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Small Development Projects 2014 - SDP2014-02 Bristol - Championing experiential leadership development for veterinary professionals: Poster

University of Bristol
Championing experiential leadership development today to inspire innovation tomorrow.

The outcomes of this project are:

  • Workshop: 20 veterinary higher education professionals from seven UK veterinary schools attended 2 experiential leadership training workshops. For more information on the workshops please contact the project lead.
  • An example poster from the workshops:  SDP2014-02 Bristol - Championing experiential leadership development for veterinary professionals: Poster

University of Bristol - Original Proposal

Project Lead:
Dr Fabienne Uehlinger; University of Bristol, School of Veterinary Sciences, Langford House, Langford, BS40 5DU 

Steering Group Members:

  • Dr Amanda de Mestre; Royal Veterinary College
  • Professor Sarah Baillie; University of Bristol
  • Dr Jackie Cardwell; Royal Veterinary College
  • Dr Chris Palgrave; University of Bristol
  • Professor Sue Gregory; Royal Veterinary College
  • Professor Stephen May; Royal Veterinary College

Administrative home HEI:
University of Bristol, School of Veterinary Sciences, Langford House, Langford, BS40 5DU.

Aims and Objectives:
The aim of this proposal is to improve leadership skills in veterinary HE professionals.

The objective is to address the lack of veterinary team leadership capacity in veterinary schools by enabling 20 veterinary HE professionals from the 7 UK schools to attend two leadership training sessions (1 and 1.5 days’ duration) in 2014, and then to consolidate their skills by acting as facilitators at a Veterinary Team Leadership and Professionalism (VTLP) undergraduate programme in 2014.

The outcomes will be:

  1. to champion a multi-institutional, inter-professional veterinary team leadership approach, thereby promoting a national network of educators who share an innovative leadership vision;
  2. to deliver to veterinary HE professionals the resources and capability to incorporate leadership training into their curriculum and to deliver an annual leadership course independently and appropriate to the context of UK veterinary professional curricula.

Ultimately, this will allow HE veterinary educators to improve leadership in multi-disciplinary teams and at multiple levels.

This meets the Leadership Foundation’s aims and objectives by

  • Stimulating, investigating, creating, expanding, and sharing relevant and innovative practice in HEP leadership governance and management.
  • Developing networks and communities of practice amongst veterinary educators and to support collaborations.

The modern veterinary profession is highly team-oriented including veterinary surgeons, nurses and scientists from diverse backgrounds working together to ensure excellence in clinical services, research, industry and teaching. Effective leadership of these multi-disciplinary teams requires competencies beyond technical knowledge including self- and social awareness, emotional intelligence, effective communication and organisational skills. While HE veterinary professionals recognize the importance of equipping students with these non-technical proficiencies, leadership training skills and resources are currently lacking amongst UK veterinary educators. Thus many veterinary schools do not have a systematic approach to leadership development for undergraduate students. Imparting pioneering leadership abilities and resources to educators will enhance the student experience and empower veterinary professionals at all levels.

In 2013, a pilot leadership course titled ‘Veterinary Team; Leadership and Professionalism’ (VTLP) was delivered to undergraduate students. This experiential learning course was organized by a multi-disciplinary team from 3 UK veterinary schools and facilitated by an experienced veterinary leadership educator, Prof. Rick DeBowes (Washington State University), co-creator of the highly successful, award-winning Veterinary Leadership Experience delivered annually to veterinary students in North America. During the 3-day UK residential programme, 40 veterinary medicine, nursing and bioscience students from different veterinary schools explored innovative, inter-professional leadership skills. Participants’ feedback demonstrated that the course significantly improved leadership understanding and reactions to the course were consistently positive.

However, it became evident that in order to successfully embed leadership teaching into the core veterinary curriculum, leadership-specific teaching skills needed to be developed amongst HE veterinary educators.

Veterinary HE professionals from 7 UK veterinary schools will attend two leadership training sessions in spring (1 day) and summer (1.5 days) 2014. A UK experiential learning enterprise will facilitate the first training; Prof. Rick DeBowes will lead the second training immediately before the 2nd VTLP course in September 2014.

Leadership training will be imparted through experiential learning, an adult learning style associated with deep learning through enhancement of self-awareness and reflection. Training will focus on emotional intelligence; professional respect; organisational learning; and challenging current leadership paradigms.

Subsequently, participants will help facilitate the national VTLP event, thereby consolidating their skills and expanding their competencies. Strategies and resources will be developed to bring leadership competency training into UK veterinary professional curricula and continuation of the annual national inter-professional VTLP event will be pursued.

Questionnaires and focus groups will be used to evaluate the trainings and the national event.

Outputs and dissemination:

  • 20 HE professionals from UK veterinary schools will attend 2 leadership trainings and facilitate a national inter-professional leadership event for undergraduate students.
  • A multi-institutional veterinary team leadership training strategy and resources will be developed.
  • Summary reports of trainings, ‘lessons learned’ and ‘steps forward’ will be prepared for participating institutions’ senior management teams.
  • Focus group analyses findings will be disseminated at participating institutions and other appropriate events (‘road shows’).
  • Activities will be highlighted via universities’ twitter feeds and Facebook sites; veterinary press (e.g. Veterinary Record, Veterinary Times); communities of practice (e.g. Network Of Veterinarians in Continuing Education); at conferences (e.g. annual HEA Sector conference; Veterinary Education Symposium); and in the Leadership Foundation’s publications.
  • One manuscript will be prepared for a peer-reviewed education journal.

Veterinary HE professionals will be better equipped to develop resources and to incorporate leadership training in the curriculum, thereby enhancing student experience and institutional capacity. A UK-wide, multi-institutional, inter-professional network of veterinary HE professionals will be created and will foster an environment for a systematic approach to leadership development that can lead to transformational change in the profession.


Quarter    1

Plan training sessions
End of month 2: training session 1 & evaluation
Plan training session 2 considering feedback from session 1

Quarter 2

Training session 2 & facilitation of national VTLP course

Quarter 3

Evaluate training session 2 & national VTLP course
Prepare dissemination material
Develop leadership training strategy & resources for UK veterinary curricula

Quarter 4

Dissemination continued
Develop leadership training strategy & resources for UK veterinary curricula continued

SDP2014-02 Bristol - Championing experiential leadership development for veterinary professionals: Poster
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