Quality Enhancement Plan Proposal
Submitted by the Biomedical Science Program in
The College of Veterinary Medicine
Texas A&M University
F.H. “Skip” Landis, PhD
Director: Biomedical Science Programm
Elizabeth Crouch, PhD
Associate Director: Biomedical Science Program
Isabel Carbajal, D.V.M.
Lecturer: Dept. Veterinary Pathobiology
Designated Principal Investigator: F.H. “Skip” Landis, Ph.D.
Background: The Biomedical Science Program (BIMS) is a unique undergraduate
program housed in Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Widely
recognized for its excellence, the degree offers students a concentrated science curriculum
that is preparatory for health professions schools, as well as careers in the allied health
professions, industry, government, and education.
BIMS excels, as well, in recruitment and retention of histor ically underrepresented
populations in the state of Texas. In 2001, the BIMS Program was a finalist for The Texas
Higher Education STAR Award for exceptional contribution towards the goals in “Closing
the Gaps,” the Higher Education Plan for Texas. In April, 2000, the BIMS Program received
the Diversity Award from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and Dean
of Faculty and Associate Provost. Additionally, the BIMS program has articulation
agreements with seven community colleges in targeted geographical regions with diverse
residential populations. Together, these awards and agreements are indicative of a
meritorious recruitment and retention strategy, along with a highly regarded pre-professional
Bachelor of Science curriculum.
One of the goals of Vision 2020 is to “diversify and globalize the A&M community.”
Two key indicators in Texas A&M’s (TAMU) Quality Enhancement Plan are specific to
creating excellence in diversity for student learning and in internationalization. These two
goals are stated as follows:
• Students graduating from Texas A&M University should be able to function
successfully in complex, diverse, social, economic, and political contexts.
• Students graduating form Texas A&M University will be able to function
effectively in their chosen career fields in an international setting.
We, at BIMS, feel that an active language and cultural study program will demonstrate an
appreciation for the value of multicultural awareness in today’s society and ensure that our
students can function effectively in an ever-increasing global society.
The BIMS Program has an International Certificate Program with a Focus in Spanish
for Biomedical Science students. The program was developed in conjunction with the
Department of Modern Languages through a two-year (97-99) grant and provides students
with the opportunity to take courses in language, cultural humanities and social sciences, and
biomedical science-based electives pertaining to Latin America, diseases of international
significance and interest, and medical communication in an international arena. Additionally,
students are required to have credit for, or take, 15 semester credit hours (SCH) of Spanish
language. In three of the hours, students participate in a “capstone” course in which a
significant portion of the lecture, readings, and homework assignments is focused on medical
terminology. Finally, students must go abroad for experiential learning. Students shadow
physicians, veterinarians, and dentists, for example, to gain a working knowledge of Spanish
in the medical setting.
Proposal: We propose to evaluate the certificate program for skills-based outcomes.
We would like to evaluate the Spanish Certificate Program in order to make improvements
that would expand participation. Currently, approximately 20 students, or 1%, on average, of
BIMS students participate in the program annually. Our goal would be to increase that
number to 10%, or 200 students, within four years. The evaluation through the Quality
Enhancement Plan would allow us to improve and refine the present program based on
outcome assessment results. Furthermore, we feel that expansion of the program will
enhance the BIMS Program’s successful efforts in attracting and retaining a diverse student
body population and allow us to begin to offer other successful certificate programs in
German, and perhaps French, through the College of Veterinary Medicine. The certificate
program has several goals:
1. Students should be functionally bilingual and employ attained language skills
in both social and formal settings.
2. Students should be able to perform linguistically and in a culturally sensitive
manner within the medical environment. Sufficient performance includes the
ability to explain medical concepts, complete physical examinations, order
laboratory work and act as an interpreter within a medic a l setting.
3. Students should gain experiential knowledge abroad, expanding their
cultural sensitivities and functionality in a foreign environment. Students
should be able to compare and contrast Latin American and Spanish cultural
ideas with those of the Anglo population within the United States. Students
should recognize cultural differences, using language and social skills to interact
effectively within a foreign environment.
