The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has become the first veterinary school to receive an award for excellence in faculty development from leaders in health care education.

Students in the Camden dissection lab. Image: RVC.

The ASPIRE to Excellence Awards are open to medical, dental and veterinary schools internationally and initiated by the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) – the world’s largest medical educator association.

The ASPIRE to Excellence Programme is led by a board of distinguished leaders in medical, dental and veterinary education, supported by AMEE and working with other organisations with an interest in medical education.

Excellence in teaching

Explaining the significance of the awards, the AMEE said: “There are publications and popular magazines that rely heavily on research productivity to rank order and recognise excellence in universities and medical schools. Missing, however, has been the recognition of excellence in teaching.

“To fill this omission, leaders in health professions education around the world have designed, developed and delivered the ASPIRE initiative under the auspices of AMEE.

“Using accreditation-like standards of excellence, ASPIRE recognises medical, dental and veterinary schools that excel in assessment of students, student engagement, social accountability of the school and faculty development.”

Active and engaged

The ASPIRE board found the RVC “demonstrated excellence in designing faculty development specifically targeted on those in veterinary medicine”.

It was also impressed by the breadth of development opportunities in which many members of the college participated, including the “pathway to a master’s degree in education for interested individuals”.

The board also praised the way the faculty development team was engaged internally, as well as being “active in presenting these educational innovations to audiences worldwide”.


Stephen May.
Delighted: RVC deputy principal Stephen May.

Welcoming the award, RVC deputy principal Stephen May said: “We are delighted to see our teacher development programmes recognised in this way.

“Like all the veterinary schools in the UK, we have worked hard on our curriculum and its delivery, targeting student engagement and skills development, as well our assessment methods, over the past 20 years.

“However, the most important factor in high-quality education is the quality of those responsible for its delivery.

Decade of development

“The creation of our discipline-focused portfolio of teacher development opportunities has been a 10-year project, to support the initial and further develop of our team of confident, capable teachers, to ensure our students receive an excellent learning experience.

“This is one of the longer term outcomes of our Higher Education Funding Council for England-funded Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and I am proud of the way the RVC community has worked together to achieve that vision.”

The RVC will be presented with the ASPIRE trophy in August at the AMEE 2016 International Conference in Medical Education in Barcelona. A total of 3,500 teachers and leaders in health care education from around the world will be present at the conference.ww

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