Examining Student Perceptions of Professional Competency Teaching in Veterinary Education

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this dissertation is first to provide an overview of professional competency development and teaching in veterinary education, and then to address the dearth of research in this area by examining students' motivational perceptions of their courses, how these perceptions compare and contrast across courses, and how their perceptions relate to their effort levels and course ratings. Professional competencies encompass cognitive, social, and personal resource skills such as interpersonal communication skills, collaboration, management, promotion of public health, lifelong learning, ethics, diversity competence, and adaptability to changing environments. The inclusion of professional competencies as a requisite portion of the veterinary curriculum has evolved substantially over the past 20 years. In this dissertation, two manuscripts are presented. The first (Chapter 2) is a literature review exploring the past 20 years of professional competency teaching and its development within, and inclusion into, the veterinary curriculum. The first manuscript concludes by describing recommendations from the literature for effective methods of inclusion of professional competencies into the veterinary curriculum. The second manuscript (Chapter 3) details a study conducted in a veterinary college with the aim of determining the extent to which students' motivational perceptions of their courses affect their effort and course ratings in veterinary courses. A second purpose of this study was to identify teaching strategies that can be used to improve the quality of teaching in professional competency courses. Results indicated that perceptions of empowerment, usefulness, and interest have the strongest relationship with effort and course ratings. Based on student responses to open-ended items, suggestions were made that instructors can use to improve student perceptions in their courses as a means to potentially increase student effort levels and overall course ratings. Together, these manuscripts contribute to current motivational theories and offer instructional design ideas to curriculum designers and educators who wish to improve students' motivation and engagement in professional competency development.



Professional Competency, Veterinary Education, Communication Skills, Business Skills, Ethics and Animal Welfare, Curricular Design, Curricular Integration