Greetings from the University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth campus OSR! The position of OSR is unique. We have the wonderful privilege to serve as liaison with other medical schools and organizations to better our education. It serves as an opportunity to collect and represent unique qualities of medical schools and curricula. Of recent interest is the proposal to remove honors from the first two years of medical school.
The concept to remove honors at the University of Minnesota originated from the Duluth campus in observation of other medical education curricula around the country. Dr. Alan Johns, the Associate Dean of Curriculum at Duluth, stated that originally most students were against the idea. They cited concerns of falling academic standards and loss of personal goals. Some faculty have voiced similar concerns.
Since all concerns were valid, an effort to collect research ensued. Numerous medical schools around the country were transitioning to the pass/fail system. Cited reasons for the switch are numerous. For example, honors requirements vary widely across courses and campuses, and residencies typically do not take high consideration of honors in the first 2 years. With the pass/fail system, data has shown improved student environments with decreased stress and increased collaboration. And interestingly, no marked fall in academic performance has been observed.
While there are legitimate pros and cons to each system, considering this new data, students on both campuses of the University of Minnesota Medical School were polled. The vast majority elected to remove the honors system in favor of a pass/fail system for the first two academic years. A proposal was crafted, and it has recently passed the Curriculum Committees on both campuses. The proposal now will go to the Education Council within the next couple weeks. If accepted, the proposal will continue to the Medical School Dean for final decision.
We are the UMN Medical School - Twin Cities Student Representatives to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). As representatives, we are the voice of students in this organization, connecting students with national news and resources from the AAMC and bringing back information and resources from the AAMC to the university administration, faculty, and students.