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Sources: David Anderson, 785-532-4259, danderso@vet.k-state.edu;
Robert Larson, 785-532-4257, rlarson@vet.k-state.edu;
and Brad White, 785-532-4243, bwhite@vet.k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Joe Montgomery, 785-532-4194, jmontgom@vet.k-state.edu

Monday, Dec. 20, 2010

PROFESSORS USING USDA GRANT FOR VETERINARY EDUCATION ENHANCEMENT PROJECT

MANHATTAN -- Three faculty members from Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine have received a grant for developing a new method of teaching veterinarians involved with food safety.

David Anderson, Robert Larson and Brad White, all from the department of clinical sciences, are receiving part of a Higher Education Challenge Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their project, "Food Systems Veterinary Medicine for the 21st Century."

The project is part of a multi-institutional grant headed by Scott Hurd at Iowa State University and that involves K-State and the University of Arkansas. The overall grant is for $331,000; K-State's portion is $99,000.

The K-Staters are coming up with a new method of teaching concepts of food animal medicine and food safety by changing the framework, curriculum and delivery mechanism of that information.

The new method will transform the mindset and skill set for veterinarians who are tasked with safely feeding the world, according to Anderson.

"The U.S. has a continuing and serious shortage of veterinarians needed to ensure a constant supply of safe and wholesome food that is produced in a humane manner," said Anderson, professor and section head of agricultural practices in the College of Veterinary Medicine. "This creates a great need for experts to work in complex farming, food production and processing systems, and to help with sustainability, respond to societal changes, and maintain consumer confidence."

Higher Education Challenge grants are administered through the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. The grant program encourages innovative teaching enhancement projects with the potential for regional or national impact and for serving as models for other institutions. While research and extension activities may be included in a funded project, the primary focus must be to improve teaching within a degree-granting program.

"Adding new learning objectives to the veterinary curriculum education is difficult because students are currently overloaded with information," said Larson, professor of production medicine. "Students don't have time for more courses, labs or rotations. To provide new content without increasing course load requires innovative methods, including modifying existing food animal topics to provide the current content while imparting the systems methodology, and applying systems engineering teaching and learning principles to veterinary students through a partnership with the K-State College of Engineering."

"One focus of this project is developing materials that provide faculty with the tools necessary to implement systems teaching," said Brad White, associate professor of production medicine. "A trainer will be established at each collaborating university, and that trainer will work with selected faculty to modify some of their existing lectures. The revised lectures will include the original content while setting the information into systems-based examples."

Several College of Veterinary Medicine faculty members in food animal medicine will assist with the project, including Matt Miesner, Shelie Laflin, Michael Apley and Mike Sanderson.