Minutes 04.04.02

Minutes 04.04.02

University of Virginia School of Medicine

Curriculum Committee

Minutes 04.04.02

Pediatric Pathology Conference Room, 4:00 PM

Present (underlined) were: Reid Adams, Robert Bloodgood, Victoria Camerini, Anita Clayton, Al Connors, Lisa Coray, Gene Corbett, Donald Innes (Chair), Howard Kutchai, Nelle Linz, Jerry Short, Bill Wilson, Debra Reed (secretary)

  1. IBM Scholars Program. UVA is participating in the IBM Scholars Program, a free program providing IBM software and educational materials for academic and research use. The Program includes IBM software, middleware and developer tools plus learning materials, technical support and discounts on books and events. Information about this program can be accessed through the IBM website (<http://www.ibm.com/university>). For questions, contact payne@virginia.edu.

  2. Clinical Connections. The next Clinical Connections program will take place Monday, 4/8/02. The topic will be Aging and Cognitive Impairment.

  3. Review of Physiology/CTS Course. (Howard Kutchai)

    Integration of physiology, cell biology and histology first occurred in the spring semester of 2001. This new, integrated course, is called Physiology/CTS. The CTS/Physiology course in the fall semester (fall of 2000) integrated the teaching of topics in cellular physiology with cell biology and histology. Physiology lectures on biological transport processes, cellular electrophysiology, and muscle physiology were moved into the fall semester, where they were taught in conjunction with relevant cell biology or tissue histology topics. In the spring semester (spring of 2001), histology of the various organ systems in conjunction with their physiology is taught. Eight lectures and eight laboratories (previously part of the old CTS course in the fall) were added to the Physiology/CTS course.

    The course directors and students found the integration of physiology and histology to have been extremely successful. The histology lectures and lab coordinated well with the physiology lectures.

    In 2002, Physiology/CTS decreased total scheduled time from 153.5 hours to 135 hours (8 of the lost hours due to creation of an additional exam week, the rest from a decrease in the 3 hour group discussions to 2 hours).

    Evaluations by the students have been favorable. The few problem areas are being addressed by Drs. Kutchai and Bloodgood and will require follow-up. Some of these include the need for more integrative lectures with learning objectives and more instructors in the CTS laboratories.

    The entire Curriculum Committee agreed when Anita Clayton noted You (Bloodgood and Kutchai) are a model of what we hope to see in the basic sciences and the Committee hopes to see others follow your lead.

  4.  Grading Proposal.

    The Dean's Executive Group met Tuesday March 26, 2002. Following a healthy discussion of the issues for and against a P/F system a consensus was reached to put in place a "Pass with Distinction"/"Pass"/"Fail" system for years 1 & 2.

    One aspect of the proposal was left unclear - that of defining the "Pass with Distinction". In the discussion to delineate the superior student, the discussion frequently used the figure of 10% although this was at times left unclear as in "some designated percent". What should this proportion be?

    There was discussion at the Curriculum Committee suggesting that the "Pass with Distinction" designation could be more restrictive, either 5% or 10%, to make "Pass with Distinction" appear almost "unattainable" and therefore not of concern to students. This was countered with the timing of the "Pass with Distinction" at the close of the second year and that each course was a simple P/F.

    Currently "A" grades are given to approximately 45-50% [for the class of 2003 - 1st and 2nd year courses averaged 47% "A" grades with a range of 29-68%] of a class. This appears to be "grade inflation", but cutting to 10% seems draconian, while 25% was agreed to be too high. Student Affairs can already identify the top ~5% through AOA (6 Junior AOA students from the second year), awards to top students in Pharm, Path, Biochemistry and other courses, and letters of commendation. At the 10%, 15%, or 20% designations about 14, 21 or 28 students out of the 140 would be identified as "Pass with Distinction".

    One rational approach might be to award those students more than 1 standard deviation above the mean. With a normal curve this would be 16%. For instance, AOA eligibility is determined at the 25% mark with up to 17% of the class selected.

    Although somewhat more generous than 16% (and perhaps not as rational), the 20% for distinction was favored. Reflecting on many years of teaching, we genuinely believe that UVA classes on average have 25-30 students out of the 140 who truly merit "distinction". This is similar to the AOA policy. The Dean approved of the 20% delineation for "Pass with Distinction".

    "Pass with Distinction" would be earned by the top 20% of the class and would be determined at the end of the second year based on all work in the first two years. Each course would be P/F, but at the end of the two years a student might be determined to have passed with distinction. This will allow AOA selection (6 people) at the end of the second year, with the remainder (a total of 17% of the class) at the end of the third year.

    We will also identify not only students who "Fail" but also those in the bottom 10% who may need counseling and special assistance. Special attention will be paid to students who consistently fall into the bottom 10%. Early intervention would be provided through Student Affairs.

-Don Innes
-dmr