The Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has four Departments to include the Department of Biomedical Sciences (DBS), Department of Pathobiology, (DP) Department of Large and Small Animal Medicine (DLSAM) and the Department of Public Health (DPH).
The College in its current format was established in a farsighted Strategic Plan of Tuskegee University in 1996. This strategic move has enabled the college to advance the One Medicine - One Health concept that interlinks animal health with human health. At a time when over 75% of global epidemic diseases originate in animals and are transmitted to humans causing global terror, such a farsighted need by TU allowed it to create this unique college, the only one of its kind in the USA to advance such a critical concept of the integrativeness and oneness of health and diseases. Therefore, the threats and impending pandemics such with avian influenza and even diseases such as HIV/AIDS and many others that are considering bioterror agents can be prevented only if these are prevented at the source with a deeper understanding of animal health.
- The CVM is one of 28 School/Colleges of Veterinary Medicine in the USA and is one of the originating members of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). But it is the only one in USA that is fully integrated serving African-Americans, Caucasian students, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and even international students. The CVM is fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Council on Education (COE).
- The CVM was established in 1945 for the training of African Americans (AA) at a time when AA did not have other opportunities to study veterinary medicine due to segregation and other racial impediments. In 1945, the USA had only ten School of Veterinary Medicine. It is estimated that fewer than five AA veterinarians were located in the Southern States at that time. It graduated its first class of fully qualified veterinarians in 1949. Now the nation has 28 schools of veterinary medicine and only one (CVM) caters to serving AA as well as others in a fully integrated manner.
- The CVM is the most balanced racially, ethnically and culturally among all colleges of veterinary medicine. It is a unique place where true diversity shines in a college of veterinary medicine in the nation. The CVM has educated over 70% of the nation’s AA veterinarians. It is estimated that 10% of all Hispanic veterinarians and more than 59% of all AA veterinarians who graduated during the last 5 - 7 years were educated at CVM.
- The faculty is dedicated, sensitive and of high caliber in their chosen fields of veterinary medicine with most having the DVM and the terminal degree (PhD) and/or are Board certified in their disciplines. Just like the students, the faculty is diverse with national and international renown. At least 75% of the basic sciences faculty holds both the DVM and PhD and nearly 60% are tenured.
Strategic Mission, Goals and Objectives
The strategic mission and vision of the CVM is to promote the tripartite mission of teaching, research and service in an academic environment of high achievement that encourages excellence in self-directed learning, intellectual curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving all enshrined with ethics at the core. The College, a flagship program at an HBCU, and the only College of Veterinary Medicine at an HBCU is committed to provide opportunities for African Americans (AA) and other minorities, often unavailable to them at other institutions.
The College promotes qualitative and life-long learning for the global interdisciplinary practice of the health professions within the framework of the “One Medicine-One Health” concept. The College is strategically positioned to exploit the link between animal health and human health to advance academic excellence coupled with passion and compassion; to all who value and promote diversity to serve the global community of the 21st century.
Our central goal is to train/prepare culturally sensitive and competent students to become successful health professionals in their chosen field in the CVM. Therefore, student learning coupled with outcomes assessment and continual improvements are intertwined dynamic activities. Essentially then, students who complete the rigorous professional studies in the CVM must be culturally aware, culturally competent healthcare professionals who have qualified by passing the respective national health professions examinations and must ultimately become successful, high caliber health care scientists and professionals in their respective selected fields.
The College of Veterinary Medicine, the only one located on an HBCU campus, and the only one of its kind among 28 Schools/Colleges of Veterinary Medicine in the USA, is committed to provide opportunities for African Americans (AA) and other minorities, often unavailable to them at other institutions. The College offers health professions degree programs in veterinary medicine (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine - DVM degree).
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education (COE) accredits the veterinary medicine degree program. The Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine is fully accredited.
Opportunities for Careers in Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Medicine : Unlimited horizons await graduates in veterinary medicine . Although a majority of veterinarians are engaged in some form of clinical practice, there are great opportunities in the veterinary medical field. These areas include government (national, federal, state, county, municipal and foreign), providing services of a regulatory, inspection type, and homeland defense type, teaching, research, public health activities, armed forces, laboratory animal medicine, comparative animal medicine, aerospace medicine, diagnostic imaging, and protection of the environment. Increasingly, commercial firms are making use of veterinary medical skills in the testing and production of biological and pharmaceutical products.
