Amazing! Things are happening here

Ever since I read Panda Bear’s post about the futility of student governance in med school, I’ve been dying to write a rebuttal. I graduated from a university where student self-governance was practically a founding principle, like liberty in the Declaration of Independence. I had plenty of examples of students effecting change in undergrad, but med school’s a very different system, so I decided to hold off until I had a more concrete success than “They modify lectures based on student feedback after each block.”

You see, since about January, there have been rumblings of eliminating Honors from the second-year grading scheme. (We are pass/fail for first year, H/P/F for second, and actual grades for third and fourth.) We all felt honors was a carrot of competition they held in front of us, creating extra short-term stress with little long-term yield — “everyone knows” residency directors don’t really care about grades in the pre-clinical years. Anecdotally, there’s also a lot of faculty support for the change. There is a big curriculum reorganization in the offing, and the Big People already decided to make the preclinical months honors-free. So why not for us?

A couple of weeks ago, we had a curriculum survey of the entire first year. On the question of honors, almost 80% of the class voted to remove it and go to a straight P/F system. In light of that result, we had an open meeting with the dean of students and the curriculum committee chair. It was remarkably well-attended, much better than lectures for sure. I got the impression that Dr. D, the chair of the curriculum committee and kind of an old-school guy, was very pro-honors and that he would be the one we’d have to win over if we wanted this change to occur.

After the meeting and question/answer session, we took another survey, which revealed that 86% of the class wanted to remove honors from the system. The results were presented at the curriculum committee meeting this morning, after which we received an email informing us that second-year, like first, would now be pass/fail.

So you see, the administration, at least at this august institution, can and does listen to student input.

Now, if we can just convince them to waive our tuition….


One thought on “Amazing! Things are happening here

  1. I agree with the P/F system (though we don’t have it). Typically the ones who get honours are the ones who crammed and retain very little. And tend to have substandard levels of common sense.

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