A retrospective analysis of veterinary medical curriculum development in The Netherlands.J Vet Med Educ. 2009 Summer; 36(2):232-40.JV
Over the past two decades, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University (FVMU) has introduced major curriculum changes to keep pace with modern veterinary educational developments worldwide. Changes to program outcomes have been proposed according to professional and societal demands, with more attention paid to generic competencies and electives and species/sector differentiation. Furthermore, changes in educational approaches and the educational organization have been proposed, aiming at a transition from teacher-centered education toward more student-centered education. Curriculum development is a complex and difficult process, with many elements interacting. For a new curriculum to become valid, curriculum elements and their interrelation-such as statements of intent (also called outcomes, goals, or objectives), content, teaching and learning strategies, assessment strategies, and context-need to be addressed in the educational philosophy (i.e., the intended curriculum). This paper describes a document analysis of the major curriculum reforms of the FVMU. Curriculum committee reports were critically analyzed to gain insight into the intentions of the curriculum designers and the match between the curriculum elements, as described by Prideaux. The results show that the reports paid considerable attention to generic competency training, especially to academic training, and to the introduction of more student-centered teaching and learning strategies. However, little attention was paid to assessment strategies and the statements of intent were defined rather broadly. Curriculum evaluation (i.e., what is delivered to the students and how is the curriculum experienced) is needed at all curriculum levels. Possible mismatches between levels need to be identified.