A roadmap to Food Animal Careers at the UMN CVM

Today we are sharing a publication in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education from Dr. Perle Boyer (Zhitnitskiy) presenting a new online tool for students enrolled at the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine to choose selective course tailored to their career path.

The Food Animal faculty at the University of Minnesota worked together to create an online, interactive tool for the students to plan their selection of optional course with food animal medicine content throughout the four years of the curriculum. The tool was designed a subway lines leading to various types of food-animal careers. Each stop on the line represents a course which can be clicked on to display course description and other enrollment details.


Less than 5% of US veterinary school graduates go on to practice predominantly food animal medicine, contributing to a serious shortage of veterinarians practicing in rural areas. Exposing students to clinical and farm experiences while in veterinary school is an effective way to recruit them to various types of veterinary careers. Students at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (UMN CVM) were not always aware of food animal course options within the curriculum. Additionally, food animal faculty had noted that while face-to-face mentoring was the most effective way to help students select courses, it was too dependent upon faculty availability and students’ comfort level in reaching out for advice. Consequently, it was decided to develop an online catalog of course options focusing on food animal topics. This course catalog, called the Food Animal Curriculum Roadmap, was designed as an interactive roadmap similar to a map of subway lines, where each line represents a species of interest (beef, dairy, small ruminant, swine, and poultry) and each station is a course. The roadmap was made available to all students at the college. A user survey showed that 96% of the respondents (n = 30) indicated that they had a better understanding of course offerings after using the Food Animal Curriculum Roadmap.

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