The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is dedicated to providing academic resources and programs to support and enhance student learning outcomes through the following components designed to serve the needs of our students.
Retention and career planning services are provided to UTMB students in order to enhance their academic performance and to advance their career goals. The Office of Student Affairs (1) and Student Wellness (2) coordinate comprehensive academic support in order to promote student learning and success. Retention services include academic advising, career advising, screening for learning disabilities, and referrals as necessary. Other programs offered are individualized and group work/workshops on study skills, time management, test-anxiety, stress management national board preparation, and assessment of learning styles. These services are provided by masters and PhD prepared staff in the schools and in Student Wellness. Tutoring services are also available for those students experiencing academic difficulty. Career Counseling (3) is available to students through workshops and individual career counseling sessions and provides employment and residency fairs, resume and curriculum vitae preparation, and – for medical students – an introduction to and assistance with the residency application process, match day, the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) letter, use of the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) system, interviewing, and the personal statement.
UTMB employs an organizational alignment in which the administrative, educational, research, and patient care functions operate under a common information technology infrastructure. Information Services provides institutional information technology infrastructure support, including access management and security, data network, desktop support, help desk support, mainframes and distributed systems, video technical services, and voice communications. Information Services also provides support for most institutional applications.
All classrooms, residence hall rooms, laboratories, and offices on campus have connections to the campus network. Authorized users have access through these connections to institutional administrative systems, web systems, email, Internet 1 and 2, Texas supercomputing resources, the State of Texas-sponsored Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN), and -- through LEARN – to medical and research resources nationwide, including the National Lambda Rail initiative, a high-speed national computer network shared by university research institutions. Wireless computing access points are located throughout campus, primarily in areas having high concentrations of students.
Major personal computer facilities are available to students in the Moody Medical Library, the Jamail Student Center, and the Learning Resources Center in the School of Allied Health Sciences/School of Nursing Building. Other smaller facilities are available in teaching, research, and clinical areas throughout the institution (4).
Moody Medical Library
The Moody Medical Library provides knowledge-based information resources and services for the university community. A staff of 54 full-time employees provides a wide range of library information services and educational programs, including use of the library, local electronic information systems, and external information resources such as those found on the Internet. The library's catalog, in combination with those of the five health science libraries of the Texas Medical Center in Houston, is available online for searching 23 hours per day via the Internet. The library spends approximately $1.5 million each year acquiring access to scholarly materials. The mission of the library is to advance the education, research, patient care, and public service programs of the university by obtaining, applying, and disseminating biomedical information and the tools for its management and use (5) (See Core Requirement 2.9 for a detailed description of the resources and services available through the Moody Medical Library).
Academic Technology Center (ATC)
The ATC, housed in the UTMB library, supports the design and development of curriculum and multimedia instructional materials for a web-based environment. There is a workstation available for faculty to prepare digital imagery for the web, download images from a digital camera, digitize and edit videos, and build and manage websites (6).
Learning Resources Center
Operating as a branch of the Moody Medical Library, the Learning Resources Center (LRC) enhances the instructional, research, and community service missions of the School of Allied Health Sciences (SAHS) and the School of Nursing (SON) through the use of independent learning resources (7). The LRC maintains a select collection of audiovisual materials and a reserve circulating collection of materials identified by faculty for students. The LRC provides 60 workstations in three computer laboratories available for classes, individual use, or in conjunction with the student testing center in the library to test as many as 120 students simultaneously (See Core Requirement 2.9 for a detailed description of the resources and services available through the Learning Resource Center).
Both the Library and the LRC operate with the philosophy that all traditional services should be equally convenient and available to distance learners. Consequently, the Library and the LRC provide a strong information technology infrastructure for students, faculty, and staff. Both facilities are connected to the campus broadband network and both are included in the campus wireless network coverage area. Information on how to access learning resources, including professional assistance, from a distance is given to students during orientation. The library’s staff works with faculty to develop tailored programs for students both in class and at a distance in order to meet specific information educational objectives such as literature searching and information selection and evaluation.
Distance learners have access to the same Library resources as on-site learners. Most access is available through the library’s portal web page. Electronic information resources are accessible remotely to anyone with a valid UTMB student identification card and institutional electronic mail address. Print resources are provided to distance learners via electronic mail or web-based retrieval of scanned pages, surface mail or through reciprocal borrowing/lending agreements with other libraries. Special borrowing/lending agreements are negotiated with specific libraries when learners are based at another campus. The Library also maintains an electronic interlibrary borrowing system, an electronic course reserves system, and an electronic reference question service.
