Special topics

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To support the university's broader work, including varying initiatives that align university activities with larger goals and values, we encourage (but do not require) grant projects that support and advance the strategic initiatives below. 

Experiential Learning

A special topic track for experiential learning is available within any of the three structural streams. These projects will engage students in hands-on, authentic learning grounded in their fields, followed by reflections to help apply their knowledge in new settings. Examples include undergraduate research, student-led projects, clinical placements, co-op programs, practical, field trips, internships and community-based learning. See a sample experiential learning project below.

Other Strategic Initiatives

We encourage potential applicants to read about the important campus initiatives below. If your application relates to any of these initiatives, please consider aligning your project with elements of the relevant strategy and demonstrate that alignment in your application.  


Sample experiential learning project (practice stream)

"Do simulated clients enrich learning experiences for final year veterinary students?" by Darlene Donszelmann (Veterinary Medicine), 2015

Communication skills are developed through repetition and practice in increasingly more challenging simulated scenarios. Students in the first three years of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine learn core clinical communication skills, but they aren't formally reinforced in their fourth and final year. Previously learned communication skills are often disregarded by final year veterinary students anxious to diagnose and treat their patients. Some final year rotations utilize owner-absent cases and therefore lack a client for the student to experience a real veterinary-client-patient relationship. 

Standardized, simulated patients are commonly utilized across many disciplines including medicine, kinesiology, nursing and paramedical scenarios. Veterinary communication curricula also utilize simulated clients. The owner-absent fourth-year dental rotations present an ideal opportunity to pilot the use of trained simulated clients embedded in real veterinary cases. Through interaction with simulated clients, students will have an opportunity to further practice and refine their communication skills by obtaining a relevant history, building relationship, explaining the clinical reasoning underlying their diagnostic and treatment plans, answering client inquiries, discussing pain control, informing the client of the financial implications, and presenting discharge instructions. Students will evaluate and critically reflect upon their experiences with simulated client, real patient cases in order to help determine the value of the learning experience created.