Mentorship Program for Alternate (Practice) Route Training
American College of Theriogenologists
The Mentorship Program
The Mentorship Program is designed to assist veterinary practitioners seeking Diplomate status in the American College of Theriogenologists. These individuals have not completed a formal residency or graduate-training program and so have not had the benefit of a structured approach to a comprehensive review of the discipline of theriogenology, Individuals interested in qualifying as Diplomates through this route need to have a minimum of six years of practice experience with an emphasis in Theriogenology. The Mentorship Program provides a supervised course of structured study to these individuals. Each person seeking to become eligible to take the ACT Certifying Examination by the alternative route should have a single designated mentor of record who will be responsible for guiding him/her through the course of study. The role of the mentor will be to help the potential candidate define a proposed course of study to be conducted over the two-year period preceding the applicant taking the qualifying examination. The course of study must be pre-approved by the Executive Board of the ACT. Once the Board has approved the program, the mentor will direct the potential candidate toward information sources and materials to be studied. The mentor will monitor the progress of each individual under his / her supervision. The mentor will be available to answer questions and help the potential candidate assimilate the more difficult material. The mentor’s encouragement and practical experience will help keep the potential candidate motivated to achieve his / her goal. In addition, 8 weeks of direct mentorship (working in person with a mentor) must be completed prior to taking the examination. The mentor can help guide the applicant in arranging appropriate, helpful training experiences. This is a demanding route to certification by the ACT, because interested individuals have additional responsibilities to their practices or industry. Mentors must meet with those under their supervision frequently to ensure that they are progressing in their outlined course of study. Finally, the mentor provides one of the written recommendations to the Executive Board for the potential candidate when he / she applies to take the Certifying Examination. In this final recommendation, the mentor evaluates the progress the individual has made in preparing for the Certifying Examination.
Qualities of a Mentor
The mentor must have a general comprehensive understanding of theriogenology in order for the Mentorship Program to function successfully. The mentor of record can and should direct the potential candidate to other Diplomates of the College for assistance in areas in which the mentor may be less knowledgeable. It is imperative that mentors have access to full-service libraries to supply the necessary references and information to candidates. A mentor must allot time to meet with a potential candidate on a regular basis, to keep attention focused on the study material and to provide the necessary stimulation and encouragement. The ACT wants individuals preparing for the Certifying Examination to understand the information being reviewed, not just to memorize it. The mentor must be honest and forthright with the potential candidate. If time commitment factors or job obligations disrupt the mentor’s responsibilities to this individual, then he / she must be informed immediately and another mentor selected.
1. A cover letter from the candidate
a. outlining his/her interest in becoming an ACT Diplomate and
b. the name and credentials of the proposed mentor
2. An up-to-date curriculum vita including his/her experience in clinical practice with the discipline of theriogenology
Suggestions from Previous Alternate Route Candidates
The following comments have been provided by previously successful alternate route candidates. They are not requirements nor will all of them apply to every situation. They are provided simply as ideas for the development of a Mentorship program.
1. Don’t necessarily choose a mentor based on similar species or sub-specialty interest. A mentor who can provide assistance in areas of deficiency may be more beneficial.
2. Begin survey reading prior to making application for the Mentorship Program. This will help to provide a means for estimating the time commitment needed to cover the material.
3. Identify another individual preparing to take the Certifying Examination. Share material, prepare questions for each other and, if possible, meet for study sessions. This has the potential for being the most rewarding aspect of the program. Individuals with different species interests are typically more helpful to each other.
4. Select a mentor who can assist you with designing a realistic plan of study and facilitating the procurement of technical material that you do not have at your disposal.
Communication with the same mentor should begin early and be ongoing.
5. The most suitable mentor may be a Diplomate who has passed the Certifying Examination recently or who is currently closely involved with a theriogenology residency program.
6. The mentor must make a significant time commitment to meet the needs of the prospective candidate. Therefore, it is important for the mentor to accurately assess the ability and interest of the candidate at the onset prior to accepting this role.
7. The primary goal of the program should be to assist the potential candidate in attaining a higher level of proficiency in theriogenology regardless of the outcome of the Certifying Examination.
8. Setting a specific number of times the mentor and candidate will meet, even setting the dates for those meetings at the beginning of the program, may help ensure that they occur. These would be good opportunities to reestablish goals and help the potential candidate stay on track. If the mentor were at a university, these would also serve as good times to review materials not easily available to the candidate, such as slides or journal articles.
Sample Mentorship Program
The following is an example, with some minor modifications, of a mentorship program that was devised by a successful alternate route candidate who, in turn, became a mentor for another potential candidate. This should in no way be construed to be superior to other programs that might be devised, nor is it being endorsed by the ACT as an all-inclusive list of topics that should be covered. The mentor should remember that the program must fit his / her own work schedule.
Consequently, topics might be pursued in different orders for individual mentors to accommodate their teaching / clinical schedules. In addition, an outline of a course of study is only the beginning of a successful program. Ongoing dialogue, whether in person or by phone or e-mail, between the mentor and the potential candidate about current topics, journal articles, continuing education opportunities and other theriogenology-related issues will be important for the success of the program.
Normal female reproductive anatomy
Review of current literature
Review of topics
ACT PO Box 3065 Montgomery, AL 36109