Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
We agree completely with Steinert1 that, when discussing faculty development, we should “broaden the focus of faculty development and target the various roles that clinicians and basic scientists play, including those of leader and scholar.” We also concur with her that we must “change and thus enlarge the scope of faculty development by moving beyond formal, structured activities.” But the 2020 Vision of Faculty Development Across the Medical Education Continuum conference,2 held at Baylor College of Medicine in February 2010, was focused on future needs in educational faculty development, not on the development of health sciences professionals in all areas of their professional life. We also agree that more topics deserved consideration than the 10 discussed at the conference, but we were limited by scope and resources to venture into recommendations in other areas.
When the term faculty development is mentioned at medical institutions, the most common definition of the term is “the development of health sciences educators.” This probably has occurred because of the need for teacher training, since physicians and basic scientists are expected to teach but their education has not included grounding in teaching, evaluation, and other educational issues that they commonly encounter. We recommend that the medical education community move away from the term faculty development and use instead the term professional development. This term includes not only faculty members but everyone involved in the academic mission and refers to the development of his or her potential in teaching, leadership, and scholarship. In addition to the other areas of professional development mentioned by Steinert, we believe that there should also be an increased emphasis on creating strategies for health professions educators to teach in an interprofessional environment.
Nancy Searle, EdD
Director, Office of Professional Development, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen B. Greenberg, MD
Dean of medical education, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
1 Steinert Y. Commentary: Faculty development: The road less traveled. Acad Med. 2011;86:409–411.