Slike strani
PDF
ePub

are receiving Morrill funds, but they are not given to veterinary education as such and could be diverted to other divisions of the land-grant institutions by simple administrative action.

Federal funds are not considered desirable by some because of the fear of Federal supervision and perhaps domination of veterinary education. Whether Federal supervision would be detrimental or

. not can not, of course, be determined beforehand, as it would depend entirely upon the character of the supervision. It could be made immensely helpful. It would not seem unwise, however, in view of the fact that the veterinary colleges are of seminational character, and the men graduating from them are rendering a State and national service of large significance.

State support.-A study of Table 10 showing the sources of funds for the various veterinary colleges and of the map showing the distribution of the veterinarians in the United States will show that there is considerable correlation between the veterinary population of the State and the financial support the veterinary college receives. This is to be expected, but there is a minimum below which no satisfactory veterinary college can be operated. Certain essentials as regards faculty and equipment must be provided, and these are necessarily quite independent of the number of students.

The idea that a recently graduated, inexperienced teacher can be put in charge of a major subject just because there are only a few students, seems to prevail in some institutions. The students suffer as a result and because of small enrollment the State does not feel justified in providing anything better. The several States now maintaining veterinary colleges should study their problem carefully and either maintain a high-grade veterinary college or abandon professional veterinary education and maintain a service department to agriculture as is done by some 37 States at the present time.

Much criticism was aimed at private veterinary colleges because of the unsatisfactory type of education offered by them. Undoubtedly most of the profession will agree now that this criticism was justified. If the same type of education is offered in the name of the State, its results will be no better than if offered by private institutions. It may be said with considerable justification that private veterinary colleges have been replaced by relatively poor State institutions whose product in many instances falls far short of desirable professional standards. Supervision of veterinary colleges is very much needed by some agency having authority and the courage to enforce reasonable standards with judgment and vision, and with sufficient firmness to insure progress commensurate with the needs.

The suggestion that the States that have no veterinary colleges provide scholarships or otherwise assist the States having such institutions, although reasonable, does not appear entirely practicable. Although this proposal would be much less expensive for those States which do not have a large veterinary population than starting veterinary colleges of their own, it is difficult to persuade State legislatures to support their own State institutions; it is improbable that they could be persuaded to make appropriations either directly or indirectly to other States.

Endowments.-Humane society work is being well supported chiefly by endowments and gifts. This work is very closely related to that of the veterinary profession. If the persons sponsoring such work to-day would lend support to veterinary education, the whole structure would be greatly strengthened.

The large sums being expended annually on the construction of more and larger medical centers as well as their support come quite largely from endowments. It is fortunate that many public-spirited citizens devote wealth to enterprises of this kind. It would enhance the value of these investments very materially if their conception of the field of medicine were enlarged to include all branches. Close relationships exist between all diseases affecting living things. Fundamentally, the afflictions of animals and man are the same.

Their relief and control vary only as to detail and not as to principle.

Staff .-- Any suggestion for adjustment of faculty organization is almost certain to lead to violent opposition. There are, however, a few general principles involved in faculty organization upon which all should agree.

The time is past when one man, no matter how competent, with a few assistants can be a “college.” Veterinary education naturally and logically divides itself into groups of subjects which should be organized into departments. Each department should have at its head a man who is not only an authority upon the major 'subject of his department but who is also an inspiring teacher and good executive. If he has research ability in addition, this is greatly to the advantage of the college.

The function of the dean is not to direct in detail the work of the departments, but rather to coordinate the efforts of the several departments, and to keep his faculty working together. He must have the courage to remove dead timber” and to keep his organization a live, progressive, and productive group of men. Heads of departments must have all the liberty possible in the conduct of their work consistent with the general program of the college. They should be encouraged to “produce” and become known as authorities in their fields within and outside the profession.

Every veterinary college should have not fewer than five and preferably six distinct departments. Research may be an additional department by itself or organized within the teaching departments. Each department head should have at least one assistant and as many more as enrollment and other conditions require.

It is difficult to see how any college can do creditable work in veterinary medicine with a staff of fewer than 10 to 12 veterinarians in addition to men in other departments teaching the usual service courses in science, agriculture, etc. If a staff member is expected to follow the literature in his subjects, organize his material, and present it to his classes and still have from 27 to 37 actual hours of student contact each week, he must either neglect his students or his preparation. In either case the veterinary profession will suffer in the end.

The present veterinary colleges are all a part of universities or State colleges and the veterinary faculty should be equal in general educational attainments to the faculties of the other professional colleges of the same institutions. This can not be accomplished immediately in all institutions but should nevertheless be the goal. Young men who are added to the faculties should be required to complete courses of graduate study in the subjects in which they desire to develop

The undergraduate and graduate work should be taken at separate institutions, and if a number of the members of the staff have taken both at institutions other than the one they are serving, it will be stimulating to the entire institutional program.

