IAMSE Fall 2019 WAS Session 1 Highlights

[The following notes were generated by Andrea Belovich, PhD.]

IAMSE Webinar Series, Fall 2019

Speaker: Alice Fornari, EdD
Title: The Current Landscape of Faculty Development: Challenges and Opportunities
Series: Re-imagining Faculty Development in Health Professions Education

The Fall 2019 IAMSE Web Seminar Series entitled ‚ÄúRe-imagining Faculty Development in Health Professions Education,‚ÄĚ is focused on providing participants with practical tips for developing their own skills¬†as well as insight¬†into¬†how to¬†become engaged¬†with¬†and possibly¬†improve¬†the faculty development culture within their institutions.

Presenter: Dr. Alice Fornari is the Associate Dean of Educational Skills Development at the Barbara & Donald Zucker School of Medicine (SOM) at Hofstra/Northwell, and serves as the is the Vice President of Faculty Development for the 23 hospitals of the Northwell Health organization.

Dr. Fornari‚Äôs talk, ‚ÄúThe Current Landscape of Faculty Development: Challenges and Opportunities,‚ÄĚ provided a literature-rich overview of the field of faculty development (FD). This review addressed three major considerations, including reasons why FD has grown substantially in the last ten years, factors that either work well or need to be strengthened in current FD programs, and an examination of the future directions, challenges, and opportunities that must be considered by faculty developers and future FD programming over the next ten years. Throughout the talk, Dr. Fornari outlined several resources, ideas, approaches for faculty and faculty developers to consider.

As a field, FD has grown substantially due to its importance in promoting educational excellence and success and contributing to faculty vitality, job satisfaction, and retention. While investment in the growth and development of faculty skills are necessary to promote innovation, one of the most important aspects of FD to recognize as a faculty developer is that FD shapes and supports identity formation for faculty (Steinert et al, 2016; Irby et al, 2016). As such, FD should aim to support the integration of the role of educator into all other areas of faculty responsibilities.

As it exists today, FD is an essential component of Professional Development in healthcare education, which includes all learning activities needed for health professionals to fulfill their roles in healthcare and learning environments. FD and faculty developers influence growth of faculty skills and behaviors in the domains of teaching effectiveness, leadership and management, research capacity building, academic and career (identity) development, and organizational change (Steinert, 2014). Important stakeholders of faculty development include not only current faculty and administrators but also students and learners who will become future educators. Dr. Fornari also emphasized the importance of developing the developers‚ÄĒrecognizing that peers and colleagues who are or are becoming faculty developers also need support and development.

Delivery systems for FD that contribute particular value include longitudinal programs, pedagogical consultation, and objective structured teaching encounters (OSTEs). Similar to the Objective Structured Clinical Encounter (OSCE), the OSTE provides the educator with an opportunity to practice teaching skills and to receive feedback. With an eye towards the year 2030 and beyond, Dr. Fornari believes that technological methods (including infographics, podcasts, and social media) will be extremely important in delivering FD programs to audiences, although these methods present their own challenges in terms of creating interactive, group experiences and fostering relationships between faculty.

Key features of successful FD programs include (a) application of situational and experiential learning (active learning principles), (b) application of the ‚ÄúScience of Learning,‚ÄĚ (c) support of effective peer and colleague relationships, (d) well-designed interventions, (e) programmatic systems of evaluation, (e) advanced education for faculty developers as role models, and (e) dissemination of faculty development as scholarship.

An excellent and effective strategy/learning environment for implementing FD is the Community of Practice, or CoP (Buckley et al, 2019). The CoP is defined as a group of people who share a craft or profession (Wenger, 1998).  Serving as a psychologically safe, social space where learning is inherent to membership, a healthy CoP builds relationships between members over time, facilitates work on common passions, and allows sharing of resources between members (Buckley et al, 2019; Smith, 2003). CoP’s are valued for facilitating mentorship relationships, promoting collaborative innovations, serving as a mechanism for knowledge management/enhancement (including tacit knowledge) and best practices, and for being a venue to share resources and social capital to achieve common goals. Furthermore, the CoP allows effective FD even when the faculty developer cannot claim competence in all practices of the diverse membership (Buckley et al, 2019). Finally, the CoP and the faculty developers who promote it contribute to faculty resilience, engagement, and ability to find meaning and joy in the workplace. Dr. Fornari outlined 12 practical tips for implementing a community of practice in FD, as developed by Marco Antonio de Carvalho-Filho and colleagues (2019).

