Professional Curriculum, Academic & Student Affairs, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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The Illinois Integrated Veterinary Professional Curriculum

Illinois Integrated Veterinary Professional Curriculum, beginning Fall 2009

 In response to 10 years of outcomes assessments which demonstrated a critical need for increased integration of clinical with pre-clinical instruction, the Illinois faculty began to study curriculum revision in earnest in 2006. The new curriculum began in August 2009 with “student-centric” goals to increase clinical experience, improve integration, and institute professional development senior electives to transition students into veterinary practice.

 Table 1 below illustrates the curriculum overview. Clinical Practice courses (rotations, in blue) in each year allow increased experiential learning in the hospital and diagnostic laboratory. Rotations are intended to facilitate integration of pre-clinical sciences (didactic lectures and laboratories in pink, purple, and orange blocks) with spontaneous clinical material.  The Professional Development period at the end of the 4th year (green) is designed to provide more focused (by species and discipline) clinical experiences immediately prior to graduation (capstone courses).

Table 1: Overview of the Illinois Integrated Veterinary Professional Curriculum

curriculum overview

 We are currently delivering the new curriculum to all classes in the DVM Program (2013, 2014, 2015 and the Class of 206 starting August 2012).

 In VM 601, Clinical Practice I, new first-year students rotated weekly through 23 diverse clinical experiences for a total of 8 weeks. They also attended colloquia, completed on-line learning modules, and developed a wiki containing over 1200 medical terms.  While evaluations from students were good, we are working to further enhance these clinical experiences to optimize clinical relevance at a stage-of-training-appropriate level for first year students.

 A major component of the new curriculum is the Clinical Skills Learning Center. In this new 1600 square foot facility, students learn, practice, and refine clinical skills under the guidance of experienced coaches. Skills pertain to anesthesiology, animal handling, clinical pathology, critical care, medicine, radiography, surgery, and ultrasonography of both large and small animals. To read more about the CSLC and to see some of the models, mannequins, and simulators, see .

 In the remainder of the first year of the new curriculum, we created essentially a quarter rather than semester system where courses are 8-weeks long. Courses are organized to present anatomy, physiology, and histology of the same body systems simultaneously to allow better correlation and integration of pre-clinical sciences with one another and with clinical material experienced during VM 601. A typical daily and hourly schedule for VM 603 is illustrated in Table 2 below:

 Table 2: Weekly Schedule: VM 603 (First Half Spring Semester, January 19-March 12, 2010). Core hours are in light blue, and elective courses are in yellow with italic print.

curriculum table 2

The electives shown may or may not be taught in subsequent semesters.

What clinical rotations are available to 4th year students (subject to change)?

Clinical Rotations include:  Anesthesiology, Dentistry, Dermatology, Diagnostic Medicine, Equine Medicine, Equine Surgery, Imaging, Large Animal Emergency and Critical Care, Rural Animal Health Management, Laboratory Animal Medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Population Medicine, Practice Management, Public Health, Small Animal Critical Care, Small Animal Emergency Medicine, Small Animal Internal Medicine, Small Animal Primary Care, Small Animal Surgery Orthopedics, Small Animal Soft Tissue, Shelter Medicine, Ultrasound, Wildlife/Exotic Medicine and Surgery.