Current evaluation effort: After the completion of a capstone Spanish 202 course
that introduces students to the language and culture of the medical environment in Latin
America (in particular), students are required to complete a study abroad experience. Dr.
Isabel Carbajal is responsible for setting up many of these trips to Latin America. The
students typically receive academic credits under VTPB 485 courses for the longer programs
and she requires an essay and an oral presentation over their experiences. She has a teaching
assistant to help her in the evaluations of the studies abroad. The credit for the 485 is given
after the students prove proficiency in Spanish.
Proposed evaluation effort: To assess the ability of students to function effectively
within the medical environment, we would like to survey the doctors and technicians with
whom the students work abroad. The survey will be designed by Measurement and Research
Services (and translated) to measure the competency of the student in the medical setting.
Questions will reflect, among other things, improvement in student functionality with time in
the shadowing position. Sample questions might be included that indic ate the student’s
ability to communicate with patients at the beginning of the shadowing experience as
compared to their abilities at the end of the experience. Employers will be asked to rate
information such as the student’s ability to appreciate culturally sensitive issues when
discussing conditions, to gather diagnostic data from patients, and to describe diagnoses. The
questions would be given with numbered rating scales and tabulations used to show whether
or not students’ skills improved.
A post-graduation survey will also be performed. Again, the study will be designed
in conjunction with Measurement and Research Services and will be designed to reflect the
student’s perceptions of their language skills before and after the completion of the Spanish
Certificate. Preparation for the ir trip (classroom topics, for example, will be listed and
students asked to rate their value), their coursework, and their interactions with faculty will
be assessed. Additionally, questions will be placed on the survey asking students to assess
the usefulness of the certificate in their daily work. For some, the survey will have to be
followed up in a 3rd or 4th- year post-graduation study, as many students will be first-year
professional students one year after graduation from TAMU. It will be of interest to see if
the courses and studies abroad the students participated in affected their political, economic ,
sociological and cultural ideas with regards to Latin America.
Results from the surveys and interviews conducted, along with statistics on
graduation rates of students completing the certificate, will be used to improve the following:
1. Opportunities for studies abroad and the types of experiences available to
2. Science coursework (special topics/489): expansion of courses pertaining to
international human and veterinary medical diseases
3. Spanish coursework: expansion of the capstone course in terms of topics
covered, vocabulary, colloquialisms, etc.
Success will be measured in several ways. The 485 course evaluations will be
continued. The graduation rate in the certificate will increase with student participation. Our
goal is to have 200 students in the program with 75% or greater of the students completing
the certificate once they start. Lastly, the studies abroad and graduation questionnaires will
show success if 80% or greater of the respondents deem the students to show improvement in
their functional Spanish language skills (professional survey in Latin America) and deem the
program to have helped them in their daily professional life and to have positively affected
their perceptions of and functionality within an alternative cultural setting (graduation
Budget: We are requesting $4,500 for the program.
a. Graduation Data for students participating in the Certificate Program
(SIMS) for multiple years : $500 to generate SIMS reports detailing data such
as overall GPA, completion of certificate, date of graduation, years to complete
the BIMS program and the certificate combined, any minors completed, etc.
b. Development of surveys, with translations, from Measurement and Research
Services: $1000 to be used for survey development and revision, as well as
translation for individuals completing the survey who use Spanish as a primary
c. Dissemination of surveys (includes copying, mailing, return mail) for
multiple years: $1500 (Mailing: sending surveys with return mail having prepaid
postage to help increase response)
d. Survey analysis (establishing a database, translation of responses from
individuals involved with students abroad, analysis) for multiple years:
$1500 Database creation will be completed by Dr. Elizabeth Crouch, in
conjunction with a student worker from the office. The translation of responses
will be required to ensure proper representation of data. Dr. Isabel Carbajal will
be assisting with this endeavor. Data analysis will be completed in conjunction
with Measurement and Research Services, as the services of a statistician will be
required for accuracy.
Opportunities to improve an existing certificate program, with the goal of starting
others, will open doors, through studies abroad, for future research/work-related
collaborations and exchanges and functional competencies of our students in culturally
diverse settings both at home and abroad.