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Teaching Philosophy Statement: Vicki Adams

Western College of Veterinary Medicine, U of S - 2001

My initial approach to teaching was guided by Dr. Carl Ribble and Dr. John Campbell who were, and continue to be, role models as teachers and research supervisors. Much of my approach to teaching has developed as a result of what I learned from observing them teach in both formal classroom and informal settings. During my M.Sc. program Carl Ribble inspired me by example. He is always very professional and respectful of both colleagues and students. Since 1999, when I started teaching with John Campbell, I have observed how well he relates to the students; he has given me confidence in my ability to do the same.

Over the past five years I have refined my teaching methods to take advantage of what I have learned about teaching. When I started lecturing and giving seminars, I mainly used overheads. Now I give most of my presentations using a computer and data projector. Using Microsoft Powerpoint to create slideshows has allowed me to update my presentations each time I give them so the material stays current. It also allows me to use the internet and show students good sites to go to for information (such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada, and the CDC). Appendix A has a sample of one of my Powerpoint slideshows (Tab 5).

One of my strengths as a teacher is the enthusiasm I show for the subject I am teaching.Being well prepared for class and knowledgeable about my chosen subject have helped me to be self-assured when teaching. Since I am not a faculty member in WCVM, I have not had any formal student evaluations of my teaching.I have solicited informal feedback from students in several courses that I have taught (see Tab 5 for Appendix A: Herd Medicine and Tab 8 for Appendix D: First Job Module). Students consistently comment on how enthusiastic and knowledgeable I am in their evaluations. I have also solicited comments from colleagues (see Tab 7 for Appendix C: Regulatory Aspects of Rabies and Tab 8 for Appendix D: First Job Module).

Another strength is the practical experience that I bring to class. Using examples from my clinical experiences makes the concepts that I teach more readily understandable and relevant to the veterinary students. This helps to satisfy my goal of being realistic and practical when I teach. Some of the veterinary students consider epidemiology a boring subject, especially when they come into a class thinking that epidemiology is only about statistics. I like the challenge of getting them to see how useful epidemiological tools can be for them in clinical practice. What pleases me about my discipline is the everyday usefulness of epidemiologic principles and how they apply to real world situations. I enjoy being able to motivate students by using lots of examples in lectures. Drawing on my experiences, and the experiences that others have shared with me, allows me to tell illustrative stories to help explain the concepts that I teach. For example, I tell the students about some of my research results from my study of antibiotic compliance in dog owners: using pill counts and client questionnaires gives crude medication compliance rates that are very good (> 90%) but electronic monitoring reveals that many owners have much poorer compliance (often ~ 50%) when I look at the optimum intervals for dose timing. By sharing the results of my research and talking about how practitioners could use this information to help their clients improve the pattern of daily dosing, I can generate enthusiasm in the students.

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