A Plan is Plan, Not a Rule
The initial planning for the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) Chiang Mai University-University of Minnesota veterinary educational twinning project came together in the fall of 2012, when key faculty and administrators envisioned what might be accomplished. The plan proved invaluable as a road map but, much like the experience of traveling, several changes occurred over the 39-month project.
Plan: Our excitement about the project led us to be overly optimistic with the original timeline.
Reality: Curriculum change takes time. Veterinary curricula already must address the competency requirements of their accrediting bodies, so faculty members asked why the OIE Day 1 competencies were a necessary objective. Furthermore, curriculum schedules and course content are planned well in advance, with systems in place to facilitate orderly change. Mapping the existing curricula against the OIE Day 1 competencies and getting all the people and systems aligned to address the gaps took more time than was originally allotted.
Plan: Curriculum enhancement was designed to target only the largest gaps.
Reality: The focus of the curriculum enhancement increased as opportunities arose to enhance both the curriculum and the method of teaching more broadly across the OIE core competencies.
Plan: Workshops would be used to share information and teaching skills that would then be directly applied in the classroom.
Reality: Workshop participants reflected afterwards that they still did not feel comfortable taking the newly learned information and teaching skills back to their classrooms. Co-teaching of courses by a Chiang Mai University-University of Minnesota faculty team proved much more successful in helping teachers broaden their knowledge and skills, demonstrating the value of “Learn, Do, Teach” in universities.
Plan: Faculty exchanges were envisioned to be one to three months in duration.
Reality: The one-to-three-month duration proved unrealistic because of teaching commitments and ongoing research. In the end, shortening the length of exchanges allowed more faculty members to participate and enhanced the overall impact of the exchanges.
The key to successful planning is agreeing on the ultimate goal and objectives. The routes to achieve these must adapt to reality as the project evolves. In the case of the Chiang Mai University-University of Minnesota twinning project, this adaptability proved advantageous, as the overall project was able to accomplish more by accommodating the changes. Learn more about the lessons, experiences, and outcomes through the twinning newsletters available on the OIE