Dr. Jennie Ariail - Executive Director for Academic Excellence and the Writing Center
Ensuring Academic Excellence
Writing. Learning. Teaching. At the Medical University of South Carolina, these activities naturally form the core of our educational mission, but they are also essential to providing effective care and discovering new ways to improve health. If we don’t write well, our discoveries will not be understood or used. If we don’t seek to learn information that improves the care we provide, our patients will suffer. If we don’t teach what we’ve learned to the next generation of health care providers and biomedical researchers, the public’s health will be in jeopardy.
The Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) and the Writing Center are central to MUSC’s goal of ensuring that all students communicate clearly, learn efficiently and creatively, and benefit from master teachers. Writing Center faculty members teach students to communicate effectively with their professors, their fellow students, and their patients. The newest initiative of the Writing Center is the creation of three interprofessional, humanities elective courses that offer opportunities for students to interpret patient stories more effectively, engage in reflective practice, and develop empathy for patients. Every day, Writing Center faculty consult individually with students and faculty on a variety of writing projects. You name it—a literature review of the latest evidence-based practices for care, a cover letter for that first job after graduation, a dissertation, or a proposal for a research grant—these experts in scientific and professional writing teach students the expertise necessary for career success.
Because student success is its heart, the CAE is dedicated to improving learning and teaching on campus. Health care providers must learn and re-learn in order to adapt their practices to the latest advances in biomedical science. They also must collaborate with colleagues across professions to provide quality care and conduct groundbreaking research. That’s why the CAE provides collaborative learning groups; and the effectiveness of these groups is why a majority of MUSC students choose to participate—in addition to their scheduled class time. To discuss and analyze material covered in large lectures, senior students teach and mentor junior ones, sometimes across health care disciplines. Overwhelmingly, students who participate in this supplemental instruction report doing better in their courses; more importantly, they tell us they learn more. The benefit accrues to the senior students as well—our published research shows they score significantly higher on national exams and improve their grades at MUSC.
Another vital part of the work of the CAE is teaching the material and the strategies necessary for success on national and state licensing board/certifying exams. Under the tutelage of CAE faculty and their fellow students, students approach these rigorous exams with confidence and exceed national performance averages.
In every way, the CAE and the Writing Center are allies for students. No academic health science center does more to ensure student success.
MUSC's CAE and Writing Center
CAE: National Competency Exam Preparation