The profession of veterinary medicine maintains a positive public image. The CVM students have been ambassadors of the Tuskegee University legacy and service to humanity for over half a century. Veterinarians are expected to be individuals of integrity, exemplary moral character, strong motivation, leadership ability, and sincere dedication to the service of society. One of the objectives of the CVM is to provide an environment that is conducive to the development of the proper attitudes and attributes in students who are to become members of the veterinary profession. Each veterinarian and veterinary student inherits this legacy and has an obligation to preserve and enhance it. All obligations and responsibilities require some effort and sacrifice. A professional image requires active individual and collective pursuit and may necessitate modification of pre-professional life-styles. Image alone, while not assuring the desired excellence in professional service provides a means of influencing the public’s perception of the profession and guides first impressions. To ignore the importance of image is to squander the legacy.
Moreover, the behavior and appearance of faculty, students, and staff is continually on display for clients, visitors, and alumni. Appropriate dress and appearance require consideration of professionalism, safety, and practicality. Neatness reflects motivation, self-respect, confidence, and orderliness. Two related virtues are skill and precision, both desirable attributes of the successful veterinarian.
Professional Student Responsibilities
- Students are expected to respect one another and to be sensitive in their interpersonal interactions to the individual differences in race, religion, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, and any disability that may exist within the CVM community.
- The student is not permitted to bring children or other guests to class unless permission for such visitation has been granted by the Office of the Dean and approved by the instructor of the class. Children and/or unauthorized guests are also prohibited from entering college pedagogic and/or didactic settings that directly or indirectly support instruction for the DVM degree, such as research laboratories, necropsy laboratories, and other auxiliary modules.
- No pets are allowed on the campus unless they play a functional role in a course, an approved college-sponsored activity, or are current patients of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Pets under medical care should be confined to the appropriate kennel and treatment areas of the Hospital and should not be brought to classrooms and/or laboratories.
- No eating, drinking, smoking or tobacco chewing is permitted in classrooms/labs.
- Students are expected to treat all instructors with respect and courtesy and to attend designated classroom activities.
- Students are expected to respect their classmates as well as the staff and faculty of the college. Loud, frequent, and/or prolonged discussions among students during class lectures are disruptive. Talking in class interferes with the ability of others to learn. Thus, students are expected to be quiet and attentive during classroom instruction. Violation of classroom disruption policies may be taken into consideration for course grades.
- Students are expected to remain in class for the entire period except when unusual extenuating circumstances require them to leave early. In these cases, professional courtesy dictates that advance notice is given to the instructor.
- The student is responsible for purchasing textbooks and other required course material during the first week of class.
- The student is responsible for all material covered and assigned in each course for which he/she is registered. Absence from class does not relieve the student of this responsibility.
- The student is expected to demonstrate acceptable standards of professional behavior, including appropriate dress and conduct in the classroom, laboratory and clinics.
Academic Requirements and Procedures
The CVM is committed to providing each student with a rewarding educational experience through effective and efficient utilization of the classroom time periods assigned to a given course. The following are basic instructional expectations of each veterinary faculty member.
- To be well prepared for each classroom/ laboratory session and to utilize the assigned class periods in an effective and efficient manner.
- To communicate high academic and professional expectations to students.
- To relate to each student, regardless of gender, race, religion, national origin, etc.
- To treat each student fairly and with respect, regardless of the situation.
- To foster integrity and academic/ professional honesty among students.
- To provide quality instruction for assigned departmental and inter-departmental core and elective courses.
- To provide academic counseling for students on a regular basis.
- To provide the student with a course syllabus that includes a list of the competencies and skills to be learned by students, lecture schedule, information on examinations, and other class requirements that will provide a basis for evaluating the student’s performance.
- To employ such procedures as are necessary to ensure that the academic performance of students is evaluated fairly and impartially.
