UNT Health Science Center’s ‘No Medical Student Left Behind’ Program Named Top Innovator in Campus Technology

September 19, 2006

UNT Health Science Center’s Academic Information Services division was named a campus technology innovator for 2006 by Campus Technology magazine.

Overall, the magazine named 16 campus innovators from throughout the nation. There were more than 500 entries for this year’s competition. The health science center group was named the top innovator in the student information systems category for its program “No Medical Student Left Behind.”

The No Medical Student Left Behind program was designed by Jerry Alexander, PhD, director of Academic Information Services. The program is a pro-active counseling approach, allowing faculty members and administrators in the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine to monitor the students’ progress throughout their medical school training.

“When a student is assisted through a proactive approach and is able to successfully graduate, the large investment of the student, as well as the state of Texas, is protected,” Dr. Alexander said.

The No Medical Student Left Behind program was initiated when Dr. Alexander learned from administrators at TCOM that they wanted a better way to track student performance so that they could intervene to help students before it was too late. Academic Information Services designed a program that would provide comprehensive tracking of students, focusing on reports that are available on each student in a real-time, electronic format. As soon as student exams are graded, the information is available online and integrated into the complete academic record.

Data are also available from pre-admission through the most recent test grade so that administrators can review trends and offer help to students who are in need of career advice or academic assistance.

To make the program as user-friendly as possible, Dr. Alexander added color-coding to reflect deviations from the class mean. Green is the optimal color; yellow is a warning, and red is when a student is in trouble.

“Our goal was to make sure that this tool would be used, which is why we have made it so user friendly,” Dr. Alexander said. “We want the program to be intuitive, so that faculty members will use it to track student progress.”

The program has been in existence for less than a year, but administrators and faculty members at the medical school have begun using it to make sure that all TCOM medical students are making progress.

“I use it every day,” said Bruce Dubin, DO, JD, associate dean for medical education and academic affairs at the TCOM. “The program allows me very rapid access to information about students for career counseling and tracking their student success or failure. This pro-active approach allows for rapid interventions for potential student problems. It really is quite an accomplishment.”

An unanticipated result of the No Medical Student Left Behind initiative was the effect it has had on students.

“We were surprised at the level of support and enthusiasm for the project among students,” Dr. Alexander said. “As administrators began using the reports for advising and counseling, news of the project spread among students, and they began to come in and request counseling sessions.”

As the program continues, Dr. Alexander has plans to expand the information available to administrators in the full counseling reports.

“We plan to expand the project’s scope to include more ‘soft’ qualitative information about students, such as their extracurricular activities, interests and career goals,” Dr. Alexander said.

Dr. Alexander presented information about the No Medical Student Left Behind program at the annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, and he will be presenting information about the program at other professional meetings.

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Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail kacolley@hsc.unt.edu.

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