The Class of 2017 at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine began a week-long orientation Monday, learning about the College, meeting faculty and getting to know their classmates.
The first-year class is comprised of 120 professional students who have completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Of the students, 40 are Alabama residents, 38 are from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, two are from West Virginia and the remaining 40 are at-large (non-contract) positions. Auburn has a cooperating agreement with Kentucky and West Virginia as those states choose to send students to other institutions rather than maintain a veterinary school.
The second, third, and four-year students will begin classes on Monday, Aug. 19, two days prior to main campus returning to the classroom.
The students were greeted by Dean Calvin Johnson, who welcomed them to the 121st year of veterinary medicine at Auburn. “We are very proud of you and you are a part of a very strong class.
“We will do everything possible to ensure your success in the classroom, in our laboratories and in the clinics,” he told the group of students and family members who joined them during the first day of orientation. “There are many opportunities available for you to explore in the veterinary career field.”
Dan Givens, interim associate dean of Academic Affairs, told the students the week will consist of traditions as well as new opportunities. “Tomorrow you will receive a bone box, something that has happened here in some form since 1893,” he told the students.
“Just as those who have gone before you, you will learn the names of the bony prominences at which the muscles originate and attach as you hold the bones that form the leg. Understanding this structure will allow you to comprehend its function which will permit you to recognize health and diagnose disease.”
When Charles Allen Cary, the first dean of Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine, agreed to teach at Auburn in January 1893, he provided a list of items that would be necessary for his employment to Auburn President William L. Broun. Among the items on that list were several complete skeletons of different species so that students could adequately learn the structure and function of the skeletal systems to recognize health and diagnose disease.
“This pattern of true hands-on learning has continued to this day,” Givens said. “Generations of Auburn veterinary students remember receiving their bone box at the beginning of their educational process in the college.
“The sheer number of anatomically important bumps, openings and notches is initially overwhelming to students,” he said. “Yet, as they learn of their own capacity to process and understand an amazing depth and breadth of information through hands-on learning, they learn the anatomy of domestic animals and use that knowledge as a map throughout their career for recognition of diseases using physical exam and images generated by x-rays, CT, and MRI, in addition to performing surgeries, and planning rehabilitation.”
“And as we owe much to our past, our greater debt is to the future and you will also receive laptop computers,” he told the students. “The greatest asset and the biggest impact will be the individuals you meet and learn from,” he added.
Following a luncheon for students and their families, the group toured the college and met with faculty.
The orientation will last the remainder of the week, and will include an introduction of academic standards, college policies and curriculum guidelines; an overview of the college’s departments, clinics and programs; discussions with faculty on issues related to evidence-based medicine, public health issues, communications, research opportunities and transitioning to the college and life as a veterinary student. In addition, students will also have some bonding time and participate in team-building and survival exercises.