- To schedule and maintain a reasonable number of office hours (at least 6 hours each week) for student conferences (academic advisement, etc.). Office hours should be scheduled at times convenient to both students and the faculty member. The specific time of a faculty member’s office hours should be announced to the class, included in “Course Expectations,” and posted on his/her office door.
The Professional Students Dress Code
The purpose of a professional student dress code is to increase student achievement, promote safety, and enhance a positive college climate. An individual’s dress, personal appearance and cleanliness, as well as behavior, should reflect sensitivity to and a respect for others, in line with the profession’s oath. Students understand that they have chosen a “health care provider profession” and as such, providers are bound to the public they serve through human-animal interactions that demands the utmost care and sensitivity and involves professionalism and projection of personal images that do not degrade the veterinary profession and/or the institution responsible for the professional training program.
Standards Governing Academic Performance
The College’s Academic Advisory Committee monitors a student’s academic progress throughout the professional program and makes appropriate recommendations to the Dean. The following guidelines are applicable to veterinary students.
- Required Professional Courses: All courses outlined in the veterinary curriculum are classified as “required and/or essential” curricular offerings. Failure of a student to earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 in required courses will result in one of the following actions: (1) college warning, (2) academic probation (university), (3) academic suspension, or (4) academic dismissal.
- Elective Courses: Four (4) credit hours of elective courses are needed to satisfy the requirements for graduation.
Academic Rules and Regulations
- Academic Warning/Probation: Students are placed on academic probation by the College of Veterinary Medicine if they earn a “D” grade in any required professional course and maintain the 2.00 minimum cumulative grade point average. The student will be notified of his/her status in writing, and conditions relative to reinforcement activities may be stipulated for the succeeding semester. Performance at a “C” grade level or better in all courses taken during a given semester is required for removal of a probationary status.
- Academic Suspension: A status in which a student is prevented from enrolling in the College of Veterinary Medicine for a prescribed period of time because of the failure to meet minimal academic requirements. There is no guarantee of re-admission into the veterinary program.
- Academic Dismissal: is a status in which a student is academically dismissed because of a failure to meet minimal academic requirements. A student suspended from the veterinary program for the second time is considered to be dismissed and is not eligible for readmission.
Minimum Academic Requirements:
- All veterinary students must maintain a semester and cumulative grade point average of 2.00. Students who fail to meet this requirement will be suspended from the professional veterinary program.
- Any student earning an “F” grade in any course in the veterinary program will be suspended from the College of Veterinary Medicine.
- Although “D” grades are passing; they are considered unsatisfactory academic performance. A student earning “D” grades in sequential courses of the curriculum can be suspended from the College of Veterinary Medicine, i.e., Gross Anatomy 301 and 302, Microscopic Anatomy 309 and 310, Physiology 340 and 441, Pharmacology 442 and 543, and Pathology 426 and 427. Students suspended for “D” grades above and granted readmission must re-take the courses and earn a minimum of a “C” grade within the first two semesters of their readmission before they are allowed to continue in the professional program.
- A student earning a “D” grade, regardless of semester or cumulative GPA, will be placed on academic probationary status. Probationary status will be removed when the student has earned a minimum grade of “C” in each course during the subsequent semester.
- A student earning more than 5 hours of “D” grades or receiving two (2) or more “D” grades in a semester regardless of the semester or cumulative GPA, will be suspended from the College of Veterinary Medicine.
- A first-year student that receives academic suspension after the first or second semester will not be eligible for readmission until a minimum of one year after their original admission date, and if a seat is available in the class. Student must petition the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs who chairs the Academic and Professionalism Advisory Committee (APAC) for consideration for readmission with a letter and documentation of academic enhancement courses that will strengthen their academic performance.
- A student suspended from the veterinary program for a second time is not eligible for readmission.
Academic Requirements and Procedures
A student’s academic progress is monitored and evaluated during and at the end of every semester. Students experiencing academic difficulties will be counseled. Tutorial sessions or other reinforcement activities may be recommended or required. Satisfactory completion of any number of credit hours or years of study does not guarantee graduation from the College of Veterinary Medicine. The faculty reserves the right to recommend dismissal of any student whose conduct is in contravention to the ethical and professional standards attending the profession of veterinary medicine.
