Home » 2023 Conference Overview

The 2023 Summer Conference hosted by the Teaching Academy of the Consortium of West Region Colleges of Veterinary Medicine is packed with exceptional opportunities and experiences. Outlined below are the details and schedule of the conference.

To download a digital copy of the conference program, click here!

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Keynote Workshops

Cultivating Connections and Community!

Speakers: Benjamin Wiggins, PhD & Marie Holowaychuk, DVM, Dipl. ACVECC

Ben Wiggins

Tuesday, July 18th

10:30 – 11:30 AM PST

Making classroom culture work for your learning goals

Any collection of humans at work starts to develop a cultural framework. Within your classroom, especially in the largest classrooms, that culture either hinders or helps your efforts with students. Are they motivated? Are they oriented to the most important challenges? Are they maximizing what they can learn? Student-to-student and student-to-instructor relationships are often the deciding factors for these questions. We will discuss performance aspects of teaching that can help you to mold your culture both to a more effective learning environment as well as a better model for what veterinary workalike can be.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to identify aspects of their course culture and start to develop a framework for conceptualizing their own individual pedagogical choices
  • Participants will be introduced to, and directly practice, a few discrete teaching moves that can be used to improve classroom culture within the constraints of dense material

Activating your classroom: Building an active learning format from your existing lecture materials

Active learning is a loosely defined, but highly effective, set of teaching practices. By helping students to DO their science, not just hear about their science, active learning techniques can create a more equitable and effective classroom. Even with the preponderance of evidence indicating active teaching, many instructors find that changing from passive to active instruction to be a daunting design challenge. In this workshop, we’ll explore efficient methods for activating pieces of curriculum and generating better outcomes from courses without needing massive investments of time on the part of the students or instructors. Participants should have a course or topic that they teach in mind as we work examples of redesign and are encouraged to bring digital or hardcopy materials.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will leave with several efficient examples for redesign of a relatively passive unit of instruction
  • Participants will make the first few steps towards that active redesign during the session.
Marie Holowaychuk
Thursday, July 20th 8:30 – 9:30 AM PST

It’s Veterinary Practice, Not Perfect: Overcoming Perfectionism and Imposter Syndrome

We are taught to believe “practice makes perfect” but the realities of veterinary practice are far from flawless. Perfectionism increases the risk of distress among veterinary team members and can exacerbate mental illnesses and compulsive behaviors. During this session, we will discuss what causes perfectionism and imposter syndrome and how they impact mental health and wellbeing. Attendees will come away with practical strategies for recognizing and recovering from perfectionism and imposter syndrome to support mental wellbeing long term.

Workshop: Thursday, July 20th

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM (PST)

Restoring Resilience with Self-Compassion

Resilience is a person’s ability to withstand or recover from challenging life circumstances, which occur commonly among veterinary professionals. Research investigating veterinary student resilience has shown that self-compassion, the process of turning compassion inward, boosts resilience. During this interactive workshop, research and theory regarding self-compassion will be shared, supplemented by practical strategies and exercises for practicing self-compassion in everyday life. Attendees will come away understanding the importance of self-compassion and how to regularly practice it to foster resilience.

Andrew McCabe
Tuesday, July 18th 11:45 – 12:30 pm PST

The Future of Veterinary Medical Education

The future of veterinary medicine will be vastly different from the present. Driven primarily by technology, the rate of change across all sectors of society is increasing exponentially, leading to what some observers have called The Singularity: a point where progress is so rapid it outstrips humans’ ability to comprehend it. In order to prepare today’s students for this exponential future, veterinary medical education must shift from a system that is based on inputs such as the number of hours of instruction and measured by outcomes such as recall of knowledge to one that is time-variable and measured by achievement of pre-defined competencies. In short, there must be a change from instructor-centered teaching to student-centered learning. This change will promote a culture of lifelong learning where students take responsibility for their own education and are prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future, whatever they might be.

RTA Initiatives – Reports

Session Chair – Maria Fahie (WU)

Tuesday, July 18th

9:00 – 10:00 am PST

15 minutes each: Updates and progress reports from the three major Initiatives within the RTA and membership committee. The Initiatives are Faculty Development, External Peer Review of Teaching, and Quantification of Teaching Effort and Effectiveness.

RTA Initiative Workshops

EPRT – Wednesday, July 19th

8:30 am PST

Workshop – RTA External Peer Review of Teaching

Session Chairs – Maria Fahie (WU) & Peggy Barr (WU)

Description: Effectively documenting and evaluating evidence of teaching performance is essential when making discerning decisions about educator career advancement. The RTA External Peer Review of Teaching Initiative has developed guidelines and rubrics to aid both applicants and reviewers. In this workshop, prior applicants and reviewers will share their experiences with using these resources to demonstrate and evaluate teaching quantity, quality, impact and scholarship. Our goal is to better prepare potential applicants and reviewers to engage in this important effort towards Making Teaching Matter!

Wednesday, July 19th 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm PST

Workshop – Quantifying Teaching Efforts and Effectiveness Committee

Session Chairs – Diane Hassell (CSU) & Julie Dechant (UC-D)

Description: The QTEE (Quantifying Teaching Effort and Effectiveness) Committee has developed a new calculator to determine the amount of annual effort (with components of quality) that faculty members dedicate towards teaching. This short workshop will introduce the components of the calculator, provide time to complete the worksheet on your own, and then gather feedback on accuracy and applicability toward your own institution. Please join us to create the most accurate teaching effort calculator for the RTA.


