UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page UBC Home Page -
News Events Directories Search UBC myUBC Login
- -
UBC Public Affairs
UBC Reports
UBC Reports Extras
Goal / Circulation / Deadlines
Letters to the Editor & Opinion Pieces / Feedback
UBC Reports Archives
Media Releases
Services for Media
Services for the Community
Services for UBC Faculty & Staff
Find UBC Experts
Search Site

UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 11 | July 12, 2001

Faculty of Medicine treks to Nepal

University of Kathmandu adopts problem-based learning

by Hilary Thomson staff writer

A trekking trip to Nepal was the springboard for the Faculty of Medicine's involvement with a new medical school at the University of Kathmandu.

Carol-Ann Courneya, an associate professor of Physiology who contributed to the faculty's shift to its new problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum, paid a visit to a University of Kathmandu colleague, Dr. Arjun Karki, while on a trekking vacation last October.

Karki and other faculty members became very interested in the Faculty of Medicine's learning approach and requested Courneya's help in exploring innovative teaching strategies for Kathmandu University Medical School (KUMS) which plans to admit its first 45 students in August.

"This school is unique in Nepal," says Courneya, a UBC faculty member since 1990. "It is privately funded but does not seek to make a profit. Its goal is to produce doctors who are technically competent and socially responsible."

This spring, Courneya travelled to Nepal with former Medicine dean Bill Webber who helped UBC's medical school switch to the PBL curriculum. Together with colleague Martha McGrew from the University of New Mexico, they spent two weeks conducting PBL tutor training and case-writing workshops for KUMS faculty.

UBC's approach, which uses a mixture of problem-based learning, lectures and labs, was attractive to the Nepalese, says Webber.

"I was impressed with some very bright students," says Webber of the young people who assisted in the workshops. "Their level of knowledge at the high-school level was quite remarkable."

Most Nepalese students are educated using traditional teacher-centred approaches and are accustomed to a strict formality between student and teacher, says Courneya. When students role-played tutorials with faculty members she was thrilled at how the students thrived in the new learning environment.

"One student said that for the first time she was able to think with her own mind, not her professor's mind," says Courneya, who is a 3M Teaching Fellow and also holds a UBC Killam Teaching Prize, as does Webber.

Representatives of KUMS made a recent visit to UBC while on a tour of medical schools. Courneya and Webber arranged for information sessions with dean of Medicine John Cairns, medical faculty and administrators and Larry Sproul, director of UBC's International Liaison office.

UBC is developing a memorandum of understanding with KUMS to encourage educational and intellectual exchange. UBC basic science and clinical science professors or post-doctoral students who may be interested in teaching at KUMS can contact Courneya for further information at caotter@interchange.ubc.ca.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

to top | UBC.ca » UBC Public Affairs

UBC Public Affairs
310 - 6251 Cecil Green Park Road, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
tel 604.822.3131 | fax 604.822.2684 | e-mail public.affairs@ubc.ca

© Copyright The University of British Columbia, all rights reserved.