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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

New Leadership Course Takes A Unique Approach

July 24th, 2018

The OSU College of Veterinary Medicine provides rigorous training in academic and technical skills. They also offer Practice Management and Communications electives, but in his position as college Counselor and Wellness Coordinator, Alex Rowell realized that some students also need training in leadership and interpersonal skills.

Rowell conceived a new course, called Veterinary Leadership: Examining Inclusion, Self-Reflection and Personal Development, to provide students with opportunities to develop self-care techniques, enhance their understanding of a diverse range of people, and enable them to better lead others.

Some colleges offer leadership electives but this concept is unique “I haven’t heard of any other colleges that approach leadership through self-care and diversity awareness,” he says.

The course will be offered Winter term as a one-credit, pass/no pass elective for second and third-year students. “There won’t be exams and a lot of lectures. Students will be asked to participate in discussions and self-reflection,” says Rowell. “They will be asked to do things they probably have never done before.”

Some examples of this unique approach to veterinary learning are: an assignment to create a self-care plan; an exercise in gratitude; and a small-group discussion of what makes an effective team leader.

“Whether students know it or not, they will be leaders, so it is important that we teach them the skills to make a team cohesive and function well,” says Rowell. “Important not just for job satisfaction, but for patient care.”

According to the Institute for Family Studies, the number of pets in the United States has risen dramatically in the past ten years, and people are spending a greater portion of their personal income on animals.  A 2017 survey by the National Association of Realtors found that 33 percent of first-time home buyers say that finding a better space for their dog influenced their decision to buy, while only 25 percent cited the birth of a child.

“The human-animal bond is significantly changing so the profession is changing,” says Rowell. “This course helps prepare them for the future.”

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