Thursday, July 20th

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm PST

Workshop – The Learning Space: Where I Belong, Where You Belong, Where WE Belong

Session Chairs – Malika Kachani (WU) & Alberta Arviso (UA)

Description: This educational session focuses on creating a sense of belonging and community within educational environments. The session explores various models and principles that contribute to building inclusive and supportive learning spaces. Participants will engage in dialogue, reflection, and practical applications to enhance self-awareness, communication, and personal accountability. Participants will leave with practical strategies and resources to create inclusive learning spaces where everyone feels a sense of belonging.

Wednesday, July 19th

10:00 am – 11:30 am PST

Proposal to Form an RTA Working Group to Transform Veterinary Education: Sharing of Research-Based Training, Instructional Materials, and Methods Designed to Enhance Student, Faculty, and Academic Staff Success

Facilitator – Holly Bender (UA)

Description: We live in unprecedented times with both emerging challenges and opportunities in veterinary medicine. The demand for competent new graduates has never been greater. However, the challenge of preparing students effectively and at scale for the complex skills needed by veterinary professionals has never been more demanding.

Over four decades of educational research have uncovered how to best help students to learn and develop expertise. Though this research is widely acknowledged in higher education circles, these recommended practices are seldom implemented fully. It has been difficult for individual educators to adopt these practices because efforts to design such instruction demand significant investments of time, training, and institutional resources when budgets are tight and faculty are stretched. However, now that we understand the most direct and efficient path to help our students gain expertise, we, as educators, must partner with each other and find a way to use these research-based methods to meet this demand and graduate day 1-ready veterinarians equipped with the complex skills needed for the workplace. The proven dedication of the RTA to advancing veterinary education and the collective partnership of some of veterinary medicine’s most dedicated educators uniquely position us to become leaders in improving and disseminating evidence-based veterinary teaching practices.

This session will discuss a plan to form an RTA working group initiative to transform veterinary education by sharing high-quality instructional materials and methods designed according to lessons learned from research in education, expertise development, diagnostic reasoning, and problem-solving.

We will discuss a vision to promote student, faculty, and academic staff success by training faculty and staff to use research-based practices proven to help students gain expertise, such as the principles of deliberate practice, backward design, and management of cognitive load. We will also discuss how we can partner and disseminate these practices by creating a multi-institutional RTA digital library to share high-quality instructional materials and methods using these evidence-based principles.

We will also discuss how this vision can foster faculty and staff success by creating a culture of creative exchange between RTA member veterinary schools, lowering the barriers to adopting research-based teaching practices, and opening opportunities for educational scholarship and external funding to support its implementation. This approach also promises to reduce costs and inefficiencies by decreasing duplication of effort and resources, making it easier for RTA educators and our institutions to advance veterinary education through access, exchange, iterative improvement, and study of high-quality instructional materials, methods, and expertise.

Teaching Innovations

Session Co-Chairs: Thomas Marino, Ilana Halperin, Andrew West, Karen Boudreaux

Tuesday, July 18th
2:30 – 3:30 pm

Wednesday, July 19th
4:00 – 5:00 pm

Thursday, July 20th
2:00 – 3:00 pm

Teaching Innovations are 10-minute informal, interactive sessions presenting ideas for innovation and best practices in veterinary medical and biomedical teaching. These sessions are ideal for offering successful solutions to challenges teachers face, as well as approaches that were not as successful since these are wonderful learning opportunities. These sessions could include tips and tricks, clinical teaching strategies and ideas, as well as other topics such as technology and meeting the challenges of virtual teaching. Presentations under this heading should NOT reflect active scholarship/education research.

Join us at the Teaching Innovations sessions!

Scholarship/Educational Research Podium and Poster Sessions

Session Co-Chairs Scholarship: Thomas Marino, Andrew West, Karen Boudreaux
Session Co-Chairs Poster: Jillian Haines, Sarah Guess

Wednesday, July 19th & Thursday, July 20th Scholarship/Educational Research Podium:

Teaching Scholarship/Educational Research are 15-minute podium sessions designed to present educational research to peers, facilitating our mission, and fostering potential collaborative research interests. Priority is given to completed studies not previously published and/or presented elsewhere, preferably including objective measures, statistical analysis, and/or qualitative analysis. Proposals will be reviewed and scored using a rubric with feedback supplied and returned to all submissions.

This is a great opportunity to foster collaborative research interests as you share your work! We can’t wait to learn about what you’re trying!

2019_RTA ConferenceTuesday, July 18th

4:00 – 5:00 pm

Poster Session:

The primary goal of the poster session is to give as many members as possible the chance to present their work while also preserving time for scientific discussion during abstract presentations. A decision on which abstracts will be presented in traditional podium style and which will be assigned to the poster session will be made following abstract evaluation.

Participants selected for a poster presentation will be expected to present a podium talk up to two minutes long. This is intended as an opportunity to promote and enhance the visibility of participants’ work. Summaries may choose to utilize PowerPoint slides (no more than two total) that illustrate key elements of the poster.

Poster Sessions are informal times where conference participants peruse posters on a variety of topics by their colleagues. Posters can focus on teaching techniques, budding or developed educational research, and other topics. All submissions will be reviewed using a rubric.

New RTA Fellow Orientation

More information is coming soon!

Monday, July 17th
5:00 pm
WELCOME new Regional Teaching Academy fellows!

Every two years we welcome new fellows to the Regional Teaching Academy. This year we will be hosting a New Member Session for 2021 & 2023 RTA Fellows on Monday, July 17th from 5:00 pm during the opening reception. Additionally, we are connecting newer members with seasoned RTA members to form relationships that will provide support in gaining the full benefit from participation in the RTA.