SVM Restructure Reflects SGU’s Evolution, Expansion and Success

The new structure of St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine reflects a more efficient support of the University’s teaching, research and service missions, as it incorporates the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA-COE) Standards into the unique academic program of the School.

Since 1999, the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) has provided its culturally diverse student body with an internationally based veterinary medical education designed to prepare students for the world of global health care.  SVM students complete three years in Grenada and their fourth clinical year of study at one of twenty-nine AVMA-accredited colleges of veterinary medicine.  Twenty-three of these accredited colleges are located in the United States, and the other six affiliated colleges that are accredited are located in the United Kingdom, Canada, The Republic of Ireland and Australia.  By restructuring SGUSVM, we will further enhance the effectiveness of this dynamic and comprehensive program.

According to Dr. Raymond Sis, Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine, “Moving the administration away from the standard academic department process toward a subsequent provision of Academic Programs is critical to aligning the SVM structure to AVMA-COE Standards; the primary objective of this reconstructive process.”  The AVMA Council on Education is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the accrediting body for schools and programs that offer the professional Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, or its equivalent in the United States and Canada.

The most noticeable change is replacing the three former departments within SVM:  Preclinical Studies, Paraclinical Studies and Clinical Studies. Four Academic Programs have been implemented, each of which are overseen by a Program Director.  Effective July 2008, Dr. Tom Aire is Program Director of Anatomy and Physiology Academic Program (Terms 1-2); Dr. Ravindra Sharma is Program Director, Pathobiology Academic Program (Terms 3-4); Dr. Rudolfo Bruhl Day is Program Director, Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Academic Program ( Terms 5-6); and Dr. Ram Purohit is Program Director, Large Animal Medicine and Surgery Academic Program (Terms 5-6).

In addition, SVM has appointed four Associate Deans who, in conjunction with the Program Directors, are responsible for upholding one or more of the AVMA-COE Standards.  They are: Dr. Desmond Baggot, Senior Associate Dean, Faculty and Academic Programs; Dr. Timothy Ayliffe, Associate Dean, Information Resources; Dr. Rolf Larsen, Associate Dean, Clinical Resources; and Dr. Sunil Gupta, Assistant Dean,
Learning and Teaching.  Dr. Gregory Wybern has also been appointed Director of Clinical Services.

As the University as a whole continues to expand, so too does the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM), one of the three entities which collectively form St. George’s University’s great triumvirate, along with the School of Medicine (SOM) and School of Arts and Sciences (SAS).  Each of the schools is afforded the same recognition, status and autonomy.

As with the SOM, SAS and the Graduate Studies Program (GSP), the SVM is under the strategic coordination of the Provost, who oversees the extensive sharing and cross referencing of activities, resources and initiatives between the four programs.  The SVM Dean serves as its chief academic officer and sits on the University Council of Deans (UCD) with the other deans, Vice Provosts and senior administrative officers.

Organization within the School of Veterinary Medicine

There are seven units within the SVM that define functional identity.  The units and the AVMA-COE Standards for which they are responsible are as follows:

  • Faculty and Academic Programs (Faculty, Organization, Finance, Admissions).
  • Learning and Teaching (Curriculum)
  • Clinical Resources (Clinical Resources, Outcomes Assessment)
  • Research (Research)
  • Students (Students)
  • Information Resources (Library and Information Resources)
  • Clinical Services (Facilities and Equipment)

The Faculty and Academic Program Unit is responsible for all administrative support services as Faculty.  The Unit is assisted by the Faculty Senate which has an elected Faculty Affairs Committee and Academic Affairs Committee.  The Department of Educational Services (DES), Dean of Students Offices (DOS), University Health and Counseling Services, Housekeeping, Human Resources (HR) and Department of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) are managed through University-wide structures.

The Learning and Teaching Unit provides all support for the delivery of the Curriculum which is unique to the SVM, providing management of the instructional resources and outcomes assessment through the Term Program Directors of Terms 1-6.  Assistance is provided through the Learning and Teaching committee which is comprised of the
Term 1-6 Program Directors.  Horizontal integration of curriculum is achieved through the Course Directors of each term.  Vertical integration of curriculum is achieved through the Program Directors.

The Clinical Resources Unit is responsible for outcomes assessment of Terms 1-9 of our Curriculum.  The unit is also responsible for the year four academic program.  The activities are coordinated through the Outcomes Assessment Group, which reports to the Associate Dean of Clinical Resources.

The Research Unit provides all support for the administration of faculty and student research within the School.  The research unit is also responsible for outreach and graduate studies.  The research focus areas are:  Public Health (Epidemiology, Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, Food Safety, Water Quality and Ecosystem Health); Marine Medicine (Aquarium Fish, Food Fish, Marine Turtles and Coral Toxicology); and Teaching Methodologies.

The Student Unit provides support for all academic and nonacademic student support services through the DOS and DES.  The unit is responsible for the work of the Academic Progress Committee.  The Student Government representative and other SVM student organization representatives meet with the SVM Assistant Dean of Students.

The Information Resources Unit coordinates the needs of the SVM Library and Information Resources through the University.  Information Technology (IT) and the University Library Services are managed through University-wide structures.

The Clinical Services Unit is responsible for providing the resources for the academic programs.  The Unit is responsible for providing the resources for Small and Large Animal Clinical Skills.  The Unit is also responsible for the Physical Facilities and Equipment Standard which includes the Health and Safety Program of the School.

The management decision-making body of the SVM, which meets bimonthly, is the SVM Management Team (SVMMT) and it consists of the following:  Dean, Senior Associate Dean, Faculty and Academic Programs; Associate Deans, Learning and Teaching, Clinical Resources, Research, Information Resources and Students; Director, Clinical Services and Academic Program Directors.  The Associate and Assistant Deans and Program Directors lead strategic development in the functional areas above, supported by senior faculty and staff in the units.  All significant budgets are administered through the Academic Programs.

Faculty Governance

While management decisions are made by SVMMT, the SVM’s academic governance is assisted by its committees which are open to all academic members of the faculty.  The SVM has several academic committees that report on a regular basis and those relationships are defined by the SVM Bylaws.  There is student (and/or graduate student) representation on most of the committees.

There are analogous higher-level University committees that reflect the role of the School committees.  The decision-making body of the University is the University Council of Deans (UCD).  The University Senate is a forum for faculty and students and serves as a vital advisory role for the University governance.

The organization and composition of the School of Veterinary Medicine reflects the higher-level structures of the University and allows all required legal, academic and fiscal governance metrics to be addressed adequately.  The budget approval comes from the Chief Financial Officer and the Board of Trustees.  The final decision on how to spend the money comes from the UCD.  The final decision on how to spend the money comes from the UCD.

St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine is fully authorized by the government of Grenada to confer the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree upon those candidates who successfully complete its rigid academic requirements.  The SVM is listed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, and our graduates qualify for entrance into the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) or the Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence (PAVE) certification programs.