When Dr. Marcel D’Eon was named as the College of Medicine’s 2016 Provost’s College Award winner for Outstanding Teaching, it was for his work behind the scenes on something that affects every student at the college.
D’Eon, who was the chair of the curriculum committee that initiated the 2+2 curriculum a few years ago, played an instrumental role launching the curriculum revision, and then led the working group that designed the new curriculum.
“Most everybody in North America already had a 2+2 curriculum,” D’Eon explained. “Twenty-plus years ago we went from five years to four-year curriculums, and most places went to 2+2. We went to 2.5+1.5 — people didn’t think we could teach enough before the students went into the hospitals, so we found that we were considerably out of sync compared to how the rest of the country was organizing their transition from classroom pre-clerkship, to clerkship, then to residency.
“So our students were at a considerable disadvantage – they didn’t have as much hospital and real clinical experience before they had to match to a residency program.”
And the worry, according to D’Eon, was that our students didn’t have enough experience to know what all the specialties were, and didn’t have either the experience or the electives to present themselves at their best when it came time to finding a CaRMS residency match.
D’Eon, and the committee, also took the curriculum restructuring as an opportunity to re-visit the way courses were being delivered and organized to provide a better product to the students.
“It was very satisfying to see so many people working so hard to make this change successful,” D’Eon said. “I’m particularly gratified and extremely happy to see how many people in the CoM have embraced the change and the opportunity to re-think how courses are organized, delivered, and how dedicated they are to the student experience, how committed they are to quality medical education.”
D’Eon himself isn’t an MD. A former naval officer, D’Eon was educated at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario before working as a teacher for 16 years, during which time he completed a master’s degree in education.
“Then I decided I wanted a career move, so I came back here and completed a PhD in education,” D’Eon continued. “I thought I was going to work in the school system somewhere as an educational consultant, and discovered higher education and medical education instead. I modified my program to focus on higher education and faculty development for university teachers who are predominantly and overwhelmingly content experts, but have received little or no formal training on teaching.”
Following his graduation in 1997, D’Eon was hired by the CoM as a special lecturer, before earning a faculty position.
The Provost’s College Awards, hosted annually by the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness, recognizes an outstanding teacher at each of the University of Saskatchewan’s colleges. The recipients are also given $1,000 to be used to support a project or scholarship in teaching and learning.
Dr. Soo Y. Kim, at the School of Physical Therapy, also earned a Provost’s Award – hers for Outstanding Graduate Teaching, which is awarded to an outstanding teacher who demonstrates excellence in teaching courses at the graduate level.