Friday, August 29, 2008

learning by doing

I spent the past three days interviewing students and faculty in the UAC-CP's veterinary program. I found it interesting that every single person talked about the importance of having hands-on opportunities for learning. Of course, they explained, it's necessary to study theories and concepts in the classroom, but to truly understand what they are learning, they must put it into practice.

There are a variety of ways for students to gain practical experience at the College. All students in the vet program must take turns caring for the animals, mixing and preparing animal feed, slaughtering hogs and chickens, working in the meat factory, managing the marketing and sale of meat products, etc.

Dr. Martin Morales, director of the veterinary science program, pointed out that the modulos (learning labs) allow upperclass students to cultivate leadership skills as they coordinate learning projects for younger classmates. He also noted that several students have started research projects based on their module experiences. "There is no better way to learn than by doing," said Dr. Martin.

A vet student slices ham in the College's meat factory. The UAC-CP packages and sells pork and chicken products under their own brand: SUMA.

Anatomy students watch closely as their professor, Dr. Fernandez, demonstrates how to dissect a dog.

Thesis student Dany Chambi manages the laboratories on Campus Manning. She explained that while the College doesn't have lots of equipment, the items they do have help students perform on-site research projects. Without labs, UAC-CP students would have to travel to La Paz and pay for the use of laboratory equipment.


Eighth semester vet students, Walter and Sydney, humored me by taking a break from cleaning the hog farm to pose for a Bolivian version of American Gothic

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