McMaster University

McMaster University

Cultivating the Collegium

Review of Faculty Development, 1998/99

I Preamble

This Task Force report is intended to capture the content and process of deliberations with respect to the structured review of the Faculty Development Program in the Faculty of Health Sciences. A thriving program of faculty development is seen to reflect on the well-being of the Faculty at-large and has a significant influence on issues such as recruitment, retention, and reputation within the Faculty. The scope and impact of the recommendations for faculty development are aimed at all individuals with a faculty appointment, though needs may differ and require specific action.

II Background

The Program for Faculty Development (PFD) has a long history of successfully delivering development workshops to internal and external participants, organizing orientation programs for new faculty members, and providing administrative support to the Leadership in Education program in the Faculty. In addition, the Program has mounted specific faculty development offerings at the request of individual constituencies and organized site visits for international visitors to health sciences education programs.

Faculty development activities have a central role in supporting the academic mission of the Faculty and the Program is vital to the Faculty's continued development. Professor Sue Baptiste's appointment as Acting Chair of the Program for Faculty Development was scheduled to end in December, 1998 and the need to identify a new Chair presented an opportunity to conduct a review of the program. The incumbent's appointment was extended to December 31, 1999 to facilitate strategic planning and provide a transition of leadership.

III Objectives

Guiding principles for faculty development which were articulated at the outset of the review focused on the need for innovation, strategic planning to meet current and future learning needs, the role of faculty development in providing rewards and recognition and the importance of outreach activities at other sites or in collaboration with existing programs outside of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The scope of the program review included a mandate to:

  • survey existing activities
  • examine relationships to other programs
  • identify and prioritize current and future needs
  • identify potential offerings
  • develop a conceptual framework
  • recommend courses of action

IV Process

A task force was established with representation from full-time and part-time faculty, education and research programs, clinical and basic science faculty and a cross-section of geographic sites. Membership on the Task Force was by invitation of the Chair and included: S. Baptiste, B. Brown, J. Cunnington, S. Denburg (Chair), E. Finch, M. Gagnon, D. Kollek, A. Neville, K. Raymer, K. Rosenthal, J. Wakefield, A. Walsh, S. Styles (student representative) , J. Blake, R. Shaw. Five meetings of the Task Force were held from December 3, 1998 to June 15, 1999.

In order to redefine goals and priorities for faculty development it was necessary to review the issues faculty members have with respect to their academic affiliation. Central themes which emerged from the discussion relate to mentorship, expectations, learning needs and rewards. It was noted that a structured mentorship program would help faculty successfully adhere to a career development plan. Academic expectations need to be defined and regularly reviewed to ensure mutual understanding and agreement. Faculty learning needs and specific skills development offerings should be prioritized and linked to available resources. Acknowledgment and rewards for teaching need to be expanded to include direct teaching as well as product development.

In view of the multiple roles and responsibilities undertaken by faculty members, it was agreed that the focus should be on 'professional development'. Several delivery models were reviewed in detail. Consideration was given to amalgamating Faculty Development with Continuing Education and it was noted that in other universities where this has been implemented continuing education activities were seen as dominant in comparison to faculty development.

Drawing on external expertise and experience, Dr. Yvonne Steinart, Clinical Psychologist, Director of Faculty Development for the Department of Family Medicine and Associate Dean of Faculty Development in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University facilitated a workshop with the Task Force and presented Faculty Development Education Rounds entitled "Faculty Development - Renewal, Recognition, Rewards" on March 11, 1999.

The workshop helped to identify goals for faculty development, reviewed strategies for engaging faculty members in faculty development, highlighted the need to promote the visibility and centrality of faculty development, and emphasized the importance of designating a champion for faculty development activities. It was recognized that the results of an effective Faculty Development Program include improved student learning and a greater sense of confidence and enthusiasm for faculty members.

In formulating recommendations, the Task Force also reviewed published articles, professional papers and selected reports.

V Conclusions

1. Major Goals

The major goals of the Faculty Development Program were identified as:

  • Connecting faculty members to the Faculty and the academic mission
  • Supporting faculty members to fulfil their academic roles
  • Fostering faculty members to develop academic leadership
  • Promoting academic development as a lifelong pursuit

2. Current and Future/ Potential Offerings

Primary areas of involvement included orientation, teaching skills, mentoring and recognition. Faculty evaluation per se was considered to be outside of faculty development, but could influence the development of specific offerings.

Four stages of development were discussed:
  • An orientation package and programs dealing with personal and professional issues associated with an academic clinical role and basic teaching skills
  • Support for teachers who have good basic skills but would expand their knowledge of various educational models and provide skills for developing learning resources
  • Educational leadership
  • Educational scholarship

3. Strategies for Engaging Faculty Members

The following initiatives to involve faculty in development activities were reviewed:

  • reinforcing the recognition and value of teaching
  • encouraging students to express their appreciation
  • establishing a faculty honor list to recognize excellence in teaching
  • sharing student feedback in a timely manner with faculty instructors
  • improving Faculty Development marketing materials to increase participation
  • developing/encouraging/reigniting champions in education to rekindle the image of excitement and fun derived from teaching
  • securing professional education credits for participation in faculty development activities (i.e. Royal College Continuing Professional Development Activities For    Maintenance Of Certification, College of Family Physicians Maintenance of Proficiency,    Ontario College of Certified Social Workers Professional Development Credits, etc.)

4. Leadership

It was determined that a central champion to promote the goals, objectives and offerings of the Faculty Development Program is required. Terms of reference for the position of Assistant Dean for the Faculty Development Program were developed, recognizing that the status of "Assistant Dean" would communicate a very positive message regarding the centrality and importance of the program within the Faculty.

5. Conceptual Framework

It was agreed that Faculty Development should be addressed from a broad perspective; incorporating aspects of Professional Development related to academic roles in all four spheres - clinical, administration, research, education (CARE) - with an initial focus on education, including educational leadership. The adopted model should include a range of activities from orientation for new faculty members through to leadership for seasoned faculty members.

An illustration of the conceptual framework for Faculty Development in the Faculty of Health Sciences was prepared.

conceptual framework for Faculty Development in the Faculty of Health Sciences

VI Recommendations

  1. Assistant Dean of Facultyevelopment Program

    Commit essential resources to the position of Assistant Dean for the Faculty Development Program and establish a selection committee. New resources are needed for faculty salary support for a two day per week (.4 FTE) time commitment. Continuation of funding for the current assignment of administrative support (one full-time program administrator) and operating budget (currently $15,690) is also required.
  2. Advisory Committee

    Form an advisory committee for the Faculty Development Program to support the assistant dean in achieving broader integration and visibility for faculty development and promotion of products and services. The committee should include committed individuals who represent a broad constituency base across the Faculty, yet be small enough to function effectively as a working group. The advisory committee will participate in setting directions and establishing priorities and timelines for faculty development activities.
  3. Faculty Development Officers

    Appoint a faculty development officer from each academic department/school and education and research program who can help define needs, participate in the development and communication of offerings and provide linkages for faculty development in departments.
  4. Collaboration and Partnerships

    Renew faculty development connections with other institutions, constituencies, and stakeholders to share ideas, issues and resources. This could be accomplished through participation in professional groups such as the Association of Canadian Medical Colleges (ACMC), membership on relevant committees within affiliated teaching hospitals, attendance at national meetings, etc.
  5. Transition Process

    Communicate changes in the vision, structure and operation of the Faculty Development Program via public relations material, department and education program communications and hospital newsletters.


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