CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson University animal and veterinary science students can expand their cultural horizons while obtaining skills that will allow them to practice worldwide by completing their bachelor’s degrees at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Clemson and University of Glasgow officials signed a memorandum of understanding that allows Clemson students to complete their studies in Glasgow once they have successfully completed three years in the pre-veterinary program at Clemson. The program is part of the University of Glasgow department of veterinary medicine’s FEEPASS program.
Heather Dunn, senior lecturer in the Clemson animal and veterinary sciences department, said the program provides a “wonderful opportunity” for Clemson students.
“Clemson students can take their basic courses at Clemson and then spend their last year of undergraduate school at the University of Glasgow where they will get hands-on training needed for them to specialize,” Dunn said. “Participating in this type of study makes students more confident and competent so that when they graduate (from veterinary school), they are ready to start their own practices.”
The program began with the fall 2016 semester. Clemson is allowed to enroll 10 students per year in the program. Once they have completed their bachelor’s degree programs, they can apply for enrollment in the University of Glasgow’s veterinary school to receive a doctorate in veterinary medicine. Students who receive their doctorate qualify for inclusion in the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), as well as the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
Inclusion in the AVMA allows veterinarians to practice in the United States. With RCVS accreditation graduates can work in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa; there are no board exams for these countries. With AVMA accreditation and by passing in the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination, graduates can work in North America. The joint accreditation means that graduates can practice anywhere in the world.
Lindsay Rodenkirchen, a senior from Timmonsville, is the first Clemson student to participate in the veterinary school program. The ability to be able to practice anywhere in the world once she has finished the program is one reason Rodenkirchen said she enrolled in the program.
“I have always loved traveling abroad,” Rodenkirchen said. “I was already looking into other study-abroad opportunities and felt like this would be a perfect way to expand my horizons.
“Plus, graduating and being able to work across the world would be a dream come true for me. I had already been thinking about how I could combine my goal of becoming a vet and helping people around the world, such as working in the Vets Without Borders organization, so I didn’t give much thought about applying for the program.”
Rodenkirchen said she has benefitted from being exposed to new ways of caring for animals.
“The way they do things is so different from the United States,” she said. “I believe we would greatly benefit if we implemented just a few of the practices done here (in Scotland). Also, by attending an international university, I have the privilege of experiencing a wide range of languages and cultures every single day. It’s absolutely amazing and I love every second of it. I learn something new every day and have grown so much as a person since coming here in the fall. I look forward to continuing to grow in this international community and working toward my dream of becoming a worldwide vet.”
In addition to living in a different cultural environment, Rodenkirchen also has been exposed to a different style of teaching and learning.
“Here, they teach in modules where they focus on one concept or body system such as digestion and the digestive tract and then incorporate everything into it: the anatomy, physiology, immunology, pharmacology, legislation and so on,” she said
Each module includes a case study to help pull it all together. The case study for one module involved Bruno, a horse who had colic.
“This year, we have had six modules, some of which included reproduction, digestion and the urinary tract,” Rodenkirchen said. “The idea is that students will remember everything better when they can relate it all back to something else instead of just having one course the first year and then forgetting it all by the third year.”
Another major difference is there are no exams throughout the year. Just one exam, consisting of a written portion and a practical portion, is given at the end of the year.
“It’s quite daunting,” Rodenkirchen said. “It has been a process adjusting to this new way of learning, but I have enjoyed it so far.”
Joyce Wason, director of admissions and student services manager for the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Sciences, said she and her co-workers are excited about the collaboration with Clemson University.
“In Glasgow, we recognize the excellence of the teaching in the Clemson Animal Science program, so we are able to attract good quality students from Clemson to our veterinary degree program and we believe there is a strategic benefit in closer alignment with the university.”“The veterinary student body at Glasgow is an international group with students from the different nations of the United Kingdom mixing with students from North America, Southeast Asia and other parts of the world,” Wason said. “This diversity of backgrounds, ages and experiences produces a vibrant and exciting learning and social environment. This opportunity to mix with talented people from all corners of the globe expands horizons and the student experience is enhanced by their different origins and destinations.
Clemson will select more students for the program in 2018. For more information, contact Heather Dunn at email@example.com.
— Denise Attaway, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences; Public Service and Agriculture, Clemson University
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