2.1 Clinical Student Courses
The School has made good progress in planning to accommodate the increased size of the clinical student cohort from September 2017. From September 2014 we have introduced the new Year 4 (replacing Stage 1) clinical curriculum programme which enables us to embed the new timetable and approach with the existing size cohort before scaling up in September 2017. Key elements of the planning project to mitigate against Risk 3 and Risk 5 in the Register are as follows. We will:
- Finalize the planning for Years 5 and 6 and fine tune any elements of Year 4 as needed based on student and faculty feedback and the results of formative assessment;
- Focus on ensuring, with the increased numbers, that we do not lose one of our key strengths; namely preparing students to be able to understand and utilize research in their clinical practice (including quantitative medicine training) even if they do not follow a clinical academic career path themselves;
- Continue to admit Arts graduates to the Graduate Entry course, recognizing that Cambridge is now one of the few providers for this route of entry (our data show that these students perform very well);
- Develop programmes which highlight at an early stage students interested in staffing shortage areas, such as Psychiatry and General Practice, to introduce them to a full range of opportunities in the specialty and to develop stronger interactions with the relevant faculty.
- Continue to enrol faculty across the region on the staff development programme to ensure regional partner NHS Trusts are able to deliver the new teaching programme;
- Scope and secure the interim arrangements for University examination space needed for existing and forthcoming national online exams (g. the Prescribing Skills Assessment, Situational Judgement Test and future National Licensing exam) prior to the new Examination Halls becoming available on the New Museums site;
- In conjunction with the School of Biological Sciences, continue to develop the preclinical curriculum (especially Anatomy) to make the most of the opportunity to deliver an integrated six year course, while recognizing that for educational reasons some aspects of the curriculum must be covered before the clinical student years;
- Introduce a mobile device app for use by students to obtain immediate feedback on their performance in the clinical setting from the supervising clinicians, which can be used to build a portfolio of experience and achievement;
- Work closely with the Health Education East of England Deanery team to ensure a joined-up approach to educational issues and the transition to F1;
- Address recommendations from the GMC review of the three courses, especially use of formative assessments to reduce exam anxiety amongst students, ensuring that the student apprenticeships in Stage 3/Year 6 are highlighted to the students as a key element of preparing for F1, and complementing quality monitoring via student perceptions and outcomes with data collection and analysis of processes in clinical environments.
2.2 MPhil and MSt courses
New for this academic year is Masters level study for a Genomic Medicine syllabus, aimed at health service professionals. On offer is a comprehensive layered course structure in association with the Institute for Continuing Education (ICE) taking students from Certificate level study through to a full MSt course (as well as offering stand-alone modules for CPD), complemented by a full-time MPhil that started recruiting in September 2015. The School recognizes that the quality of delivery of some of our existing MPhil courses has not been as high as it should be and we are actively addressing this. We will:
- Address the issues raised in the recent PTES survey, together with direct student feedback, to improve our MPhil courses where needed, especially course organization and teaching/contact time;
- Improve methods of obtaining real-time feedback from MPhil students (using experience from the clinical course) to obtain more timely and informative feedback that allows corrections to be made at an earlier point, and that looks at the overall course structure as well as individual lecture of module delivery;
- Provide more support to course organizers through and from the Education Division of the School Office to share experience and successful educational techniques and seek to improve the academic support for course organizers;
- Explore whether more modularization in our MPhil courses will improve critical mass and facilitate students building a course portfolio that better fits their needs and interests;
- Launch the Genomic Medicine MPhil and closely monitor quality in both the MPhil and the new MSt and its layered components;
- Start to recruit this year to the new MSt in Clinical Medicine (Intensive Care Medicine) which is also being offered as a progression from Certificate through to full MSt in conjunction with ICE ;
- Review the classification of courses (“taught” versus “research”) as well as the fee structure to ensure consistency across courses.
2.3 Research Students
Research students, primarily studying for the PhD degree, are a vital component of the research vibrancy of the School. We recognize that there are good prospects to provide an enhanced student experience through developing a Cambridge Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS) programme of international quality with added value over the myriad graduate research opportunities in both Schools already available. We will:
- Working with the School of Biological Sciences, through the joint Graduate Strategy Committee, develop a GSLS programme that is attractive to funders such as the MRC and provides real added value to the current student experience;
- Develop the coherence and support of the GSLS programme via the Strategic Research Initiatives and other funding mechanisms;
- Improve the level of administrative support for graduate education in the School by making clearer links between Departments and Education Division in the School Office (see also paragraph 6.3);
- Although the PRES survey results were generally very positive, address areas of relative weakness identified in questions about “progression” and “admissions” and investigate comments made about computing and library resources.