Ensuring Basic Quality in Clinical Courses


  • Roy Stuckey University of South Carolina




This article describes some of the features of clinical course design that are essential for ensuring basic educational quality. It does not attempt to be thorough. A number of years ago, I served on a committee that began discussing whether it is possible to come up with “indicia of quality” that could be used to measure the quality of a clinical program or course. The question that framed the issue was “If someone wanted to determine whether one school’s professional skills program is likely to be better than another school’s program, what elements should be examined?” The committee not only guessed that it was possible to define those elements, we also believed that it could be accomplished without a great deal of trouble. Though I still think it is possible to define indicia of quality, we were wrong that it would be easy. Our initial effort foundered fairly quickly. From time to time others renewed the effort, only to abandon the project, with one exception. Sandy Ogilvy, a law professor at Catholic University School of Law in Washington, D.C., is making the most serious effort to date to describe “indicia of quality” for clinical programs.