Buildings and equipment.-If it is admitted that the staff is of first importance, the material resources are nevertheless very important so long as we depend so largely upon laboratory exercises and clinical facilities for instructional purposes. A number of the veterinary colleges need additional buildings and one (Michigan) has begun a well-outlined building program since this survey was started. This program involves the expenditure of $375,000 for buildings in addition to those already available. In order to start a veterinary college at the present time, not less than $500,000 should be made available for material resources in addition to institutional provision for supporting subjects such as chemistry, biology, etc., usually taught in departments outside of the veterinary college.

Entrance requirements.-Entrance requirements have a close relationship to the course of study and quality of teaching. The accepted length of course in practically all branches of education is four years. Just why it should be four years is not clear, but, nevertheless, this has become so well established that the prospective student has no other thought in mind when embarking on his educational career, In veterinary medicine four years is not sufficient

time to enable a college to cover the technical courses necessary in a veterinary curriculum and at the same time include the most essential basic sciences and other fundamental subjects. Some important subjects have been literally squeezed out and others have never been included because of efforts to hold the curriculum to four years of nine months each. It is desirable that more than 36 months be given to veterinary medicine, or that students upon entrance have credit in fundamental arts and science subjects which are now included in the veterinary curriculum. It seems reasonable that veterinary colleges should require for admission at least one year of college work which should include the courses in the arts and sciences now required in many of the veterinary curricula. This would not only provide better-prepared students but would, in addition, clear the veterinary curriculum of some of the present congestion and make it possible to include more work in preventive medicine and a number of other subjects deserving more attention than they have received in the past.

The extension of the entrance requirements to two years of college work would undoubtedly follow the success of the 1-year requirement. There is a certain amount of general education necessary aside from the technical subjects in the development of any professional man. If the regular curriculum is full of essential technical subjects other qualities must be sacrificed in the veterinary graduates produced.

Enrollment.-Without doubt one factor that is preventing the adoption of the requirement of one year of college work for entrance is the fact that it is thought that student enrollment will suffer. Most veterinary colleges are sensitive on this point because of the great decrease in numbers of veterinary students in all the colleges for the 10-year period following the World War.

Increasing standards nearly always lead to a temporary decrease followed by an increase above the previous number. In human medicine since the entrance requirements were increased, there have been more applicants than medical colleges could admit and teach satisfactorily.

In the case of veterinary colleges the enrollment should be limited to the number that can be efficiently taught with the staff and material resources available. Perhaps the one limiting factor which would operate in most institutions (if it is not ignored) is the clinical facilities and material. In the case of medical schools clinical material can be brought together from considerable distances even in small cities, but the transportation of clinical cases for veterinary colleges is quite a different problem. Most of the cases for veterinary clinics undoubtedly come from a radius of 10 miles, certainly comparatively few from a distance of more than 25 miles. If a veterinary college has from 80 to 100 students in clinics each day considerable material and a large staff of instructors must be available if the student is to become proficient in this important phase of his education. There is only one substitute in case enrollment exceeds the number that can be efficiently taken care of in the clinics, that is a period of “ interneship" with an experienced veterinarian before the degree is awarded. With the best clinical facilities now available in any of our veterinary colleges, an enrollment of 250 would seem to be the maximum that can be cared for efficiently. Laboratories other than clinics can be enlarged, additional instructors provided, and material prepared to accommodate any reasonable number of students.

Teaching load.It is impossible to prescribe the number of student clock-hours which will be most efficient in all cases. This varies with individuals and with subjects. It does not require much thought, however, to reach the conclusion that five members of a staff with a total teaching load of from 2,797 to 3,646 actual hours must provide some very poor instruction. When an instructor reports that he is carrying from 10 to 13 classroom appointments and 15 to 24 laboratory hours per week in three or four different subjects, it is clear that the instruction given to students can not be of high character. Fortunately the majority of the 11 veterinary colleges do not depend on four or five members of the staff to carry the instructional burden. Several provide their staffs with opportunity for at least some research in their chosen fields and for other contacts necessary to enthusiastic inspirational teaching. There is probably no way of correcting the conditions in the others except by a definite rating plan which would place such institutions in a C or D class.

Curriculum.-It is most difficult for faculties of various institutions, as well as members of the same faculty to agree upon a reasonably standard curriculum. The points of controversy concern the subjects to be included and the amount of time to be devoted to each subject. The graphs showing the courses of study in the different institutions indicate the time in actual hours devoted to the various subjects as reported by the several veterinary colleges. The course of study, especially the exact number of hours devoted to various subjects, is not so important as casual consideration might suggest. It is at best an arrangement for faculty student contact for the consideration of specified subjects. The character of the instruction is much more important. Most veterinary curricula are criticized because of the total number of hours required. In the opinion of some authorities on medical curricula the total hours in most of

« PrejšnjaNaprej »