University of Virginia School of
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)
- 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 email@example.com.
- Clinical Connections. The next Clinical Connections program
will take place Monday, 4/8/02. The topic will be Aging and Cognitive
- 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
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
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.
- 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
"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