Minutes 082505

Minutes 082505

University of Virginia School of  Medicine
Curriculum Committee

Surgery Conference Room, 4:00 p.m.    

Present (underlined) were: Reid Adams, Eve Bargmann,  Daniel Becker, Robert BloodgoodGene Corbett, John Gazewood, Jennifer Harvey, Donald Innes (Chair),  Howard Kutchai, Marcus Martin, Chris Peterson, Jerry Short, Bill WilsonAnthony DeBenedet, Sixtine ValdelievreDebra Reed (secretary)  Guests:  Joyce Hamlin, Joel Hockensmith, Selena Noramly

1.  Announcement of new Curriculum Committee members.  Drs. Jennifer Harvey and Daniel Becker are welcomed to the Curriculum Committee.    See the updated web site: 

2.  Medical Biochemistry 2005 – Course Review Update.  (Joyce Hamlin, Joel Hockensmith, Selena Noramly) 

After review of the Biochemistry course in February, 2005, the Curriculum Committee offered several suggestions for improvement of the Course.    The Departmental Chair, Joyce Hamlin, the Course Director, Joel Hockensmith,  and the Course Coordinator, Selena Normaly are now invited back to update the Committee on their efforts to improve the course.  Dr. Hamlin stated “the number one educational mission of the department was to offering a first-rate and popular Human Biochemistry course.” She felt that the 2004 course was the result of an unfortunate confluence of circumstances that will not occur again this fall and that all of the individuals involved in the course were working together to make sure that things are on track for success. Dr. Hockensmith outlined their recent modifications to the course:

I.  Lecture Notes:

    A.  Handouts have been completely reformatted to include:

  • Lecture outline
  • Recommended Readings (textbook references)
  • Learning objectives
  • Lecture specific page numbering
  • Lecture specific figure and table numbering
  • Complete set of notes at the beginning of the course

   B.   Powerpoint presentations are coordinated with the lecture notes and posted
         on the WWW following lecture (printer-friendly and viewer-friendly versions)

   C.  Corrections to the handouts and presentations are made to the appropriate  
         files and posted immediately on the WWW.

II.  Teaching:
    A.        Course “retreat” on June 28th

  • Drs. Wotton, Mayo, Grant and Noramly gave presentations of one of their lectures, which were taped and provided to the faculty.
  • Drs. Noramly and May then had their lectures evaluated by the Teaching Resource Center and were provided with feedback.  R. Noramly has also attended workshops held by the TRC.
  • In addition to the historical “in-class” review sessions, the faculty have added “consult” times when they are specifically available to answer questions on a “walk-in” basis.  The consult times are listed on the syllabus and are interspersed with the in-class reviews.  Consults are held in a common room in the BMG department.
  • Dr. Noramly has enlisted the aid of volunteers from the class to act as a student advisory committee. This committee provides feedback with respect to each lecture and meets with Dr. Noramly on a regular basis.  Dr. Hockensmith will collect the feedback with respect to Dr. Noramly’s lectures and will also meet with the students.
  • Dr. Hockensmith has been participating with the Academy of Distinguished Educators subcommittee on teaching assessment to develop an instrument for peer evaluation.  An instrument has been prepared.  Feedback will be provided to the individual faculty.
  • Dr. Noramly is working with the Office of Medical Education and providing tutorial help for struggling students.
III.    Exams:


The course grading system will consist of Pass or Fail only.  We will provide percentile scores after each examination so that you can know your relative standing nit he class.  Based on historical grades and mean, passing is generally assured for a score of 70%.”


Following scoring of the exams, students may review their examination by “signing out” the exam.  Following a period approximating one week of availability, the faculty will hold an exam review session.  The two exam review sessions have been scheduled and are listed on the course syllabus.


All exam questions will be peer reviewed by the other faculty who have questions on the exam, as well as by the course director and coordinator.


Dr. Noramly hosted Dr. Christine Peterson and the Medical Biochemistry faculty for a test question-writing  workshop on July 29th.

IV. Practice Quizzes:


The number of questions has been approximately doubled.


Explanations of answers have been added and/or expanded.

V.  Online Quizzes:

 A. There are four quizzes schedule:  two during the week and two occurring on a Friday plus the weekend.

Dr. Normaly noted that the Teaching Resource Center review of one of her lectures to be very helpful.    All teaching faculty have been strongly encouraged to participate. The actual number of participating faculty is not known, as the TRC is a confidential service.

The practice quizzes are a work in progress – explanations have been added or expanded for the lectures to date and will be amended throughout the course this year as lectures are presented.

Dissatisfaction of the students with Biochemistry courses seems to be a nationwide problem.  First year students seem to have difficulty understanding the relevance of Medical Biochemistry. The current Mulholland report, suggests Biochemistry focus on more “relevant” (disease related) topics and remove extraneous material from the course.   In fact the Basic Sciences are basic building blocks. Some information presented may be relevant to one specialty but not to another.

It was noted that Biochemistry as tested on the NBME exams, is virtually all done in the form of case based clinical scenarios.  It was suggested that each Biochemistry lecture contain a short clinical vignette (1-2 minutes and 1-2 Powerpoint slides) to help convince the students that the material being taught is relevant. Dr. Hockensmith noted that it is often difficult for a Basic Scientist to discuss clinical problems with students as the lecturers often have no clinical experience themselves. He noted that over the years he has actively searched for a Clinical Co-director but had been unsuccessful in finding a faculty member willing to devote the amount of time necessary. 

Selena Noramly was asked to provide course “progress” notes to the Chair of the Curriculum Committee by e-mail, including input from her biweekly meetings with the Biochemistry Advisory Group. 

In summary, the Committee was most satisfied with the enormous efforts made by the department to improve the Human Biochemistry course as outlined above.  The positive “can do” attitude and willingness willingness to “correct on the fly” based on formative evaluations derived from both student and peer review is applauded.  If the Curriculum Committee can help please contact us immediately.

3.  Microbiology Course Director.  Dr. Tom Parsons nominated Julie Turner, Ph.D. for the position of Microbiology course director. The Curriculum Committee unanimously approved Dr. Turner as the new Course Director for the Microbiology Course.  Drs. Bloodgood and Gazewood, Co-chairs of the Principles of Medicine Committee and models for organization and planning, were asked to offer their expertise to her as she assumes her new role.  By virtue of her position as course director, Dr. Turner will be a member of the Principles of Medicine Committee.

4.  The next Curriculum Committee meeting will be Thursday, 9/1/05 , 4:00 in the Surgery Conference Room.  The agenda will be sent via e-mail.

Donald J. Innes