University of Vermont

February Curriculum Retreat Recap

On February 7-8, over 60 faculty and students braved a snow storm to engage in a comprehensive curriculum retreat on at the Inn at Essex. The retreat utilized the College of Medicine Curriculum Competencies to evaluate our curriculum content, instructional and assessment methods.

The retreat began with a dinner meeting at which Dean Rick Morin charged participants to rigorously examine the curriculum to foster improvements. Dr. William Jeffries followed with a presentation of outcome data that are used to measure success of the medical education program and its graduates. “Overall we were pleased with the measures presented by Dr. Jeffries, “said Dr. Tania Bertsch, Associate Dean for Clinical Education. “Although there is always room for improvement, the data show that our program produces graduates that meet or exceed the expectations of their residency program directors.” Jeffries added, “Our satisfaction rating for educational quality among graduating students is above the 95th percentile and our students now perform above national norms on several important measures such as USMLE Step 2CS and Step2CK and residency match rate. Approximately 95% of our graduates report that their preparation for the residency competencies was similar or better than their peers from other schools.”

On Friday, small groups were created to examine several areas of the curriculum that were deemed in need of improvement or areas identified as strengths as a result of our recent LCME self-study process. As part of that process, the students conducted an independent survey that identified important areas of focus for the retreat. Areas studied included pharmacology content, public health, active learning methods, the changing healthcare system, health disparities, clinical skills/bedside teaching, Careers in Medicine and Admissions. A selected group of students and faculty also examined whether the standards used to assess applicants to the College are optimally matched with expectations for success in each competency. Another group studied our career advising system to ensure that all students are aided optimally in their career paths. All groups developed findings and recommendations that were presented to the entire assembly of students and faculty.

The groups will continue to refine their recommendations, which will appear on posters placed around the college to stimulate further discussion and input before action by the Medical Curriculum Committee. Be sure to look for the posters and add your voice to the upcoming discussions!