« Back

Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9

The institution provides appropriate academic support services. (Academic support services)

√ CompliantNon-Compliant


The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) is dedicated to providing academic support services to both students and faculty in order to enhance student learning outcomes through shared computer support; academic resources for study, testing, and distance learning; personalized attention at the University and individual school levels; and innovative specialized teaching laboratories and programs. UTMB support services are consistent with the University's mission, vision, and values statements (1) and with its educational goals (2). These goals include providing “innovative educational programs and curricula,” developing “the infrastructure and…resources needed to increase student enrollment and enhance student success, and “expand interprofessional educational opportunities.”

UTMB employs an organizational alignment in which the administrative, educational, research, and patient care functions operate under Information Services (IS), a shared information technology infrastructure (3). IS 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. All classrooms, residence hall rooms, laboratories, and offices at UTMB have connections to this University network. Authorized users have access through these connections to 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 multiple research institutions. Wireless computing access points are located throughout the University, 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 Health Professions/School of Nursing building. Other smaller facilities are available in teaching, research, and clinical areas throughout the institution (4).

The mission of Academic Resources is to create access to scholarly information and develop innovative knowledge management services and products. These services and products are provided through Moody Medical Library, which includes the Online Testing Center and access to academic services for distance education students, and Classroom and Technical Services. The Library also provides workstations 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.

Moody Medical Library
The Moody Medical Library, currently undergoing extensive renovations, provides knowledge-based information resources and services for the entire University community. A staff of 42 full-time employees provides a wide range of library information services and educational programs. The Library's catalog, in combination with those of the five health science libraries of the Texas Medical Center in Houston, is available online to students both in Galveston and at a distance for searching 24 hours per day. The Library spends approximately $2.3 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 Federal Requirement 2.9 for a detailed description of the resources and services available through the Moody Medical Library.)

Online Testing Center. A new 1,600 square foot student Online Testing Center opened on January 2, 2013. The new facility is centrally located on the first floor of the newly remodeled Research Building 6, formally Children’s Hospital (6). It has two large rooms, each equipped with 150 computers, four proctor stations, and overhead monitoring camera systems. These rooms can be subdivided by electronically controlled partition walls that allow faculty access to testing in four separate rooms for 75 students each. An electronic sound system can be activated that allows instructions to all 300 students from one room. Additionally, the Center has twelve special accommodation rooms equipped with computers, a proctor station, and overhead camera monitoring.

The Moody Medical Library has a testing room located on the second floor, equipped with 68 computers and an overhead projector (7). Also on the same floor, an additional smaller testing space is available with 12 computers and an overhead projector. Two additional testing spaces equipped with computers and overhead projectors are located in the Learning Resource Center, School of Nursing/School of Health Professions Building.

Online testing is also available in proctored testing centers around the state and via the University network and Internet. Testing software varies by school and applications and includes Scantron PAR System, LXR, Questionmark Perception (8), and Blackboard (9). Respondus Campus (10) is also used to prepare question banks and examinations for use in Blackboard. In addition to online examinations in the UTMB testing centers, PAR is also used to score and analyze examinations given on paper. LXR has been used mostly as a question bank database and to prepare paper-based exams. Perception and Blackboard are used for proctored and unproctored tests by on-site and distance education students.

By the 2013–2014 academic year, Perception 5 will be the standard for high-stakes examinations and Blackboard for low-stakes tests and quizzes. Academic Computing has provided server administration and application management support for all of the above assessment products. Support and expertise have also been developed at the program and department level for individual products. As Perception 5 becomes established as the standard, centralized support will be provided by the Business and Academic Systems group in the Provost Operations and Fiscal Affairs office.

Between February 1, 2012 and February 1, 2013, 241,168 academic examination attempts were recorded in Blackboard. As measured by the annual UTMB Student Satisfaction Survey, which surveys student attitudes towards a wide range of academic support services, satisfaction with online testing is generally favorable (11). Distance education students, who use the software more than students in Galveston, rate satisfaction higher when asked about individual testing applications (PAR, Perception); in the 2012 satisfaction survey less than 50% of non-distance students rated PAR and Perception testing as satisfied or very satisfied. Since many of the testing softwares are used by individual programs in a school, this may be from students evaluating a product they have not actually experienced. Academic Resources will continue to monitor student satisfaction with these products.

Distance Learners. The Library operates under the philosophy that all traditional services should be equally convenient and available to distance learners. Consequently, the Library provides a strong information technology infrastructure for students, faculty, and staff. Information on how to access learning resources from a distance, including professional assistance, is available to distance education students (12). 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 webpage (11). 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, Web-based retrieval of scanned pages, surface mail, or through reciprocal borrowing and lending agreements with other libraries. The Library also maintains an electronic interlibrary borrowing system, and an electronic reference question service. Experienced and service- oriented librarians are accessible in person, on the phone, and via text and online chat (12).

