Texas Tech University

School of Veterinary Medicine Adds Accomplished Assessment and Curriculum Expert

George Watson

May 13, 2020

School of Veterinary Medicine

Marcello Schmidt has served as Director of Assessment, Accreditation and Data for the Texas Tech College of Education.

Marcelo Schmidt grew up on the rolling hills of Entre Rios, Argentina watching his grandfather and father successfully raise dairy cows and gaining an appreciation of the importance of animals to sustaining life, which would eventually take his family to Southern California.

Schmidt also has more than seven years of experience using data for continuous improvement and support of student learning outcomes, two of those in the Texas Tech University Office of Planning & Assessment and the rest in the College of Education. As Director of Assessment, Accreditation and Data, he was involved in supporting the college's accreditation efforts.

Now, he will be able to combine both parts of his life into a critical element of success for the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo as an assistant professor of curriculum and assessment.

Marcelo Schmidt
Marcelo Schmidt

"It's such an honor to be a founding faculty member of the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine," Schmidt said, "perhaps the most forward-thinking, exciting educational event of the past few years for Texas Tech University, the region and the state. I look forward to learning with and from my new colleagues at the school. Asking and answering questions together about our program's educational practices will keep us in a cycle of continuous improvement and ensure that we are preparing professionals true to our mission."

As a doctoral student in the College of Education – earning his degree in educational psychology from Texas Tech in 2013 – Schmidt said he gained an appreciation of the value and data and how it can be used to make critical, ethical and responsible decisions to inform an organization's efforts toward continuous improvement.

His most recent research focused on examining the data-use practices of educational organizations in order to gain a better understanding of how administrators and stakeholders interpret data to make decisions. His research also helped determine what processes and policies govern the use of certain data and how technology helps in the analysis and presentation of data to improve data consumption efficiency.

In the School of Veterinary Medicine, Schmidt will work with faculty and administrators to analyze how the admissions and educational practices in place impact student learning and development, which will then be shared with veterinary educators throughout the world to improve global veterinary education. Schmidt sees a great deal of overlap in preparing educators and preparing future veterinarians, making him a perfect fit for the Texas Tech's School of Veterinary Medicine.

"We have a clear vision of the type of graduate we hope to produce," said Guy Loneragan, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. "To achieve this, we designed a targeted, wholistic admissions process and a competency-based, context-specific curriculum. We also have designed the framework so we can assess every step along the way. Assessment, in turn, allows us to implement a cycle of continual improvement. Dr. Schmidt is the perfect person to take the reins and help us get better and better. He is an essential part in making sure we hit the bullseye in terms of the type of graduates the school produces. He has lived our commitment to rural and regional communities. His background in the dairy industry gives him insights into the agricultural industries we serve."

In his time with the College of Education, Schmidt also served as Director of Research and Continuous Improvement for the US Prep National Center, a collaboration with university-school partners launched in 2015 that provides a unique model for teacher preparation programs centered on partnerships with school districts, focusing closely on teacher preparation and student success.

Schmidt said the end goal, whether it is teachers, veterinarians or professional in general, is to prepare them with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to they are ready to practice on day one.

"Dr. Schmidt will be central in forming, evaluating and assessing our curriculum," said John Dascanio, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs. "His expertise will ensure we will meet our mission of training students to be great veterinarians. Dr. Schmidt's immediate focus will be to help us design our graduate competencies and create our curricular framework for each course to meet these competencies. I am greatly looking forward to working with him to educate our students."

Schmidt joins Loneragan, Dascanio, associate dean for clinical programs Britt Conklin, professor of surgery David Dutton, assistant professor of general veterinary practice Bethany Schilling, professor of medicine László Hunyadi, professor of surgery Nancy Zimmerman, visiting professor Jerry Black and associate professor of Library and Information Sciences Howard Rodriguez-Mori on the faculty for the School of Veterinary Medicine. Additional faculty members will be added over the summer and fall.

About the School of Veterinary Medicine

Thanks to the generosity of Amarillo and communities across Texas, and the commitment of legislators from around the state, the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, established in 2018, is working to enroll its first class in the fall of 2021, pending approval by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education.

The School of Veterinary Medicine will recruit and select students with a passion to practice and succeed in rural and regional communities. Its curriculum is focused on the competencies and skills necessary for success in practices that support these communities. Texas Tech's innovative and cost-efficient model partners with the wider community of veterinary practices across the state to provide clinical, real-world experiential learning.

In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law the biennial state budget, which appropriated $17.35 million for the School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo that will go toward operational needs in order to get the school up and running. The appropriation included language directing Texas Tech to move forward in establishing the school.