Rosenbaum M, Lenoch S, Ferguson K. Increasing Departmental and College-Wide Faculty Development Opportunities Through a Teaching Scholars Program. Academic Medicine 2006; 81(11):965-9. Reviewed by Soo Kin, Loma Linda
Rosenbaum M, Lenoch S, Ferguson K. Increasing Departmental and College-Wide Faculty Development Opportunities Through a Teaching Scholars Program. Academic Medicine 2006; 81(11):965-9.
Reviewed by Soo Kin, Loma Linda
The University of Iowa created a 3-year curriculum for a Teaching Scholars Program (TSP) in 1999 after a review of faculty development programming at that time. The program was developed to promote faculty development within individual departments as well throughout the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine (CCOM).
The goals of the teaching scholars program were to 1) promote the development of a core group of faculty members for faculty development 2) increase the involvement of the departments in the area of faculty development 3) increase the resources in order to disseminate the faculty development efforts 4) develop skills and knowledge for the implementation of faculty development programs and provide continuing education to other faculty colleagues.
During the first year, TSP faculty are given assigned readings and exercises, which are then used for monthly half-day active training sessions. Participants also assess the faculty development needs within their departments and develop projects accordingly. In the second and third years, the TSP faculty meet quarterly and implement their faculty development projects both within their department as well as one other CCOM audience.
Evaluation data from 1999-2006 demonstrated that following completion of the TSP, there were significant increases in programs for faculty development by the participants both within their respective departments as well as other departments of CCOM. Significant increases in education leadership and scholarship were also noted both within CCOM as well as nationally.
A key success of the TSP is that it helps to stress the importance of faculty development within the institution and fosters a supportive educational climate. Scholars gain knowledge of critical tools and develop the know-how for the development and implementation of programs that meet faculty needs. Critically, the scholars expand their professional development skills. The program also allows a core group of faculty to identify and find solutions to faculty development needs and problems, which in turn helps to strengthen the department and also the institution. The core group increases in size as former graduates continue to participate in the TSP by way of networking and acting as facilitators for quarterly sessions for the current participants.
The TSP program requires quite an impressive time and monetary commitment. Not only does it require a three-year commitment by the participant, but it also requires other faculty and facilitators for the monthly/quarterly sessions mentorship duties. The estimated cost for professional staff time is 0.75 FTE for the directors with 5% FTE for administrative support during the first year of the program when there are monthly sessions. During the second and third year when program sessions meet quarterly, and when consultation and support of individual projects are required, 0.30 FTE is required for the directors with 2% FTE administrative support. Other administrative costs are approximately $1,500 during active years. The Dean's office at CCOM offered a stipend of $2,000 for each scholar, and the overall stipend costs have been approximately $9,000 per year (not all of the allotted stipend funding was used by all the scholars).
Editorial Comment: Faculty Development is a broad term. Institutions need to adopt an approach similar to that of the COMSEP Faculty Development Task Force. Teach the Teacher models are important but just is critical is the professional development of individual educators and scholars. While administrators routinely whine about the cost of faculty development, it certainly is less expensive then outfitting a lab (and does not become obsolete!).