Through its Classroom and Technical Services unit (CTS), UTMB’s Academic Resources division contributes to the university’s teaching, research, and service missions by providing meeting space and teaching/presentation technology services consistent with the current and evolving needs of the students, faculty, and staff. CTS staff assist members of the campus community in scheduling and reserving 44 institutional class and conference rooms and in providing audiovisual and presentation equipment and technical staff assistance. Scheduling services are available via the Academic Resources web site. A list of available rooms, attendance capacities and installed teaching equipment is posted on the Academic Resources web site (8).
Equipment not installed in a given room is available for delivery upon request. Videotaping and editing services also are available. Videoconferencing capabilities for distance education are in place in the four major lecture halls and one classroom in the School of Allied Health Sciences/School of Nursing Building. Highly skilled technical staff are available upon request to operate equipment or deliver and set up equipment to specific classroom locations. Dedicated help phones located near podiums are provided for faculty to quickly summon technical assistance. Performance of regular equipment maintenance in accord with a ten-year plan ensures customer satisfaction and provides a mechanism for this service to keep pace with advancing educational technologies. An advisory committee, with representatives from each school, develops room use guidelines and assists with resolving scheduling issues.
Classroom teaching equipment and control configurations are standardized to make it easier for faculty to move from one facility to the next. UTMB’s ten major teaching auditoria are equipped with a lectern or podium with a stationary microphone and a wireless lavaliere microphone, light and an AMX push-button control for teaching equipment. Each podium has an IBM-compatible personal computer running the Windows XP Professional operating system and linked to the campus network with 100Mb connections. Computers are equipped with Zip, DVD, CD-ROM, and floppy drives, and USB connectors are located conveniently on the podium surface along with an auxiliary network connection for laptop computers. Other installed equipment includes videotape recorder/player, document camera, digital data projector, projection screen, chalk or white boards. Most auditoria have wireless network access ports and many have audience response system capability.
All but seven of the smaller classrooms have the same computing equipment that is available in major auditoria. CTS staff are increasing the installed base of teaching equipment in smaller classrooms each year and provide an extensive array of equipment that can be delivered upon request. This includes data projectors, laptop computers, overhead projectors, slide projectors, public address systems, audience response systems, laser pointers.
Office of Educational Development
The Office of Educational Development (OED) provides an entire range of educational support services for faculty in the School of Medicine (SOM), from evaluation design to analysis. OED also conducts research on medical education topics and provides consultation and mentoring to School of Medicine faculty conducting educational research projects. OED faculty and staff support critical analysis of courses, clerkships, the curriculum as a whole, and focused curriculum development projects. Educational offerings for individual SOM faculty members or departmental workshops (e.g., peer counseling; departmental workshops; etc.) help to enhance professional productivity (9).
Standardized Patient Program
Standardized Patients (SPs) are people who have been carefully selected and trained to portray patients with a specific condition in a consistent and realistic way. They offer students in medical education the opportunity to practice communication and examinations skills and they also provide feedback to the students. The Standardized Patient Program staff is responsible for recruiting and training individuals from the community and surrounding area interesting in becoming standardized patients. They provide students in medical education with standardized learning experiences, while minimizing risk and discomfort to real patients (10).
Nursing Simulation Center
The UTMB SON Nursing Simulation Center (NSC) is a state of the art facility that provides an interactive environment that simulates a variety of clinical settings. The inpatient care lab is equipped with eight completely equipped patient care areas. VitalSim® manikins afford the students multiple opportunities for hands on practice sessions that replicate actual patient care procedures. Sim Man® is a high fidelity programmable manikin that replicates human physiologic responses, including speech capabilities. The Primary Care lab houses fifteen patient examination stations that are utilized to facilitate student learning of physical assessment techniques. Interactive computer assisted instructional programs offer a mechanism for students to reinforce and enhance their education. A selection of videotapes and references textbooks is available for use by students. Simulations focused at the provision of safe and effective maternal child care are conducted in the Hillcrest Foundation Birthing Suite where sophisticated manikins allow students to practice both delivery and care of newborns (11).
The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation has developed an interactive system for the independent adjustment and definition of multiple degree-of-freedom linkage systems representative of human leg and arm motion. The system is built so that once the kinematic structure is defined, control points for interactive definition of muscle-tendon and ligament paths may be manually adjusted and refined. This provides a tool for interactive musculoskeletal modeling and simulation (12).