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Special Theme: Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Medicine: IN PROGRESS—SEPTEMBER 2002: SPECIAL FEATURE: SUPPORT FOR MEDICAL SCHOOL FACULTY

Recognizing Clinical Faculty's Contributions in Education


Section Editor(s): ANDERSON, M. BROWNELL

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Objective: A faculty productivity profile system was designed to recognize faculty's contributions to administrative, educational, and research activities. It has long been recognized that clinical faculty receive little recognition or compensation for their efforts in education. Our surgery department previously had in place a recognition program for research achievements, but not for educational contributions. The new system was designed to recognize and reward all aspects of faculty contributions, including education.

Description: The faculty productivity profile is a simple Excel document sent to each faculty member once a year. We piloted the program for the first time in 2001, recognizing faculty's contributions for the previous year. The pilot began with the formation of a committee whose first function was to identify all possible opportunities for faculty to participate as educators at our institution. This included giving lectures, participating in faculty development programs, serving as mentors, interviewing student or resident candidates, serving in administrative educational roles (e.g., clerkship or residency director), giving oral exams, or attending conferences and journal club. The committee then developed a point scale assigning each activity or contribution a value on a scale of 0–25. Each activity was then listed on the Excel form. Faculty were to fill in the number of times each activity was performed and this was multiplied by the points to obtain a weighted value. Point values for conferences were determined by percentage of conferences attended for a year (i.e., for grand rounds, those attending 0–49%, 50–75%, 75–90%, and more than 90% received 0, 20, 40, and 60 points, respectively). Points were also assigned for teaching awards and high scores on student and resident evaluations. After approval by the committee and the department chairman, the form was presented at a faculty meeting. Each faculty member then received a floppy disk with the form and was asked to complete the form and attach a supporting copy of his or her CV. The form required only input of numbers or a “yes” or “no.” After submission, the clerkship coordinator inputted additional data from a database of conference attendance and student evaluations. Points were then calculated for each faculty member based upon his or her contributions and each activity's weighted value. A dinner was held to recognize outstanding faculty contributions. All faculty completing the form were invited and recognized and those with outstanding contributions received awards.

Discussion: Teaching medical students and residents is a rewarding experience; however, it requires significant time and effort. Faculty who feel their contributions are unrecognized may be more likely to burn out and less likely to continue contributing. We believe it is worthwhile to recognize faculty contributions in all areas, including education. Our pilot program had excellent participation due to the ease of using the form. We believe it has improved faculty morale and willingness to participate. We are continuing the program and plan to evaluate its impact on encouraging continued participation in teaching.

Section Description

Peer-reviewed Collection of Reports on Innovative Approaches to Medical Education

© 2002 Association of American Medical Colleges