Faculty development includes those activities that are designed to renew or assist faculty in their different roles. As such, it encompasses a wide variety of interventions to help individual faculty members improve their skills. However, it can also be used as a tool to engage faculty in the process of institutional change. The Faculty of Medicine at McGill University determined that such a change was necessary to effectively teach and evaluate professionalism at the undergraduate level, and a faculty development program on professionalism helped to bring about the desired curricular change. The authors describe that program to illustrate how faculty development can serve as a useful instrument in the process of change.
The ongoing program, established in 1997, consists of medical education rounds and “think tanks” to promote faculty consensus and buy-in, and diverse faculty-wide and departmental workshops to convey core content, examine teaching and evaluation strategies, and promote reflection and self-awareness. To analyze the approach used and the results achieved, the authors applied a well-known model by J.P. Kotter for implementing change that consists of the following phases: establishing a sense of urgency, forming a powerful guiding coalition, creating a vision, communicating the vision, empowering others to act on the vision, generating short-term wins, consolidating gains and producing more change, and anchoring new approaches in the culture. The authors hope that their school’s experience will be useful to others who seek institutional change via faculty development.