterinary Communication for Professional Excellence Program ePet Hospice Program eArgus Program (Pet Loss Counseling and Support Services) eFaculty from four distinct departments (Biomedical Sciences; Clinical Sciences; Environmental and Radio-logical Health Sciences; Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology) within the college contribute expertise to DVM instruction; faculty may be basic or clinical researchers, instructors in departmental undergraduate and graduate programs, and/or clinicians. eWith oversight from an interdisciplinary Capstone Committee, the capstone examinations assess both clinical reasoning and core knowledge, and encourage students to integrate material mastered over the pre-vious year as well as apply it within novel scenarios. Question quality and relevance are continually assessed, and recent integration of Exam Soft enables questions to be coded according to course and body system, providing the ability to convey feedback to students and faculty. Capstone III is entirely case-based, enabling students to integrate history and exam findings, videos, blood work, radiographs, and other diagnostic data into case management. eElective didactic courses include The Healer’s Art, Equine Sports Medicine, Exotic Animal Anatomy and Husbandry, Emerging Issues in Infectious Diseases, Swine Medicine, Clinical Diagnostic Microbiology, Performance Dog Medicine, Foaling Management, Principles of Shelter Veterinary Medicine, Non-Mammalian Vertebrate Medicine, Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, Food Animal Clinical

Funding Information:
eThe curriculum is the purview of our faculty and is overseen by the DVM Curriculum Committee, which is composed of two voting faculty members from each of five departments and a single student representative from each DVM class. The committee is supported by the Professional Programs Office and ex officio com-mittee members including the Associate Dean for Pro-fessional Programs, the Director of Recruitment and Student Services, the Director of Curriculum Development and Outcomes Assessment, the Director of Clinical Skills, the Director for the Center for Educa-tional Technologies, the DVM program manager, the coordinator of veterinary services for the Medical Sciences Library, a senior systems analyst, and an instructional technologist. eCurricular change must be data-driven. If substantive changes are recommended, the process progresses through the DVM curriculum committee to the level of the Faculty Senate and subsequently the Provost as an informational item. eMembers of the Curriculum Committee review courses within a given semester on a 3-year rotating basis. Course review includes evaluation of content, out-comes, assessments, and whether appropriate mapping to designated program-level outcomes is occurring. eA full review is conducted at 6-to 7-year intervals.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 AAVMC.


  • Change
  • Curricular renewal
  • Curriculum
  • Curriculum committee
  • Non-technical competencies
  • Teaching and learning


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