The major responsibility of educators involved in undergraduate medical education is to provide a strong foundation and a solid framework upon which their students can build useful and satisfying careers. Since neither the foundation nor the framework will remain in place unless the capacity for lifelong learning is well developed in you, our students, we must also put you on a path of inquiry that will serve your individual needs long after you have taken the Hippocratic Oath in May of 2015.
I know that the three-phased plan of study that you are about to begin will provide the necessary foundation and framework, as well as many opportunities for you to strengthen your adult learning skills. The fundamentals of biomedical science (Year 1) serve as preparation for a year-long study of normal and abnormal organ function (Year 2), which in turn will prepare you for Years 3-4 and training in clinical medicine. Information on societal and health care issues and on physician-patient relationships are integrated into each year of the curriculum.
The faculty of the School of Medicine is determined to stay at the forefront of medical education at the same time that we improve patient care through biomedical research and humane service to those who need our help. This attitude has prompted us to critically analyze our teaching methods and to incorporate new techniques that have proven to be successful with adult learners in other fields of study. Our aim has been to retain many of the time-honored processes that have gained us a strong reputation in medical education, and to supplement these with innovative approaches that foster the development of problem-solving skills and lifelong learning. As a consequence, you will find that the curriculum utilizes lectures along with a variety of teaching modalities designed to help you develop a deeper understanding of the scientific basis of the practice of medicine and of your commitment to medicine as a profession. I commend the faculty for its commitment to excellence in curriculum content and process, and express my sincere gratitude to the administration and staff for their assistance in putting the faculty's well designed teaching plan into operation.
Lastly, I want to emphasize that our success as faculty depends heavily on your success as students. The quality of our teaching plan will be judged by how well it has prepared you for the practice of medicine in the 21st century. Accordingly, I call on you to focus your energy and talents on the task at hand, so that we can all be proud of the outcome of our efforts, having shared in one of the most rewarding of human endeavors - improving the health of people everywhere in this and future generations.
Philip O. Alderson, MD
Dean, School of Medicine