Texas Tech University

School of Veterinary Medicine Hosts VES Symposium and COWBEL

Weston Brooks

October 30, 2023


Veterinary educators from around the world attended a symposium at the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine to advance veterinary medical education.

More than 180 veterinary educators from 43 veterinary medical institutions in the U.S. and around the world came together Oct. 27-28 for the Veterinary Educator Symposium (VES) hosted by Texas Tech University's School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo

The VES is an annual symposium organized by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) with this year being in collaboration with the Academy of Veterinary Educators (AVE) and the School of Veterinary Medicine. This prestigious symposium fosters programmatic advancement, professional development and promotes best practices among veterinary educators. 

“This is absolutely a huge opportunity for the School of Veterinary Medicine to showcase our school, our purpose, and the Amarillo community to educators from across the country and around the world that are truly invested in bettering themselves in veterinary medical education and research,” said Pippa Gibbons, associate professor of food animal medicine and surgery. “It's so important for us veterinary educators to come together and share research and knowledge related to veterinary education.”

VES Symposium

During the symposium, veterinary educators heard from keynote speakers and attended workshops, educational sessions, panel discussions and research poster and abstract presentations. 

“AAVMC is proud to support and celebrate the incredible work of veterinary educators,” said Andrew Maccabe, CEO of AAVMC. “The Veterinary Educator Symposium brings these educators together to share innovative ideas in teaching and learning to identify common challenges facing education programs and to collaborate on solutions that inspire and promote excellence in academic veterinary medicine.”

AAVMC and the AVE recognized 32 distinguished educators within the U.S. and internationally as the founding members to oversee the Academy Certified Expert Educator credential. One of those 32 recognized was John Dascanio, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs at the School of Veterinary Medicine.

“I am honored to be recognized, especially in this field, as veterinary medical education is the core of our work and focus helping to develop competent and confident veterinarians,” Dascanio said. “It has been a lifetime of work, with teams of colleagues, to achieve these goals. Our charge now is to develop a credentialing process to certify others in this important field.”

After the conclusion of the VES symposium, the School of Veterinary Medicine and the AAVMC facilitated a productive meeting of international veterinary institutions involved in delivering curricula that include real-world, community-based clinical experiential learning called the Consortium of Workplace Based Education and Learning (COWBEL). This gave the School of Veterinary Medicine an opportunity to discuss its program and unique community-based model with other veterinary medical institutions.  

“COWBEL was developed just a few years ago to bring together best practices for schools with community-based/distributed clinical year programs,” Dascanio said. “Our goal is to enhance student education in private practice settings while providing outstanding oversight to achieve a great educational experience.”