How to Succeed as a Medical Education Scholar: Identifying Your Individual Strategy and Creating a Roadmap for Scholarship

Publication ID Published Volume
9472 July 9, 2013 9

Abstract

Educational scholarship is crucial for academic advancement of medical educators. Unfortunately, scholarship remains a goal that is difficult to attain for many junior and seasoned medical educators. Commonly, a project is started with good intentions and enthusiasm but ends up disappearing among many other tasks.

In this workshop, participants identify personal and institutional obstacles towards scholarship and explore habits and strategies that successful scholars have used to circumvent these. The goal of the workshop is a frank exchange of ideas among all participants, including workshop leaders, that will culminate in a personalized strategy for success.

This workshop targets faculty members at all levels, including those who can share effective strategies for scholarship.

We believe that this workshop addresses a gap in faculty development. Much attention is paid in recent years to building technical skills needed for scholarship (e.g. the Medical Education Research Certificate program of the AAMC) but often we overlook the challenge many medical educators have in negotiating their responsibilities as educators and clinicians and devoting time for scholarship. In this workshop participants identify personal and institutional obstacles towards scholarship and explore habits and strategies that successful scholars have used to circumvent these. The goal of the workshop is a frank exchange of ideas among all participants, including workshop leaders, that will culminate in a personalized strategy for success.

Our andragogy uses many principles for adult learners (Speck, 1996):

  1. The goals and objectives of the workshop are made relevant to the learner as we emphasize the importance of producing scholarship in career advancement and leadership development. We use common educational roles as a starting point (teaching, assessment, mentoring, etc.) for deriving scholarship. Then use a “real world” application by focusing on a specific publication deadline to which their strategic plan is leading.
  2. The participants generate and originate solutions as part of their learning. They, as a group, identify the obstacles for scholarship as well as effective strategies for circumventing them.
  3. We use small group activities to provide opportunities to share, reflect, and generalize their learning experiences.
  4. We deliberately use the wide range of previous experiences of novices and seasoned researchers for learning, comparing and modeling.
  5. We offered follow-up consultation and feedback to help the learner transfer their learning into daily practice.

This workshop targets faculty members at all levels, including those who can share effective strategies for scholarship. It was based and builds upon a previous workshop developed by Scott, Donato, Touchie, & Bordage (“Habits of Successful Scholars”, Annual Meeting of the AAMC 2011, Denver, CO) with permission of the authors. This workshop is a series of group and individual exercises, is entirely paper-based and thus can be easily emulated at local institutions, in medical education fellowship programs or professional meetings.

We have taught this workshop at three venues:

  1. Spring meeting of the Western Group of Educational Affairs, Asilomar, CA, April 2, 2012 (peer reviewed)
  2. Paul Foster School of Medical, El Paso, TX, Sept 17, 2012 (invited)
  3. Annual meeting of the AAMC, San Francisco, CA, November 6, 2012 (peer reviewed)

Upon completion of the workshop, participants evaluated the experience using a standard form in which they listed the top three “good habits” and tips they learned in the workshop. They indicated how likely they would use the personal strategic plan that they developed in this workshop to keep scholarship on track. Furthermore, we asked what they would change in the workshop if it were offered again. These evaluations were used to make minor changes and improvements of each subsequent offering of the workshop.

Here we describe our evaluation findings collected in El Paso which resemble those we collected at other venues. All ten participants completed the evaluation form. Overall, the workshop was very well-received. “Inspiring, motivating;” “Thought provoking;” ‘I really enjoyed the workshop; it was very helpful” were some of the comments we received. Participants indicated on a scale from 1 (very unlikely) to 10 (very likely) how likely they would use the personal plan they developed to keep their scholarship on track. The average was 7.6 (range, 5-10). Of the top three habits and tips they found particularly appealing, the following were mentioned most frequently:

  1. Scheduling and protecting time for scholarship (6 times)
  2. Starting a journal club (4 times)
  3. Develop a personal research program and become an expert in specific area (3 times)
  4. Find a mentor and collaborate with colleagues so I am held accountable (5 times)

These preliminary data seem to suggest that the workshop was effective in the immediate term; we are planning to follow up with some of participants to ascertain to what extent the personal strategic plan was effective in producing a piece of scholarship in the longer term.

Reference:

Speck, M. (1996, Spring). Best practice in professional development for sustained educational change. ERS Spectrum, 33-41. 

Citation

Uijtdehaage S, Kalishman S, O'Sullivan P, Robins L. How to succeed as a medical education scholar: identifying your individual strategy and creating a roadmap for scholarship. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2013;9:9472. http://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9472

Educational Objectives

  1. To compare one’s habits and strategies for bringing scholarship to the “finish line” with those of successful scholars.
  2. To identify one’s “limiting habits” thwarting scholarship and strategies to circumvent them.
  3. To develop a personalized plan for a scholarly submission to be presented at a future meeting.

Keywords

  • Faculty Development, Medical Education, Medical Education Research, Scholarship, Leadership

References

  1. Uijtdehaage S, Kalishman S, O’Sullivan P, Robins L How to succeed as an educational scholar: identifying your individual strategy and creating a roadmap for scholarship. Workshop given at the annual meeting of the AAMC, San Francisco, Nov 2-7, 2012.
  2. Uijtdehaage S, Kalishman S, O’Sullivan P, Robins L How to succeed as an educational scholar: identifying your individual strategy and creating a roadmap for scholarship the annual meeting of the AAMC’s Western Group on Educational Affairs, Asilomar, CA April 1-4, 2012.

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ISSN 2374-8265