June 2014 | ISSUE 12
Reflections on the first year

By Associate Professor Naomi Low-Beer
Vice-Dean for Education

As I write this, our students are entering the final week of the Year One curriculum and will soon be immersed in preparation for their exams.  All of us who have been through medical school or taught medical students understand the pressures they are under and we wish them the very best.

As a new school, the first academic year is a milestone both for the students and for the development of the School.  Medical training involves many key events and completing the first year of study is, of course, an important one. Over this academic year, our inaugural cohort of 54 students has exceeded expectations. Their hard work and academic ability are perhaps unsurprising; but their enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and creativity have been quite remarkable. This is evident not only from their activities in class, but also from their contribution to other areas of school and university life, their involvement in community outreach, and their commitment to welcoming and supporting their juniors. They are LKCMedicine’s greatest ambassadors.

We have also valued their feedback. Our unique IT-enabled curriculum, including innovations in Team-Based Learning (TBL), early clinical contact and simulation, has been very well received. No education programme is perfect. At LKCMedicine, we pride ourselves on the importance we give to Student Voice; we gather feedback regularly, respond to students in a timely way and fine-tune the curriculum where necessary.  

The Imperial curriculum team has also had a busy and productive year, working in collaboration with colleagues at LKCMedicine. The Year Two curriculum – including 177 voiceover PowerPoints, 27 iBook chapters, 1,354 TBL readiness assessment tests and 77 application exercises – is near completion and excellent progress is being made on the later years of the curriculum. The teams involved have been doing a fantastic job, often working under pressure to meet tight deadlines.

A consistently positive theme in Student Voice is the value students place on their interactions with staff. This highlights the dedication of our faculty. Not only do they teach to the highest standards, but they also have extensive involvement in curriculum development and exams. Some have additional roles as house tutors and many provide support and mentorship to students informally, ranging from conversations outside the classroom, to involvement in sporting and musical events, and community outreach.  None of these would be possible without the input of the Academic Affairs team – the smooth running of all the teaching, welfare and student life activities is testimony to their hard work and commitment. 

Of course, the success of LKCMedicine goes beyond the delivery of our undergraduate curriculum. We have an internationally renowned research faculty and a visionary research strategy in place. We are leveraging – in both education and research – on the strengths of NTU, Imperial  and our clinical partners.

At this key milestone in the education of our students and development of the School, I am immensely proud of the achievements of our inaugural students and of our talented, dedicated team of staff.