Student Retention and Outcomes Assessments
It is the goal of the College to achieve and maintain a 95% retention of our students and 95% achievement on the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE). The outcomes assessment tools utilized include: written examinations, reports from internal and external committees, personal communications, observations and recommendations by faculty, staff and students as well as input from alumni and employers.
Students who make an unsatisfactory grade (less than 70%) in any course are reported to the Academic and Professional Advisory Committee and the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. The Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs in consultation with the Assistant Director for Student Success provides academic counseling. This is a requirement for each student to make sure that they are provided with some form of academic enhancement to assure success through the veterinary program. In addition, there are peer tutorials organized through the Office of Academic and Student Affairs as well as individual student-faculty tutorial sessions.
In order to ensure that each student is fulfilling the clinical competency requirements, measurable learning objectives for each AVMA Clinical competency for each clinical rotation were developed and implemented. A database for Clinical Competency has been developed to facilitate the documentation and analysis of clinical competency activities.
The Veterinary Curriculum
The Veterinary Curriculum is a standard four-year academic program designed with two major divisions. These are the Preclinical Years followed by two years of Clinical Education. However, the fundamental concept that underlies the curriculum emphasizes integrative learning/teaching coupled with application to interrelate basic biomedical knowledge in problem solving and decision making of clinical and other veterinary professional responsibilities. This approach emphasizes connections between disciplines such that basic knowledge of structure (Gross Anatomy, Microscopic Anatomy) is interrelated to function (Physiology). These are covered in Year 1 of the curriculum. In Year 2, the abnormal or disease processes are described. Therefore, diseases or abnormalities that leads to dysfunction or disease states are studied on the macro level (Gross Pathology) or at the microscopic level (Microscopic Pathology) or in relation to dysfunctional systems manifestation (Clinical Pathology). These are then conjoined with etiological agents (microbiology, parasitology, toxicology, pharmacology etc.) as these cause diseases and malfunctions in body systems. Problem based learning and reviews are provided to fortify the need for integrating basic knowledge with applications to eventually diagnose and manage clinical cases. The use of problem based learning (PBL) or case based learning/teaching is interspersed in the curriculum. At the end of Year 2, students are given a comprehensive Qualifying Examination (QE). The primary objective of the QE is to provide a comprehensive objective examination in basic veterinary medical sciences. The examination is a selfassessment tool to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses in student performance in content areas of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology and pathology. Tutorial and counseling sessions are available to ensure that each student succeeds in the rigorous veterinary curriculum.
In the Clinical Years, (Years 3 and 4), students are provided case-based learning while exposed to clinical medicine and surgery in both large (food animals, equine) and small/companion animals as well as other specialty areas. Students are expected to master clinical competencies in selected areas that have been identified as being key in the advances of veterinary medicine at CVM. Clinical competencies and outcomes assessment such as performance on NAVLE examination and other outcome measures are assessed to interject continuous improvement in the teaching/learning process. Both field services for both large and small animals in the form of ambulatory clinical services are provided with emphasis on the rural, underserved communities of the Black Belt Counties of Alabama. Veterinary service to the community is taken very seriously and allows for the building of strong connections with rural families who otherwise are under-served and un-served.
The grading system in the SVMED may vary from course to course. Therefore, during the first week of each term, the instructor will provide students with the method of grading and course expectations in the course handout/syllabus. A letter grade of A, B, or C, and a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 or above on a 4.00 system is considered satisfactory; a letter grade of D and GPA of 2.00 or below is unsatisfactory.
All courses outlined in the professional curriculum for veterinary medicine are classified as “required and essential curricular offerings.” Failure of a student to earn a grade of “C” in each required professional course will result in one of the following actions: (1) academic probation (College or University), (2) academic suspension, or (3) academic dismissal.
|A (90-100%) Excellent
B (80-89.9%) Good
C (70-79.9%) Satisfactory
D (60-69.9%) Unsatisfactory but passing
F (below 60%) Failure
Y Unofficial drop/ withdrawal
WP Withdrawal while passing
WF withdrawal while failing