Dr. Fornari next identified several opportunities and challenges for disseminating FD as scholarship. FD research should not only focus on individual faculty members and FD community, but also on the workplace communities of faculty in alignment with the CoP model of scholarship (O’Sullivan and Irby, 2011). Researching the effectiveness of FD programming should focus on process, outcomes, and relationships within the program and the participants’ workplace(s), with a focus on improving the workplace environment in a collaborative manner (O’Sullivan and Irby, 2011). Other opportunities include developing humanistic mentors to younger learners (students, residents, junior faculty) (Fornari et al, 2018), and creating entrustable professional activities for faculty. Other opportunities include re-conceptualizing FD as identity development and promoting renewal and reflection on personal and professional growth to allow space for faculty to develop identity, resilience and well-being. Teachers also need to be rewarded as master educators and innovators to allow for career development and advancement through scholarship.

Challenges to scholarship include institutional support (financial and cultural), lack of protected time and resources, identifying and assessing short- and long-term outcomes and impact on multiple stakeholders, assessing the durability of change, and justifying educational outcomes. Strong advocacy by faculty developers and a culture of change (i.e., developing institutional policies that support and reward excellence, innovation, and scholarship) can help to overcome these challenges (Irby and O’Sullivan, 2018).

Programmatic features that lead to creating successful FD initiatives include (i) evidence-informed educational design and measurement of outcomes, (ii) relevant content to faculty, (iii) experiential learning and opportunities for practice and application, (iv) opportunities for feedback and reflection, (v) collaborative educational projects as an outcome, (vi) intentional community building, (vii) longitudinal program design, and (viii) institutional support at all levels. Longitudinal programs are recognized as important but are challenging to implement and assess.

Showing support of joy and engagement in faculty work, using evidence-based evaluation criteria to assess behavior changes and larger societal impact (including end receivers of faculty development), and workplace learning provide benefits to the institution as a whole. Dr. Fornari finished by discussing the financial benefits of FD programming to academic medical centers, including increased job satisfaction of faculty (and reduced turnover), increasing retention of minority and female faculty members, generating increased internal/external grant funding and publications, and the benefit of improving communication with patients, and ultimately improving patient care (Topor and Roberts, 2016). Demonstrating to an administration that there are benefits to FD through scholarship and data will help communicate the importance of FD to senior stakeholders who have the budgetary authority to mitigate the cost. Ultimately, the true value of FD lies in educational excellence, faculty well-being, and increased quality of care to the ultimate stakeholders of FD: patients and general society.

References (as provided by Dr. Fornari):

  • Cruess RL, Cruess SR, Steinert Y. Medicine as a Community of Practice: Implications for Medical Education. Acad Med. 2017.
  • Lave J, Wenger E. Situated Learning. Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press; 1991.
  • Schreurs M-L, Huveneers W, Dolmans D. Communities of teaching practice in the workplace: Evaluation of a faculty development program. Med Teach. 2015; 38 (8):808-14.
  • Smith, M. K. (2003) ‘Communities of practice’, the encyclopedia of informal education. www.infed.org/biblio/communities_of_practice.htm
  • Steinert Y. Faculty development: From workshops to communities of practice. Med Teach. 2010; 32: 425‚Äď428.
  • Buckley H, Steinert Y, Regehr G, Nimmon L. When I say . . . community of practice. Medical Education 2019.
  • Steinert Y. Faculty Development in the Health Professions: A Focus on Research and Practice. NY: Springer, 2014; p.4.
  • Wenger E. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. New York: Cambridge University Press; 1998.
  • Yvonne Steinert, Karen Mann, Brownell Anderson, Bonnie Maureen Barnett, Angel Centeno, Laura Naismith, David Prideaux, John Spencer, Ellen Tullo, Thomas Viggiano, Helena Ward & Diana Dolmans (2016) A systematic review of faculty development initiatives designed to enhance teaching effectiveness: A 10-year update: BEME Guide No. 40, Medical Teacher, 38:8, 769-786
  • Marco Antonio de Carvalho-Filho, Ren√© A. Tio & Yvonne Steinert (2019): Twelve tips for implementing a community of practice for faculty development, Medical Teacher,
  • Irby D, O‚ÄôSullivan P. Developing and rewarding teachers as educators and scholars: remarkable progress and daunting challenges. Medical Education (2018) 52: 58‚Äď67
  • Topor D, Roberts D. Faculty Development Programming at Academic Medical Centers: Identifying Financial Benefits and Value. Med.Sci.Educ. (2016) 26:417‚Äď419
  • O‚ÄôSullivan P, Irby D. Reframing Research on Faculty Development. Acad Med. April 2011
  • O‚ÄôSullivan P. What Questions Guide Investing in our Faculty? Acad Med. Published ahead of print