More than 20 years ago, Dr. Corrie Brown had a chance meeting with Highlands Director of Training Dori Stiles that changed the course for hundreds of young veterinary students. Sound dramatic? Maybe it is, but it is a good story none the less.
“Dori and I met at a social gathering, and when she told me about the Highlands Ability Battery, I immediately said, ‘I want to try that!’”
And so she did. In taking the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB), she learned about what Dr. Brown calls “her zone.”
“With the HAB, I learned that I’m an Introvert-Extrovert and Generalist-Specialist Mix with High Spatial Relations Theory. After learning that, I worked to decrease those things that don’t come naturally to me and increase those things that put me in my zone.”
“Within faculty life, there is a lot of latitude so I have been able to create a micro-environment that fits my personal style and my values and interests. As a result, I get to spend a quarter of my time overseas, have the kind of interactions with my colleagues that I need, and teach in a way that fits.”
Dr. Brown has earned two national teaching awards, and she attributes that success to being able to work in an environment that fits her personal style.
Incorporating the Highlands Whole Person Method Into a Careers Course
Dr. Brown earned her PhD in comparative pathology, is a doctor in veterinary medicine, and is a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor at University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. As part of her work there, she began a careers course for first-year veterinary students.
After taking the HAB herself, she worked with Dori Stiles to integrate the Highlands Whole Person Method into the course. There are a variety of subjects covered in the UGA careers course, one of which includes the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB).
Dori introduces the career assessment to the UGA students, administers the HAB, and then conducts a group debrief, but Dr. Brown is also very much a part of this process and beyond. She says, students come to her throughout their time at UGA and together they often reflect on the student’s HAB reports.
“A lot of students work through their studies only to find they aren’t satisfied in their career later. With this course and the HAB, we’re able to explore veterinary career options at the outset, so hopefully, students have less trouble with career happiness later.”
While choosing the right career path is useful for the long-term, there are short-term benefits as well.“The first year of veterinary school is like drinking from a fire hose,” she said. “If students can identify where their learning strengths are, they can see how to study, and then hopefully have free time and a life alongside their studies.”
“The first year of veterinary school is like drinking from a fire hose,” she said. “If students can identify where their learning strengths are, they can see how to study, and then hopefully have free time and a life alongside their studies.”
Becoming a Highlands Certified Consultant
Because Dr. Brown spends so much time with students throughout their years at UGA Veterinary School, she was encouraged to become certified in the Highlands Whole Person Method in 2016. This allows her to provide the HAB to more students, but also advise more deeply to those who have already taken the HAB.
She said she gained more from the Highlands training experience than she expected.
“There is so much you can take out of the bar chart and the combinations. You could keep going back to that information forever. The depth of the assessments had a much greater reach than what I had anticipated.”
Corrie Brown, DVM, PhD, DACVP, Josiah Meigs and University Distinguished Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia in Athens.