Monday, April 27, 2009

Teaching Scholar Programs

Over the course of the past 20 years, there has been growing acknowledgement that there is a significant need to provide faculty development which enhances the teaching skills and scholarship of the medical education community. This is certainly equally true within the chiropractic profession but far less research exists which specifically is addressed to the needs of the chiropractic academic community. As noted by Rosenbaum et al (1), a number of challenges exist in providing opportunities for faculty to obtain training in teaching skills. These include the need for there to be someone with faculty development expertise to lead such a program, lack of locally-based advanced educational training programs, interest solely coming from highly motivated educators and lack of departmental members who can assist or take on such training opportunities. They conclude that institutions need to seek ways to expand resources available for training. They recommend increasing the number of faculty with advanced expertise in education, and to use peers to offer training once they have gained that expertise.

Few programs have been reported in the medical literature with the specific purpose of helping faculty develop expertise in providing teaching skills to their peers. Most follow train-the-trainer models (2). As part of Palmer’s R25 grant award, we are using a train-the-trainer model for implementing enhanced use of evidence-based methods in the classroom setting. We are working with a small number of faculty interested in the use of EBP; those individuals will then be give opportunity to provide training to their peers.

But it is important to note that most faculty development program still focus on developing participant skills for their own teaching. The goal of the program in development is to combine teaching effectiveness training with leadership skills so that we develop a cohort of teachers with enhanced personal skills who can then transmit them to their peers. This is already being done with the Excellence in Teaching program coordinated in part by Rita Nafziger of the Davenport campus through the Quad City Professional Development Network. Priority in this program is being given to faculty in their probationary period (new and recent hires), for those whom specific improvement plans may be in place and others as space and interest allows. This set of courses will provide foundational information on teaching and learning. The Teaching Scholar Program is designed to provide skills more directed at the higher level components of health care education as opposed to general education theory and methodologies, and thus will serve as a means of providing advanced teacher training beyond the probationary period.

Future blog posts will provide information on similar programs at other health care institutions.


1. Rosenbaum ME, Lenoch S, Ferguson KJ. Outcomes of a Teaching Scholars Program to promote leadership in faculty development. Teach Learn Med 2005;17:247-253
2. Steinert Y. Faculty development in the new millennium: key challenges and future directions. Med Teacher 2000;22:44-50

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