Educational Session: Admissions

Sunday, March 15, 2015

8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Multicultural Scholars Program: Diversity of Food Animal Veterinary Workforce Through Portfolio Building
Laura Molgaard, University of Minnesota
Mark Rutherford, University of Minnesota 
Karl Lorenz, University of Minnesota

The goal of our NIFA/USDA program is to increase cultural diversity in the veterinary workforce. Our Multicultural Scholars Program began Fall 2014 and is a new University of Minnesota partnership between the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Food Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences. The grant will provide tuition support for two incoming DVM students who seek careers related to food animal practice or service. Importantly, the grant will also support four undergraduate pre-vet animal sciences majors by providing tuition support, mentoring, and summer work experiences that will enhance their portfolio preparation for veterinary school. Many urban youth and in particular students from economically modest backgrounds have limited opportunities to gain experience to be a competitive applicant even while our clientele present an increasingly diverse complement of practices and norms. To build the students’ DVM application portfolio, these multicultural scholars will work side-by-side with current DVM students, veterinarians, food animal specialists, and peers. Exemplary experiential opportunities have been established and students will be provided with paid opportunities during summers before DVM application. These sites include the Dairy Education Center, University of Minnesota Equine Center, Southern Research and Outreach Center, West Central Research and Outreach Center, Veterinary Summer Scholars, and various UMN student outreach programs. A sense of community and a supportive environment are key factors in the academic success of all students and are especially important for multicultural learners. To this end, we have created a mentoring program for students of color within the undergraduate and veterinary school populations, led by faculty from under-represented populations. Academic and social mentoring opportunities are also in place and will be promoted to participants.

Recruitment and Selection of Professional Veterinary Medical Applicants and the Use of Interviewing and Social Media
Lori Kogan, Colorado State University

The selection of potential veterinary students who will be successful in their academic programs as well as in the field of veterinary medicine remains of critical importance. This session is designed to share data regarding US veterinary schools’ use of interviewing and online resources (e.g., search engines and social media websites), as well as predicted usage in the future. This data will be presented in an interactive session and focus on the potential value and cost of these broad topic areas. The data come from a survey sent to Associate Deans of US veterinary schools asking them to report on their current interviewing process as well as their use of internet resources. The survey was answered by 21 veterinary schools. Most schools (70%) reported interviewing applicants, with primary reasons given for interviewing including the ability to gain additional knowledge of the applicant and help foster recruitment. The growing popularity of the Multiple Mini-Interviews (MMIs), including their pros and cons, will be discussed. Although nearly all Associate Deans reported feeling at least somewhat comfortable researching people online, whether through social networking sites (78%) or internet search engines (95%); most reported not using these tools to research applicants. When asked about future plans, most reported no intention to include online searches of applicants in their selection process, even though 61% reported they do not feel it is a violation of applicants’ privacy. Although most schools and individuals are not researching applicants online, 83% of Associate Deans reported feeling that veterinary professionalism involves maintaining a professional online presentation and 33% indicated they felt that unprofessional information on a website profile would or should compromise an applicant’s admission into their program. The potential ramifications of using these resources, as well as their possible benefits will be open for discussion.

Veterinary Applicants: Perceptions of Online and Community College Undergraduate Coursework
Lori Kogan, Colorado State University

Online learning has grown dramatically over the last couple decades; in the US, enrollments in online courses have far outpaced those in classroom courses. As of 2013, 77% of academic leaders rated the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face in 2013, yet many feel that online courses are not equivalent to traditional face-to-face instruction. Given the growing number of veterinary school applicants who have completed at least some of their undergraduate work online, it was felt important to assess the perceptions of veterinary school admissions committees related to the perceived value of online courses compared to courses offered at community colleges or traditional residential schools. To address this question, an online survey was administered in May 2014 to AAVMC accredited veterinary school admissions administrators. The survey containing three hypothetical scenarios and respondents were asked to indicate their preference of applicants based on their undergraduate degrees earned either partly online, partly at a community college, or completed within a traditional residential program. Participants were told that each applicant has the same quality and quantity of veterinary related volunteer experience, excellent academics, good recommendations, and favorable personal qualities. Each applicant has earned a degree from an accredited institution in the appropriate field and has completed all prerequisite academic courses. For each of the hypothetical situations, participants were asked to select which one of the two applicants they would most likely recommend for admission. When compared to online instruction, results indicated a clear preference for residential instruction followed by community colleges. Despite numerous studies that have demonstrated that on-line learning can be just as effective as classroom learning, it appears there remains a bias toward face-to-face delivery among veterinary school admissions committees. Facilitated discussion will focus on the implications of these results and possible future directions.

The Use of the Multiple Mini Interview Format within North American Veterinary Programs
Jacque Pelzer, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
Kent Hecker, University of Calgary
Kenita Rogers, Texas A&M University
Peter Conlon, University of Guelph

Interviews are frequently used during admissions processes within veterinary professional programs to provide additional information regarding a candidate. With increased focus by the AVMA, COE and NAVMEC on professional competencies such as communication, team work, self-awareness, ethical reasoning, problem solving abilities and critical thinking skills, veterinary programs are reconsidering criteria for admission beyond academic performance. Some medical schools in North America assess professional competencies at the time of admission using the multiple mini interview (MMI) format. The MMI consists of a series of structured, timed scenarios, which can be used to assess a range of professional competencies as determined by individual programs. This two hour workshop will provide the attendee with a broad overview of the use of the multiple mini interview format in selection of students. The workshop will be a collaborative, team-based approach to teaching, with representatives from four Colleges of Veterinary Medicine who have over six years of experience with this interview tool. The workshop will cover the following aspects of the multiple mini interview: logistics and implementation, selection and training of raters, identifying attributes to be assessed and scenario development (blueprinting), data analysis and decision making and assessing the efficacy of choosing qualified applicants. Overall, the team will employ a presentation and discussion format. However, active, small group learning will be used during the scenario development portion of the session, which will include a blueprinting exercise. Differences in CVM philosophies will be discussed, allowing the participants to appreciate how the tool can be tailored to individual programs. Participants will leave the session with a fundamental understanding of the multiple mini interview format and how the tool might enhance admissions practices in some programs.