Texas A&M, Cornell Collaborate to Advance Education Research, Expand Pipeline for Underrepresented Students

Texas A&M and Cornell universities have joined forces to advance research on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in veterinary medical education and to expand the pipeline for underrepresented students in the field.

Funded by a $300,000 federal grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), researchers from both universities will work together to develop and study the impact of a comprehensive collection of competency-based educational resources on antimicrobial resistance to aid veterinary education programs throughout the United States.

The three-year grant will finance research focused on the development of multidisciplinary, problem-based lessons on antimicrobial resistance, the creation of an online platform to share educational resources with all veterinary colleges in the U.S., and expanding the pipeline for underrepresented student populations regarding career opportunities in food and agricultural sciences, veterinary medicine, and public health.

“Antimicrobial resistance poses an increasingly serious threat to global health, and veterinarians must be properly equipped to assume leadership roles in addressing this challenge,” said Dr. Kevin Cummings, principal investigator for Cornell University. “Crucial to the success of the AMR mitigation effort is the need to educate a wide variety of stakeholders about proper antimicrobial stewardship in production agriculture.”

Nicola Ritter, principal investigator for Texas A&M University and director of the Center for Educational Technologies (CET), housed in Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), will lead efforts to create the online platform and implement the outreach campaign. The CET will share the lessons created from this project with all U.S. veterinary colleges on an open, online platform.

As a part of the outreach campaign, the Texas A&M team also will share lessons on antimicrobial-resistance topics suitable for undergraduate audiences to four universities within the Texas A&M System that have significant under-represented student populations, including Prairie View A&M University, West Texas A&M University, Texas A&M Kingsville, and Tarleton State University.

“The undergraduate outreach campaign dovetails well with Texas A&M’s initiative to expand veterinary education, research, and outreach into several rural areas of Texas with under-represented student populations,” said Ritter, who is also an instructional assistant professor in the CVM’s Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences (VIBS).

In addition to researchers from Cornell University, the multi-institutional project also includes researchers from Texas A&M’s CVM and College of Education & Human Development.

“These groups understand that it will take multidisciplinary teams to achieve the institution’s goals of transforming education within the Texas A&M University System and around the world,” Ritter said.

The team also links together other female leaders in the field of veterinary medicine education, including:

  • Dr. Virginia Fajt, clinical associate professor in the CVM’s Department of Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology (VTPP) and chair of the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) Antimicrobial Resistance Core Competencies Working Group
  • Dr. Sara Lawhon, associate professor in the CVM’s Department of Veterinary Pathobiology and principal investigator of a synergistic Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded research on antibiotic use, resistance, and stewardship in veterinary practice
  • Dr. Christine Budke, VIBS associate professor, veterinary epidemiologist, and instructor of public health
  • Dr. Meredyth Jones, associate professor in the CVM’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, food animal clinician, and instructor
  • Dr. Jacquline Stillisano, co-director of the Education Research Center in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture

By the end of the project, the team anticipates reaching 3,000 graduates per year from veterinary colleges across the United States and 1,000 undergraduates per year from programs related to animal science.


About Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences was established nearly a century ago to serve the needs of the Texas livestock industry.  Today it serves the largest livestock industry in the U.S., in addition to protecting the health of all animals, people, and the environment in the country’s second-most populous state. It is an innovative leader in veterinary medical education recognized for housing the Center for Educational Technologies and graduating top-quality, practice-ready veterinarians from Texas A&M University, which is the seventh largest university in the nation and a top 20 Tier One research institution.

About Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is recognized internationally as a leader in public health, biomedical research, animal medicine, and veterinary medical education. Ranked the No. 1 veterinary college in the nation by U.S. News & World Report consistently since 2000, the college’s strength is due to the strategic breadth and depth of its programs, to the expertise of its faculty, and to the achievements of its alumni. Cornell awarded the first veterinary degree in the United States to Daniel Salmon, best known for discovering Salmonella, and again made history in 1910 when it awarded the first American woman with a veterinary degree.


For more information about the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive Director of Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; mpalsa@cvm.tamu.edu; 979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)

Texas A&M CVM Launches Innovative Educational Software

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M University today announced the official launch of StepStone, content authoring software that allows educators to create a variety of learning experiences accessible from any Internet-enabled device. StepStone is the creation of The Center for Educational Technologies (CET) within the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). Born out of a desire to empower instructors to develop e-learning materials more quickly and cost effectively, StepStone utilizes a unique customizable template approach to e-learning.

Screenshot of login screenBuilt as a web app, StepStone functions across platforms in modern desktop browsers. The content authoring process allows users to map a learning path using an intuitive navigation system in a responsive environment. Users have the flexibility to customize their content, from a single-screen multiple-choice question to a branching, comprehensive, narrative journey. “We specifically designed StepStone with flexibility in mind,” says Dr. Jodi Korich, director of The Center for Educational Technologies. “Doing so gives educators the freedom to create the e-learning content they need in a manner that is most appropriate for their class. For example, we are currently utilizing StepStone to develop case scenarios for some of our medicine courses, which have proven very popular with our students.”

StepStone contains a Media Manager mode to add images, rich text documents, and streaming video to the educational content, as well as a Preview mode, which offers real-time simulation of the learner experience on a variety of devices. Users have the ability to add high-resolution image zooming, hotspot interaction, streaming HD video, and an optional achievement system to their content, using an expanding library of layouts and presentation formats that makes development fast and easy.

Once the content has been entered into the software, StepStone is used to publish a standards-based, SCORM 1.2-compliant, responsive HTML5 learning package. The learning material can be loaded onto any Learning Management System (LMS), and be accessed on an assortment of desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.

StepStone will be made available through The Center for Educational Technologies, with the goal of fostering new collaborations across veterinary education and with other disciplines. Funding for the development of StepStone was provided by the Office of the Dean at the CVM.

“StepStone is a great example of educational innovation happening here at Texas A&M. Now, we have a scalable solution that allows us to rapidly produce e-learning materials to enhance every course in our veterinary program.” says Dean Eleanor Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Texas A&M University. “Faculty and learners alike will benefit as they are highly engaged in these creative educational experiences.”