Academic Medicine

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Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000374
Research Reports

Identity Formation of Occasional Faculty Developers in Medical Education: A Qualitative Study

O’Sullivan, Patricia S. MS, EdD; Irby, David M. MDiv, PhD

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Purpose: Faculty developers play a crucial role in preparing faculty members for their instructional responsibilities. In some programs, faculty developers are clinicians and scientists who only occasionally conduct workshops. The authors examine the identity formation of such part-time faculty developers.

Method: From April 2012 through March 2012, structured interviews were conducted with full-time faculty members who, from 2007 to 2012, periodically volunteered to teach workshops in the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine’s faculty development program. This qualitative study used a modified grounded theory approach.

Results: The authors interviewed 29 occasional faculty developers who had 1 to 22 years of experience conducting faculty development programs. All faculty had an educator identity along with their professional identity. The additional faculty developer identity generally evolved over time and aligned with their identity in one of four ways: compartmentalized, hierarchical, parallel, or merged. Their roles as faculty developers enhanced their status in their work community and influenced the way they worked with others and advanced their careers. Faculty development influences the institutional culture, and the institutional culture supports faculty development.

Conclusions: Most occasional faculty developers possessed a merged identity that developed over time and was moderated by the topic that they taught. Although experience contributed to this development, both junior and senior faculty developers could have a merged identity. Those who lead faculty development programs can use these findings to recruit and retain faculty developers.

© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges


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