Classroom and Technical Services
Through its Classroom and Technical Services unit (CTS), UTMB’s Academic Resources division assists faculty with computing and technology needs in the teaching classrooms. The CTS staff 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 University community in scheduling and reserving 48 institutional class and conference rooms and in providing audiovisual and presentation equipment and technical staff assistance. A list of rooms, attendance capacities, equipment and scheduling services are available on the Classroom Services website (13).

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 13 classrooms. 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 the UTMB classroom futures study (14) ensures customer satisfaction and provides a mechanism for this service to keep pace with advancing educational technologies.

Classroom teaching equipment and control configurations are standardized to make it easier for faculty to move from one facility to the next. UTMB’s classrooms 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 a computer that is linked to the University network. Most classrooms have wireless access ports. Other installed equipment includes videotape recorder/player, document camera, digital data projector, projection screen, laser pointers, and chalk or white boards.

Academic support services are provided both University-wide through the Office of University Student Services and through retention and career planning services at individual schools and departments within those schools.

Office of University Student Services.
To ensure students have knowledge of academic support programs, the Office of University Student Services provides this information in the New Student Orientation Handbook given to every student attending the Welcome Week Program (15). That information is also available in the Student Services office. Components of the Office of University Student Services include:

Student Ombudsman. An ombudsman in the Office of University Student Services is available to students who have conflicts involving the University, want to discuss problems, need information regarding policies and procedures, seek mediation of a dispute, or feel they have been unfairly treated. The ombudsman will determine the student’s preferred method of contact for further discussion and set up consultation to consider potential remedies or strategies that might lead to resolution (16).

Student Health/Counseling and Psychological Service. Student Health (17) and Counseling and Psychological Services (18) provide a holistic approach to caring for students. Primary care services include physicals, well woman exams, family planning, screening and administration of required immunization and TB skin testing, and evaluation and treatment of minor illness and injury. Access and referral to counseling services for academic, psychological, and mental health issues are available, as well as support or consultative services for staff, faculty, or others concerned about the safety or well-being of students. Both appointment scheduling and walk-in services are available and assessment and treatment of occupational exposures to blood and body fluids or other communicable diseases are treated immediately. Prescription refills are provided in a safe and confidential manner. The providers include nurse practitioners, registered nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed professional counselors. UTMB’s Department of Family Medicine provides medical consultation and will see students who request or need to be seen by a physician. Student Health hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. After hours, student may call the UTMB Access Center for appointments and prescription assistance. Nurse triage services are available 24 hours a day with physician back-up available for consultation.

Students with Disabilities. Services for students with disabilities are located within the Office of University Student Services and operate in coordination with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion and with the Student Affairs officer in each of the four UTMB schools (19). Within Student Services, students with disabilities receive individual, academic, and interpersonal counseling about their individualized learning needs in classroom environments. The Student ADA Coordinator meets with students on a regular basis to assess their academic progress, study skills, and relationships with fellow students and faculty. The Student ADA Coordinator also offers individual consultations with faculty training on topics related to medical, learning, and psychological disabilities, as well as UTMB policies regarding students with disabilities (20).

School-based Academic Support Services
Retention and career planning services are provided to UTMB students in order to enhance their academic performance and to advance their career goals. The schools of medicine, nursing, and health professions maintain offices of Student Affairs (21) (22) (23) headed by an assistant dean, associate dean, or director. The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences provides student affair services through the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs, following policies for student affairs addressed in their bylaws (24). Together with Student Health and the Counseling and Psychological Service in the Office of University Student Services, they coordinate comprehensive academic support in order to promote student learning and success. 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 master and Ph.D. prepared staff in the schools. Tutoring services are available to all students interested in improving their academic performance. Career Counseling (25) is available to students through workshops and individual career counseling sessions and provides employment and residency fairs, resume and curriculum vitae preparation. Medical students also receive 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 writing a personal statement.

Academic support programs, including tutoring, are available at the individual school level for SON and SHP students in distant sites through Blackboard, videoconferences, and Skype (26) (27).

Nursing Interprofessional Simulation Center
The Nursing Interprofessional Simulation Center (NISC) is a state-of-the-art training facility designed to prepare future nursing professionals for the rigorous demands of health care practice (28). The Simulation Center leverages the latest in static, computer-based, and high-fidelity nursing education technology in an environment designed to develop critical thinking. Simulation learning offers valuable, controlled learning experiences that are difficult to obtain in actual on-site clinical experiences. Learners that have the ability to practice knowledge-in-action develop the skills they need to be able to intervene quickly when patients are critical. The Center encompasses several distinct settings, including an acute care laboratory, a primary care laboratory, the Hillcrest Foundation Birthing Suite, and an entirely simulated hospital floor. The Center also includes a variety of high- and mid-fidelity patient simulators, virtual reality programs, and task trainers that are used to increase knowledge through innovative and active learning endeavors. A student resource center, the ANNEX, is specifically designed to provide students with the targeted assistance needed to help them develop their skills and perform successfully.

