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M1 Students

Letter to M1s

Update: Friday, May 8, 2020


This has been a particularly busy week in regard to issues, concerns, and questions regarding M1s. My hope, here, is that I can address some of those.

Virtual Delivery of Semester 2

After reviewing the current information regarding CoVid-19, the recommendations regarding social distancing and safety, and listening to stakeholder concerns, the School of Medicine leadership made the decision to complete Semester 2 through virtual delivery.

Status of Semester 3

The provost has indicated a preference for in-person classes in the fall. With that said, this is an ever-changing landscape. We will make a decision in the next few weeks and will notify you as soon as that decision is made. Please note, Semester 3 Orientation is mandatory, whether virtual or in-person, so plan accordingly.

ExamSoft Proctoring

You Said/We Did: You requested proctoring for online exams. While we began with Zoom proctoring, it has become unsustainable—it requires an inordinate amount of proctors and support staff from OAT and it does not provide the level of rigor you requested. Therefore, Jennifer Maldonado-Castillo and her team vigorously pursued viable options, and with Interim Dean Waer’s financial support, she was able to procure ExamSoft’s proctoring services. The initiation of this service was held on Friday, May 1st. Eighty-nine of you attended this mock exam session where you expressed at least three important concerns.

You said/We did:

  • Implementation timeline—Because of your expressed concerns and the need to introduce all students to this new proctoring system, we made the decision to delay the implementation until the Respiratory Block. If you did not attend the mock exam session last Friday or if you did not complete the session, you will need to attend a subsequent session. Be on the lookout for emails from Jennifer Maldonado-Castillo, announcing these sessions.
  • The use of virtual scratch paper—We understand your need to use actual scratch paper and will be able to provide that option.
  • The use of biometrics—While we recognize this was a concern for some of you, it is important for you to understand you have already provided this information to ExamSoft; and in order to provide the kind of proctoring you requested, the system requires the use of facial recognition. In short, we cannot provide the level of proctoring you asked for without providing ExamSoft the biometric information they need.

Use of NBMEs

  • NBME CAS Exams - At this time, the NBME has provided only one fixed 75-item exam for each organ system. This “fixed” exam cannot be changed in any way—no questions added, taken away, or modified. Each block’s course directors are reviewing their “fixed” exam and making a determination whether to use the exam, potentially as a final exam. At this time, CV and Respiratory course directors have decided not to use this exam.
  • NBME Comprehensive Exam—This exam is still scheduled for Friday, June 19th and you should plan accordingly.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any additional questions or concerns!

Kindest regards,
Dr. T. Gail Pritchard, PhD

Class of 2023 Curricular Update

Updated:  Monday, March 16, 2020, at 4:26 PM

Dear MS1s,

We understand you are anxious to know how the semester will play out during the next few weeks and in particular we need to clarify what your responsibilities are for this week. We are also aware of previous communications and guidance (TAMU and TAMU-COM) on the coursework for this week. Please be aware that as we assess all issues and evolving requirements, updates may require modification of prior directives, and we are ready to consider your input. Our goal is to ensure continuity in meeting program objectives and graduation requirements while making sure all of our stakeholders are safe.

With regards to the announcement of Provost Fierke regarding classes for this week, March 16-20, including “No assignments, exams, or quizzes” until March 23, 2020”; some graduate student programs are allowed an exception. Students in the School of Medicine are considered professional students and are afforded such an exception to Provost’s Fierke’s announcement. Although no new assignments are planned, the previously defined curricular material should still be learned.  

Because the academic semester will not be extended and the course schedules must be maintained, you are responsible for learning this week’s course content and preparing for upcoming exams. Course directors and coordinators will be contacting you regarding recorded lectures, handouts, activities, quizzes, and exams.

Please watch your email for further information and as always, if you have questions, please contact your course directors, course coordinators, or Academic Affairs Leadership.

Amy Waer, MD
Interim Dean
Executive Dean of Education and Academic Programs

Gail Pritchard, PhD
Assistant Dean—PreClerkship for Academic Affairs

Jeremy Gibson, MD
Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Danielle Dickey, EdD
Director for Educational Affairs and Accreditation