Dr. Kathy Michel was appointed Associate Dean of Education for Penn Vet, following the retirement of Dr. Tom Van Winkle. She assumed the position on January 1, 2014.
As Associate Dean, Dr. Michel will ensure that the School maintains its accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. As part of this ongoing process, Dr. Michel will develop evidence-based methods to measure the School’s effectiveness in educating career-ready veterinarians. One such measure will be to define, track, and evaluate students’ clinical competencies.
Another important component of Dr. Michel’s new role will be to lead the charge in assessing the School’s curriculum. “One way to innovate our curriculum is to incorporate areas that have not had a formal emphasis in the past,” Dr. Michel said, including the development of “soft skills” such as business/practice management, professionalism, ethics, and communications.
Penn Vet has always been a leader in veterinary education, and this next phase of curriculum development will undoubtedly carry on that tradition. “Penn Vet leads in providing our students with a rich background in biomedical science and preparing them for incredible, diverse career paths,” Dr. Michel said.
Given her passion for developing curriculum, Dr. Michel also hopes to create professional development opportunities for faculty. “My idea is to help our faculty develop themselves professionally as educators, but do it in a way that is as non-burdensome as possible.”
To this end, she hopes to have valuable resources available for faculty, focusing on topics such as innovation in education, fundamentals of pedagogy, how adults learn, and new ways of delivering information to students.
Dr. Michel is eager to spend more time with Penn Vet students. “Our students are remarkable,” she said. “I never cease to be amazed by their energy, dedication, and the breadth of their interests. It’s such a gift to be able to work with them.”
“I am delighted that Dr. Michel will continue to move our educational program forward. Not only is she a dedicated and innovative teacher herself, but she also brought formal communications training to our curriculum,” said Penn Vet Dean Joan Hendricks.
“Dr. Michel’s steadfast dedication to Penn Vet, along with her enthusiasm and vision for the future will take us to new heights. As she completes her formal training at Penn’s Graduate School of Education, Dr. Michel is poised to professionalize our teaching programs and create pioneering methods for measuring learning and teaching outcomes. We look forward to watching both our faculty and students thrive under her leadership.”
Dr. Michel’s career at Penn spans more than 25 years. In addition to serving as Associate Dean of Education, Dr. Michel is Professor of Nutrition at Penn Vet. She is a Diplomate and former Chair of the Board of Regents of the American College of Nutrition. Her research interests include nutritional assessment, nutritional requirements of hospitalized companion animals, nutrient modulation of gastrointestinal and endocrine diseases, and obesity treatment and prevention.
Dr. Michel received her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and her DVM from Tufts University. She completed a residency in small-animal clinical nutrition and a master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship with the Nutrition Support Service at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
She was awarded the Jack Mara Scientific Achievement Award by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care for her contributions to critical-care nutrition.
She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in medical education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.