“Same slides year after year, what’s the point of going to class?” Student perspectives of academics at CVM.

In an anonymous, opt-in online survey conducted April through August of this year, and in interviews, students of CVM shared their perspectives and experiences studying at the College.   Several common perspectives, both positive and negative, emerged from their responses:

The good

  • A majority reported a strong affinity to the University as a whole. They commonly select or offer language that represents feelings of pride about OSU generally, if not for CVM specifically.
  • A majority reported forming positive relationships with at least some faculty, staff and/or fellow students.
  • Most reported excitement about their initial opportunity to join their respective classes at CVM.

The bad

  • A majority reported disappointment in the quality of education they received at CVM, particularly that their experience did not meet their overall expectations
  • A majority reported belief that academic practices and materials at CVM are antiquated or otherwise not as good as most other veterinary colleges
  • A majority reported that their experience working in the Teaching Hospital was not a useful, positive and/or productive part of their academic experience.

Of note, the survey sub-sample of students was lower than other cohorts, and while the results likely merit attention from University leaders, a more robust study could reveal greater depth and detail regarding student experiences.

“What we learned here seems intuitive,” said someone affiliated with CVM who does not agree that the overall education offered at CVM is substandard. “All we learned is that the Teaching Hospital is less than ideal for the student learning experience, but we also know that our NAVLE pass rate is great. So it isn’t fair to say the education they’re paying for is no good. It’s good enough for almost every graduate to get their license and that’s what matters most.”

This position echoes the apparent views of the University President, Dr. Kayce Shrum, who recently highlighted the CVM’s NAVLE pass rate but also did not address the likely impact on the school’s ability to deliver quality education while the college deals with a reported continuing decline of the CVM’s workplace culture, staffing levels, medical services, veterinarian relations, Human Resources challenges, and reputation.

“These are real challenges, and it’s hard to see from what the University is saying whether they fully understand them or they’re just trying to minimize them,” said one person who is involved with education at the College. “It’s not reasonable to expect Kayce to go out there and talk the place down, obviously we’re going to highlight the NAVLE pass numbers. But yes, it would be nice to something that at least in some way shows they know we aren’t crazy about how bad it gets around here.”

The student survey respondents were likewise seemingly aware of the apparent contradiction between the high NAVLE pass rates and the purported challenges with quality education: several students anonymously wrote in their survey responses that despite their misgivings about their academic experiences, they were proud of the strong NAVLE pass rates. One wrote: “My class kicked ass on the boards. We had to learn a lot on our own and we did it. Beat ’22 class!”

Student Comments and Testimonials

”I wouldn’t spend money again here ever.  I literally youtube things i should know from college.  I would have been better off going to one of the islands for my degree. I literally could have watched stuff on youtube for the basics and then got a job as a tech for 2 years at a real hospital and been better off.”

“I am grateful for all the faculty that still remains at OSU. Most of the ones that are left are there because they care about the students and they want the school to succeed. They each fill a very important role and have been crucial to certain parts of my education. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough of them to fill all the holes in the curriculum.”

“OSU standards are so low that students who apply for internships and residencies from this program are not ranked as highly as students from other schools because it is well known that the quality of education is poor.”

“I was so embarrassed recently interviewing for a job.  They saw I graduated from OSU and said they heard we lost our accreditation and asked how bad it is there. I had to spend time in a JOB INTERVIEW trying to explain what’s happening here. I want to be proud of my degree and I am because I worked hard for it. But I would have to say I would rather go somewhere else if I had it to do over again.”

“I am a recent grad. Being a veterinarian has been my lifelong dream. I would not dare return to OSU if I had to. Favoritism runs rampant, favorite students are permitted to break rules and treat others poorly without repercussion.”

“There is too low of a clinical case load, there are minimal specialists there to teach the students, the vets there have out dated practices and are not open to change.”

“With the professors leaving, the students’ education has been compromised with little action taken by administration to alleviate the problem.”

“VMTH is a great place to test your skills. It’s a sink or swim environment.”

“You couldn’t pay me enough to go through this vet program or work for them again.”

“I did learn a lot during my internship, but working there was a nightmare. We were constantly asked how to make things better but all our suggestions were brushed off because ‘that’s just how internships are.’ Some faculty refused to work with other faculty and trying to get some departments to do their jobs was almost impossible.”

“I believe that students coming out of the Oklahoma state CVM program are not adequately prepared to be doctors. I don’t think this is from the education side but purely the technical side. I don’t think students get enough hands on learning for technical skills that a doctor may have to perform.”

”Same slides year after year, what’s the point of going to class?”

“I think the first 3 years allow us to have a great education, but once we get to 4th year it declines exponentially. We are seeing 2 or 3 patients a day, and the technicians run that hospital. I feel like we were taught how to round and hold animals.”

“I learned a tremendous amount and feel like I was properly prepared for practice. However, I recently encouraged one of my friends to choose another vet school because of the recent changes that are occurring and I didn’t want her to be handicapped professionally by attending a school that I love dearly.”

“I liked my time at OSU but overall I felt most professors lacked interest in teaching with a few exceptions. But students are met with dismissiveness or by staff that have no interest on teaching, but will reprimand and tell off students who are trying to learn is non-beneficial.   I feel bad for current students as it appears they do not have even a tenth of the staff I had just a few years ago.”

“My 4th year colleagues and I spent more time sitting in the rounds room without a doctor or an animal anywhere in sight than we did seeing or discussing an actual patient.”