Priority 4

Enhancing learning experience of PG trainees

Steering Committee

  1. Executive Sponsor

    • Jacob Thundathil
  2. Lead or Co-Leads

    • Herman Barkema
  3. Team Members

    • Sabine Gilch
    • Renaud Leguillette
    • Diego Nobrega (Student rep)
    • David Hall
    • Dongyan Niu
    • Claire Windeyer
    • Fatima Kamal

Strategy 4.1

Create Veterinary Medical Sciences Sub-Degree Specializations

Complete sub-degree specialization template by the research group chairs or their designates and submit to the sponsoring departments

Lead: Herman Barkema, Jeff Biernaskie, Doug Whiteside

Progress: Gathered input on interest and student demand for Epidemiology and Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine specializations from current students and alumni. Proposals have been written for each specialization with the plan to take them through main campus approval.

Develop teaching and learning activities and assessment strategies

Lead: Karin Orsel, Jeff Biernaskie, Doug Whiteside

Progress: These were developed at the same time as the proposals for each specialization.

Gain approval of sub-degree specializations from departments

Lead: Department heads

Progress: This initiative has been discussed extensively in UCVM, including at the Graduate Education Committee meetings.

Implement sub-degree specializations

Lead: Jacob Thundathil

Progress: The proposals will be taken through the main campus approval process.

Strategy 4.2

Create Opportunities for Professional Skills Development and Career Experience

Revise the mandatory graduate course VETM 601 Professional Skills in Health Science Research

Lead: Jacob Thundathil

Progress: Course syllabus was revised based on a Professional Skills Workshop conducted on January 25, 2018

Revised course implemented/delivered since Fall 2018

Engage with Veterinary Medical Sciences alumni

Lead: Office of Graduate Education

Progress: Newsletter will go out to Alumni in April 2019, highlighting some UCVM stories, feature alumni, and information about alumni benefits

Create professional skills development opportunities beyond VET 601 in partnership with University of Calgary resources and Veterinary Medical Sciences alumni

Lead: Office of Graduate Education

Progress: Graduate certificates are under development in various topic areas. These will be open to alumni and other professionals working in related jobs.


Create career development opportunities (individual development plans, teaching opportunities, internships, international experience) for graduate students

Lead: Office of Graduate Education

Progress: 10 Teaching Assistant positions made available for graduate students at UCVM for Fall 2018

Strategy 4.3

Mentorship for Graduate Students and Supervisors

Mentorship development for new and experienced supervisors


Progress: Partnered with University of Calgary Faculty of Graduate Studies to develop mentorship programs for UCVM faculty

Develop more graduate student support, including peer-mentoring and onboarding


Progress: Establishment of a peer-mentoring system was offered to new Veterinary Medical Sciences graduate students in Winter 2018 and Fall 2018 semesters 

Organize workshops on research methodologies for graduate students


Progress: Held forum to understand interest, which was followed up by a survey for participants to understand more about interests and demand

Promote student interaction, collaboration, and University of Calgary community development


Strategy 4.4

Collaboration on Cross-Cutting Themes

Develop combined residency and graduate degree programs

Lead: Soren Boysen, Jacob Thundathil

Progress: A proposal is under development for this

Develop combined DVM and graduate degree programs

Lead: Jacob Thundathil and Herman Barkema

Progress: A proposal has been finalized based on months of engagement across the faculty, with potential students, and employers. The proposal will be taken through main campus approval in 2021 after final approval at the faculty level.

Advance mentorship and career development of Post Doctoral Fellows

Lead: Sabine Gilch

Promote international experience for graduate students

Lead: Jacob Thundathil

Progress: New collaboration between UofC and MITACs provides opportunity for international research experience.