The inpatient and primary care labs facilitate student learning of physical assessment techniques, communication, and electronic charting. Interactive computer-assisted instructional programs offer a mechanism for students to reinforce and enhance their education. The computer-based pediatric, birthing, infant, and adult patient simulators are able to respond to student interventions with real human physiologic responses in a realistic environment.

Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy programs in the SHP utilize the Simulation Center for testing students’ examination and intervention skills, as well as for practice laboratories when inpatient simulation enhances the learning of acute care practice.

Patient Simulation Center
The UTMB Patient Simulation Center has been in existence since 2001. It is run by the Department of Anesthesiology and is dedicated to improving the care of all patients through the use of immersive education to improve both technical and non-technical skills. The Center has four different high fidelity mannequins (adult, child, baby, and portable unit), and these mannequins have a mathematically modeled physiology to more accurately simulate human physiologic responses. Although primarily used to train anesthesia residents, the Center has also run several workshops and airway courses for medical students and has recently added courses for the School of Nursing. The Center consists of two clinical areas (one set up as an operating room and the other can be configured as any other hospital area), a control room, and a conference room. All rooms are wired for video capture (29).

Standardized Patient Program
Standardized Patients (SPs) are people who portray patients with a specific condition consistently and realistically. The Standardized Patient Program staff recruits and trains community-based individuals to be standardized patients (30). SPs offer health professions students the opportunity to practice communication and physical examination skills without subjecting actual patients to risk or discomfort. With additional training, SPs also provide reliable performance feedback to students. In addition to providing standardized learning experiences, SPs are also extensively used by the SOM, SON, and SHP to assess students’ clinical skills in standardized, realistic settings. The SOM uses a specific OSCE, the Integrated Curriculum Evaluation Exercise, as a summative clinical skills assessment prior to graduation (31).

Surgical Simulation Center
The UTMB Surgical Simulation Center is dedicated to improving the care of all surgical patients through the use of simulation-based technical and non-technical skills training for all providers who care for surgical patients. The Center's curricula include a basic open surgical skills workshop for medical students rotating through surgery, an elective rotation for fourth-year medical students going into surgery that teaches the skills necessary to be a safe, competent resident, a series of workshops for new interns, a series of technical and non-technical skills training sessions for all surgical residents, and focused offerings for faculty. The Center also offers a robotic surgery curriculum for residents and faculty and inter-professional team training for undergraduate medical and nursing students, hospital RNs, and residents (32). The Surgical Simulation Center is in the process of applying for accreditation by the American College of Surgeons as a Level 1 Comprehensive Educational Institute (33).

1 UTMB Mission, Vision, and Values
2 UTMB Institutional Goals: Education
3 IS System Status
4 Computer Access and Support for UTMB Students
5 Moody Medical Library Mission and Vision
6 Online Testing Center
7 Moody Medical Library Online Testing Center
8 Questionmark Perception Assessments
9 Blackboard Tutorials and Help Links
10 Respondus
11 Student Satisfaction Survey
12 Accessing Learning Services at a Distance
13 Library Web Portal
14 Distance Learner Access to Librarians
15 Classroom and Technical Services
16 Classroom Futures Study/10-Year Facilities Master Plan
17 New Student Orientation Handbook
[Hard copy]
18 Student Ombudsman
19 Student Health
20 Counseling and Psychological Services
21 Students with Disabilities
22 UTMB Handbook of Operating Procedures; Section 7, Student Policies; Policy 7.1.1, Students with Disabilities
23 Office of Student Affairs, School of Medicine
24 Academic and Student Affairs, School of Health Professions
25 Student Affairs, School of Nursing
26 GSBS Bylaws, Student Affairs, pp. 7-8.
27 Career Counseling
28 Academic Support Programs for Off-Campus Students, School of Health Professions
29 Academic Support Programs for Off-Campus Students, School of Nursing
SON Student Handbook, 2012, pp. 45-47
30 Nursing Interprofessional Simulation Center
31 Patient Simulation Center
32 Standardized Patient Program
33 Integrated Curriculum Evaluation Exercise
34 Residency in General Surgery
35 American College of Surgeons Accredited Education Institutes

Right Column

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, test link adipiscing elit. Nullam dignissim convallis est. Quisque aliquam. Donec faucibus. Nunc iaculis suscipit dui. Nam sit amet sem. Aliquam libero nisi, imperdiet at, tincidunt nec, gravida vehicula, nisl. Praesent mattis, massa quis luctus fermentum, turpis mi volutpat justo, eu volutpat enim diam eget metus. Maecenas ornare tortor. Donec sed tellus eget sapien fringilla nonummy. Mauris a ante. Suspendisse quam sem, consequat at, commodo vitae, feugiat in, nunc. Morbi imperdiet augue quis tellus.