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Evaluating Educators Using a Novel Toolbox: Applying Rigorous Criteria Flexibly Across Institutions

Gusic, Maryellen E. MD; Baldwin, Constance D. PhD; Chandran, Latha MD, MPH; Rose, Suzanne MD, MSEd; Simpson, Deborah PhD; Strobel, Henry W. PhD; Timm, Craig MD; Fincher, Ruth Marie E. MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000233

Valuing faculty as educators is essential for medical schools to fulfill their unique mission of educating physicians. The 2006 Consensus Conference on Educational Scholarship, sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Educational Affairs, provided educators seeking academic promotion with a portfolio-based format for documenting activities in five domains, using evidence of quantity, quality, a scholarly approach, and educational scholarship. Yet, the lack of a rigorous, widely accepted system to assess educator portfolio submissions during the promotion and tenure process continues to impede the ability to fully value educators and educational scholars.

The AAMC Task Force on Educator Evaluation was formed in 2010 to establish consensus guidelines for use by those responsible for the rigorous evaluation of the educational contributions of faculty. The task force delineated the educational contributions currently valued by institutions and then fulfilled its charge by creating the Toolbox for Evaluating Educators, a resource which contains explicit evidence-based criteria to evaluate faculty in each of the five domains of educator activity. Adoption of such criteria is now the rate-limiting step in using a fair process to recognize educators through academic promotion. To inform institutional review and implementation of these criteria, this article describes the iterative, evidence- and stakeholder-based process to establish the criteria. The authors advocate institutional adoption of these criteria so that faculty seeking academic promotion as educators, like their researcher colleagues, can be judged and valued using established standards for the assessment of their work.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

Dr. Gusic is executive associate dean for educational affairs, Dolores and John Read professor of medical education, and professor of pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dr. Baldwin is professor of pediatrics, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, and director, Academic Pediatric Association Educational Scholars Program.

Dr. Chandran is professor of pediatrics and vice dean for undergraduate medical education, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, New York.

Dr. Rose is professor of medicine and senior associate dean for education, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut.

Dr. Simpson is medical education program director, Aurora Health Care, and adjunct professor of family and community medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Dr. Strobel is associate dean for faculty affairs and alumni relations and distinguished teaching professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston, Texas.

Dr. Timm is senior associate dean for education and professor of internal medicine and cardiology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Dr. Fincher is professor of medicine and vice dean for academic affairs emerita, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, Georgia.

Funding/Support: None reported.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: The survey described in the text was approved by the human subjects protection program at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Disclaimers: The Toolbox for Evaluating Educators has been published as a component of professional development materials published on MedEdPORTAL.

Previous presentations: The Toolbox for Evaluating Educators has been presented in regional and national meetings of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Groups on Educational and Faculty Affairs.

Supplemental digital content for this article is available at

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Gusic, Indiana University School of Medicine, 340 W. 10th St., Fairbanks 6200, Indianapolis, IN 46202; telephone: (317) 278-6513; fax: (317) 274-8439; e-mail:

© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges