More than 170 delegates from more than 50 veterinary schools and institutions around the world recently gathered at the University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science for the VetEd Symposium 2014.

The symposium is supported by the Higher Education Academy – an independent organisation that champions excellent learning and teaching in higher education.

Now in its fifth year, the symposium is hosted in turn by the UK and Irish veterinary schools.

The symposium aims to share ideas, innovations, research and best practice in veterinary education, and attracts a wide range of delegates, including veterinary educationalists, clinicians, academics, veterinary students, practitioners and researchers from many countries.

This year’s two-day symposium began with a plenary session from Trudie Roberts, director of the Leeds Institute of Medical Education and president of the Association for Medical Education in Europe, who provided a thought-provoking keynote speech on “Teaching and assessing professionalism – the biggest challenge of all”.

On the second day, Susan Rhind from the University of Edinburgh delivered a keynote speech highlighting the benefits of improving assessment literacy among students as well as staff.

During the course of the conference, more than 100 interactive poster presentations and 25 workshops took place; many co-authored and facilitated by Bristol academics and students.

Topics ranged from student well-being and transition to practice, to new ways of teaching veterinary sciences and using the arts and humanities in veterinary education.

One session that attracted particular interest was held in Bristol’s new Clinical Skills Lab, where delegates – including representatives from charities providing training in developing countries – were able to make cheap yet effective low fidelity animal models.

By the end of this workshop, attendees were able to create a simple simulation of a dog, with dynamic breathing, in 25 minutes from scratch.

Sarah Baillie from the University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science said: “We are delighted Bristol was able to host this year’s symposium – the largest meeting to date.

“We enjoyed a great range of presentations and workshops, which showcased the depth and breadth of veterinary education and the level of interest worldwide.”

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