Committee's Charge



The committee will be comprised of 13 faculty members, including the chair, appointed by the Executive Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs who will represent the Dean for this purpose. Members may be  reappointed upon term completion. College of Medicine and University faculty and staff will serve as consultants to the committee. Additionally, there will be four elected medical student representatives, one from each class.

Faculty members are expected to commit 10% of their time to MSEC activities and to attend 60% of the meetings.

Dean’s Charge for MSEC - Philip C. Bagnell, M.D.
December 5, 2006 

I wish to reconfirm our rural mission and the Charge for MSEC as established by Dr. Paul Stanton approximately ten years ago.  There are some new issues and challenges for the nation and our school and I will briefly identify those educational issues of greatest concern to me at this time. 

·          Our Rural Mission must continue to be our priority and our outcomes measures must continue to follow our success in returning physicians to rural practice in East Tennessee and the Appalachian Region. 

·          There is a national push to increase the class size in our allopathic medical schools.  MSEC will need to advise on this. 

·          Regardless of student numbers or curricular change, academic standards must be maintained.  Our rural communities need the brightest and best.  

·          One unique challenge should be to include the “48 Stigma” of health outcome measures as one of our measures of success. 

·          LCME accreditation is in four years and one of the missions of MSEC is to have our educational programs prepared for this review. 

·          There are known deficiencies in our curriculum.  As we move forward with curricular review the absence of courses such as nutrition, pathophysiology and genomics must be addressed. 

·          Our commencement objectives should be revisited.  These are the guide for course and lecture goals and objectives and they should reflect our educational mission. 

·          Examinations and our global evaluation of our students should be a focus in our curricular review.  The questions we ask on exams and the expectations we establish for student performance are the clearest of all the messages we send our students. 

·          MSEC must continue to communicate regularly with faculty.  We will have regular faculty meetings and the Chair of MSEC will have opportunity to communicate as needed at these meetings.

Dr. Ronald D. Franks: December 2, 1998; November 5, 1997
Dr. Daniel J. Wooten: July 15, 1996

Dr. Ronald D. Franks: December 2, 1998
First, I want to express my sincerest appreciation to each of you for your unyielding commitment to creating the highest quality educational environment for our students. We have had remarkable success with our education program, embarking on some very innovative educational initiatives that have added substantially to the training and professional development of our medical students. Within that context, I extend to your committee the following charge, and ask that you focus on these tasks as part of your oversight and management of our medical student curriculum. I understand that in extending this charge to you, these tasks will present only part of your overall set of responsibilities of oversight and management, yet represent critical elements that, in my opinion, must be addressed if we are to continue to provide national leadership in educating future primary care physicians, especially those headed for practice in underserved, rural settings.

  1. Evaluation of Current Courses and Clerkships. I would ask that you finalize your system for the periodic review of clerkships and courses. The annual reviews of our clerkships/courses have yielded significant information to date, allowing us to improve the quality of these offerings. We need, however, to be more uniform in our approach, and develop data which is more "user friendly," allowing us to better assess the current strengths and weaknesses of our courses and clerkships, which will enable us to develop plans for correcting areas of concern. Further, there should be a method of monitoring the courses and clerkships to determine whether your recommendations have indeed been implemented. I would ask that you complete your design of this course/clerkship evaluation system by the spring of 1999, and begin instituting it as you review the courses/clerkships from the 1998-99 academic year.
  2. Integration of the Basic Science Curriculum. The efforts at improving integration across the first two years of medical school have been extremely positive. Feedback from the students could not be more encouraging; and faculty have noted that the integration has resulted in less unplanned redundancy and an improved learning experience for our students. It is necessary now to determine what the curriculum should look like when we achieve the optimal degree of integration. As I have indicated to you, I am familiar with three models of a more fully integrated curriculum, which may or may not be appropriate for the Quillen College of Medicine, but could serve as a starting point to determine the ultimate design for our basic science curriculum. Specifically, an integrated curriculum could begin with a fundamental section consisting of cell and molecular biology and other fundamental aspects of the basic sciences, followed by an organ system approach, and end with a multi-system section which would emphasize means of understanding the interaction of one organ system with another. As we discussed, this can be done in the first year for the normal body systems, and then, again, in the second year, focusing on the systems and the pathological changes that can occur in each. As an alternative, we could cover the normal and abnormal in each system at the time it is presented, essentially developing a two-year curriculum with one section on each of the major organ systems during that two-year period. The third approach is to identify a set of major chief complaints presented by patients to their physicians, and develop an integrated curriculum driven by these clinical symptoms. This approach is being used by one of the medical schools in Canada, although they have not yet been able to convert their entire basic science curriculum to this model. There are a number of attractive features about this latter approach; however, it is exceedingly complex and would require much more planning than either of the above two models. I would ask that your committee decide on which model would work best for us, either one of these three described above, or some other approach. I would further ask you to develop an implementation plan that would allow the entering class of the fall of 2000 to begin its studies under this new curriculum.
  3. Assessment of Years Three and Four. I understand that you are in the midst of reviewing our current third and fourth year medical student curriculum. I would encourage you to complete that evaluation by the end of this academic year, with specific recommendations on methods by which we can more uniformly evaluate our students' progress, methods by which we can further ensure the comparability of education across the clinical sites, and recommendations concerning the allocation of time for required clerkship experiences, as well as elective and "selective" clinical rotations, with particular focus on the senior year. I would ask that your recommendations be completed by mid-Spring, 1999, thus allowing time for reasonable discussion, so that implementation can occur by July 1, 1999, for our rising third and fourth year students.
  4. Medical School Curriculum Objectives and Outcomes. The current commencement objectives as adopted by MSEC represent a very thorough and effective means of outlining the learning objectives for our students. As it currently exists, however, the process of ensuring that students meet these objectives is overly bureaucratic and cumbersome. Accordingly, I would ask that you review the current list of commencement objectives, update as necessary, and develop a more "user friendly" method of ensuring that our students meet these objectives and document their completion prior to graduation. I would ask that you complete this assignment by January 1, 2000, so that we may begin implementation shortly thereafter.
  5. Development of a Health Focus for the Curriculum. The current curriculum has instituted a number of changes over the last several years, to move it from primarily focusing on the recognition and treatment of disease, to one of determining methods by which our future physicians can assess and improve the health of the entire population of patients for whom they will be responsible. I would ask you to further expand on these changes, such that we develop a "health focus" as opposed to a 'disease focus" as the major underpinning of our medical student education. This effort should be integrated and coordinated with a similar approach being developed for the education of our students from the Division of Health Sciences at large.

