Using alumni research to assess a veterinary curriculum and alumni employment and reward patterns

J Vet Med Educ. Spring 2002;29(1):20-7. doi: 10.3138/jvme.29.1.20.


Rationale for the study: The purpose of the study was to obtain an outcomes assessment of the professional degree program of a veterinary college and to determine whether recently published national gender differences were true for a program that has always been predominantly female.

Methodology: A survey was developed and mailed to all alumni of the veterinary degree program at North Carolina State University. Anonymous responses were collected by an independent organization for summation. Results were expressed numerically where possible, although the survey included numerous opportunities for textual responses. Responses were stratified by year of graduation, in five-year increments, and by gender of the respondents.

Results: Sixty-one percent of graduates remained within North Carolina. While most of the prerequisite courses were considered useful preparation for the curriculum, physics and calculus were exceptions. Over half the alumni thought time allocations to specific courses were appropriate. However, there were substantial differences between courses. The alumni were satisfied with most aspects of the training program, although there were differences between various components. There were substantial gender differences in length of first employment, salaries, species treated, practice ownership and type of ownership, and career satisfaction. Most alumni work in small animal private clinical practice. Ninety-four percent were employed within three months of graduating. Ninety-five percent did no work with the state's predominant agricultural species. Nineteen percent of alumni were either unsure, probably would not, or definitely would not become a veterinarian if they could choose again.

Conclusion: The survey was a tremendously valuable source of information. Results provided support for curricular revision. The survey also provided comparative data in relation to national norms, where such norms were available. Unfortunately, few reports of this type are available, making inter-institutional comparisons difficult. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges could assist with standardizing the process of outcomes assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Curriculum
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Education, Veterinary / standards*
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • North Carolina
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Quality Control
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Veterinarians / statistics & numerical data*