Re-accreditation for the health science center has a new focus, and it’s the idea of dentistry professors Dr. Beverly York and Dr. Bob Hutchins. To follow is an excerpt from an interview with Dr. York about what inspired her and Dr. Bob Hutchins to submit a QEP topic for re-accreditation of the health science center.

Dr. Beverly YorkWhy did you want to propose a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) topic?

My vision for our students is that they would develop a personal philosophy of practice that they might continue to refine over their professional lifetimes.  When Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) invited faculty to submit a proposal for enhancing our already content rich curriculum, it encouraged me to share my vision.  In order to achieve this goal, it needed to be distilled into a systematic methodology for teaching.

What inspired you to develop this particular topic?

The best way to intentionally teach students how to develop their own philosophy seemed to me to be to teach them how we, as experts in our respective fields, use the knowledge that we have acquired (and continually are acquiring over our lifetime of practice) to apply it to problems we encounter in our daily practice.  The topic of critical thinking then, is as relevant a topic for training a novice how to apply their knowledge as it is to an experienced professional.

How will this topic help enhance student learning? How do you think improving critical thinking and scientific reasoning skills will apply to all academic units and TAMHSC as a whole?

These basic skill sets will translate to all fields of study thereby helping all TAMHSC students to develop habits they will need to maintain currency throughout their lifetimes.

What are your expected outcomes? How will you evaluate the success of the project?

In Phase II we have proposed an instrument that we use here at BCD.  However, with the help of our Planning Committee, we plan to investigate whether an adaptation of this tool might be suited to assess Critical Thinking and Problem Solving at the various components or if we might need to consider a different competency assessment.  Helping students evaluate the sometimes ill-defined and often evolving problems encountered in health care that ultimately enable health care professionals to reach solutions efficiently and confidently will likely involve a series of progressive assessments or reviews.

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