Again, let me express my appreciation to each of you for the work you have accomplished in such a short period of time. I am also indebted to you for your willingness to undertake the initiatives as outlined above. I am quite enthusiastic about the changes that will result, knowing that these enhancements will sustain our national leadership in the education of future physicians, especially those headed toward primary care, and in a rural setting.

Ronald D. Franks, M.D.
Dean of Medicine and Vice President for Health Affairs

November 5, 1997 (Dr. Franks)

As the College of Medicine moves forward with its many curriculum innovations, I would ask your assistance in undertaking a review of our current and future initiative in computer-assisted instruction. Specifically, I would ask you to establish a set of goals and objectives together with a list of principles and guidelines to guide the College in the use of computer-assisted instruction. I would also appreciate a recommendation from you as to the resource implications of your recommendations, e.g., software and hardware costs, space needs, etc. Finally, I would ask that you establish a set of procedures which you, or an appointed task force, can use to review requests for institutional resources for computer software to be used in our curriculum. For example, I've received requests from faculty/departments for support from the Dean's Office for software that will either serve as an adjunct or as a core component to a course or clerkship. Before committing school resources, I would like an academic overview of these requests from a college-wide perspective. Thus, I seek your help in determining the most efficient method by which such an academic review should be conducted.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Ronald D. Franks, M.D.
Dean of Medicine and Vice President for Health Affairs

July 15, 1996 (Dr. Wooten)

Dear Committee Members:

Today marks the beginning of a new academic year, new leadership and expanded membership on the Medical Student Education Committee. Building on the successes of the past it is my expectation that we will achieve much in the enhancement of our learning environment. To that end, I charge this committee with the following to be accomplished, at a minimum, during the 1996-97 academic year.

  1. Modify the existing "generalists" general medical education curriculum to fully integrate the basic medical sciences and clinical sciences across years I-IV. The implementation date for these modifications will be July 1, 1997 with a twelve month phase-in period.

  2. Develop a more learner centered model for our medical education program. Using what is generally accepted in Adult Education Theory we should:

    1. decrease the total number of lecture hours and increase the time allotted for independent study,
    2. decrease the total number of lectures and substitute interactive learning tutorials featuring case based and problem based learning, and
    3. increase the use of computer assisted instruction both within and outside the core courses.

    The above must be accomplished while maintaining the integrity of the curriculum content.

  3. Develop a mechanism whereby new and existing curricular themes can be evaluated and integrated longitudinally into the "generalists" curriculum or created as content areas in addition to the core courses. Themes that should be subjected to such mechanisms of review and evaluation include:

    • Ethics
    • Nutrition
    • Clinical Pharmacology
    • Prevention
    • Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Geriatrics
    • Information Management and Technology
  4. A review of the student evaluation process must be accomplished to be consistent with the curricular objectives and to produce appropriate assessments of (1) a knowledge base characterized by breadth, depth, and flexibility; (2) skills in the acquisition and use of knowledge and a commitment to lifelong learning; and (3) sensitivity to the world of the patient.

We can achieve these goals with the broad involvement of faculty and staff in the College of Medicine. You can be assured of my full support and active participation in this project.

Daniel J. Wooten, M.D.
Executive Associate Dean