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Thursday, 10 July, 2014

The AAVMC’s VEC Symposium Sharpens Skills, Celebrates Teaching


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 10, 2014 – About 180 veterinary medical faculty members and related stakeholders attended the AAVMC’s Veterinary Educator Collaborative (VEC) Symposium in June at Iowa State University. The event, designed to foster teaching excellence in academic veterinary medicine, provides an opportunity to get ideas for improved teaching and learn about how to deal with practical challenges, such as conducting communications assessment on a budget or running effective medical rounds. Expert instructors and educational specialists make presentations on what works and why.


Three tracks–Inter-program Collaboration, Teaching and Learning, and Innovation in Teaching–featured almost 35 individual presentations centered on topics such as new applications of teaching practices and technology, teaching basic sciences in a clinical context, and how to align clinical teaching and the client experience to create practice-ready veterinarians.


“The VEC is focused on creating teaching excellence,” said AAVMC Executive Director Dr. Andrew Maccabe. “When you consider the enormous popularity of this program among veterinary educators, I think it makes a very positive statement about the future.”


Participants heard keynote speaker Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University, speak about the measurement of expert performance and how expert performers attain their superior performance by acquiring complex cognitive mechanisms and making physiological adaptations through extended deliberate practice.


In addition to publishing articles in prestigious journals, such as Science and Psychological Review, Ericsson’s ideas on how to achieve expertise have been recently featured in books such as Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” and Geoffrey Colvin’s “Talent is Overrated.”


Participants also toured the new Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital as part of the conference, and became eligible to receive 36 hours of continuing education credits, as approved by the AAVSB RACE program.


“The VEC symposium provides a wonderful opportunity for veterinary medical educators from around the world to share best teaching and assessment practices, innovative educational initiatives, and fascinating research," said Dr. Jared Danielson, assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University, who organized the symposium. "I always come away from VEC meetings better informed, motivated, and encouraged about the future of veterinary medical education."


The AAVMC’s VEC provides online and face-to-face collaboration and sharing between veterinary medical educators. VEC focuses on planning, faculty development, and sharing best practices. Participants exchange ideas, learn from each other, and generate new ideas in the context of an ongoing collaborative exchange.


The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Its members include 35 veterinary medical colleges in the United States and Canada, nine departments of veterinary science, eight departments of comparative medicine, thirteen international colleges of veterinary medicine, and six affiliate colleges of veterinary medicine:

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AAVMC MEDIA CONTACTS:                                                                                                                                                    
Jeanne Johnson or Jeff Douglas                                                                                       
Phone:  202/371-9195, x144                                                                                          




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