Minutes 03.05.09

Minutes 03.05.09

University of Virginia School of  Medicine
Curriculum Committee

Pediatric Conference Room, 4:00 p.m.                       

Present (underlined) were: Gretchen ArnoldDan Becker, Robert Bloodgood, Megan Bray, Eugene Corbett, Thomas Gampper, Wendy Golden, Donald Innes (Chair), Keith Littlewood, Veronica Michaelsen, Mohan Nadkarni, Chris Peterson, Jerry Short, Linda Waggoner-Fountain, Bill Wilson, Mary Kate Worden, Jason Franasiak, Kira Mayo, Debra Reed (secretary) Guests: Susan Pollart, Animesh Jain

  1. Announcements: 

    Three articles of interest were shared with the Committee:
    Short of Dentists, Maine Adds Teeth to Doctors' Training - NY Times, Tuesday, 3/3/09

    Harvard Medical School in Ethics Quandary, Tuesday, 3/3/09

    These Lectures are Gone in 60 Seconds - The Chronicles of Higher Education, 3/6/09

  2. "Medical Education: Preparing for the Next Generation" - Sue Pollart

    Dr. Pollart outlined the unique qualities of today's teachers nd today's learners.

    The Greatest Generation
    - the teachers of the Baby Boomers (early 1920's to mid-1940's)
    Baby Boomers - the majority of current senior SOM faculty (1946-1961) - currently in mid-40's to early 60's
    Generation X - (1963 - 1982) junior faculty that are neither Boomers or Millennials in terms of comfort and experience w/ technology (mid- 20's to mid- 40's
    Millennials - (early 1980's to early 2000's) our current students.

    Virtually all of our undergraduate students and most our of medical students are part of this millenial generation.   For this group of students, technology is a given - being able to use it doesn't impress, how it is used does.  Their upbringing was child centered and their lives are now peer centered with constant, immediate communication.  A growing body of evidence supports these observations.    This is a culturally diverse generation with more value diversity.

    How does this technologically savvy, culturally diverse generation raised in a structured child-centric household want (need, crave) to learn? They want to learn using a "traditional" framework.

    Teaching in a Traditional Framework


    Learning in a Traditional Framework 

    Holistic Active Learning   


    Millennial Teaching "Do's"

    DO use neurons for new ways of learning and new conceptual frameworks
    DO allow students to develop their own questions - for themselves and their classmates.
    DO use images, videos, on-line quizzes, on-line discussions
    DO see your teaching role as facilitating learning.

    Millennial Teaching "Don'ts"
    DON'T waste neurons on memorization
    DON'T provide all the questions (much less the answers)
    DON'T be "text-focused" in readings, class notes, Power-Point presentations
    DON'T see your teaching role as delivering information

    Dr. Pollart recommends the following textbook in addressing assessment techniques.

    This book recommends assessment tools such as background knowledge probes, one minute papers at the end of class sessions, asking for the students muddiest point after a section, one-sentence summaries, or "What's the Principle?" documents.

    Students who are products of this highly scheduled childhood expect structure in their assessment.  Measures of success must be clearly defined and consistently applied.  Assessment should include a clear set of expected outcomes - not just a grade on a test. Students need to constantly assess their success in getting information they need and their ability to use it in a manner that will lead to learning.

    Raised at the most child-centric time in our history,  feedback needs to be given supportively not judgmentally (formative vs summative) with respect for what they know and can do.

    A teacher needs to have a real passion for this type of education - and must truly delight to watching the students "learn".

    In summary:  There is a "disconnect" between the traditional passive/active sequencing of teaching and the learning preferences of today's millenial medical students.  Holisitic active learning represents a model that effectively engages medical students and support medical education.

    The Curriculum Committee discussed Dr. Pollart's presentation.  Questions regarding the   differences in the traditional multiple-choice examinations offered by the licensure boards and the innovative methods of evaluation suggested above were discussed.  Students on the committee offered their opinions on the methods suggested. Whether students are prepared to do much of the pre-discussion work on their own was discussed.  Students at the meeting noted that they often prefer self-learning but need the faculty to provide a proper framework for all they learn.

Donald Innes