KU medical students repudiated a professor's comments that sales of exams have caused a drop in attendance.
A Kansas University medical school department will be evaluated in the wake of a professor's remarks about the sale of examinations and low class attendance, which has sparked anger among some students.
Several students at the Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, Kan., said they were dismayed by statements made by microbiology professor Dolores Furtado during a recent meeting in Lawrence.
Furtado said sales of exams by a medical student group have contributed to low class attendance in second-year medical school classes, and to "minimal competence."
"To say class attendance has got to do with any test booklet (sale) is absurd," said John Flesher, a first-year medical student.
"It has absolutely nothing to do with attendance," said Pamela Stewart, president of KUMC's chapter of the American Medical Student Assn., which sold the exam booklets. "The teaching has to do with (low) attendance."
The students also insist that there is nothing unethical about using old exams to study for tests. The practice has been common for many years, they said.
"We have volumes of material with all kinds of detail that you can't even imagine," Stewart said. "We use an old exam to go through that material, to put it in a framework, to make sure we know what we are supposed to know.
"You can't study by just using old exams, believe me," she said.
About one-third of all 360 first- and second-year medical students bought test booklets from the AMSA group.
Students said the other two-thirds already had access to old exams.
The dean of the medical school, Daniel Hollander, said he had asked a faculty committee to look into student complaints about teaching and other issues, even before Furtado made the comments last week.
Furtado told about 40 of her peers during a meeting of the American Association of University Professors in Lawrence that the dean's attitude toward exam sales and low attendance was "one of indifference."
"I am not indifferent," Hollander said. "I am very concerned with students receiving a quality education.
"Attendance is not required at the medical school," he said. "This is a post-graduate education ... the students vote with their feet.
"I think anytime students are unhappy about their teaching, it's something that should be addressed."
Dr. Bart Lindsley, chair of the medical school's faculty council, said he would meet today with Tsuneo Suzuki, chair of the microbiology department, to assess the department's effectiveness.
Lindsley said faculty governance will not evaluate individual professors but will look at teaching in the department as a whole.
The entire medical school currently is undergoing curriculum review.