Tomorrow I depart the US of A for Canada, our friendly neighbors to the north, where I will present a poster at the first International Conference on Faculty Development in the Health Professions.
Faculty development has been my hobby for a few years. It represents the efforts made by most institutions to provide skills for their faculty that were not part of their original training. Academic personnel in medical centers usually have clinical and research expertise, but teaching skills typically receive no attention in training programs. Administrative and leadership skills, also necessary for academic advancement, are typically ignored in doctoral training programs. Some faculty in clinical specialties never learn how to write an abstract or paper!
When I move to Oklahoma later this year, one-third of my job will be faculty development, and I plan to make this my new area of scholarship. The conference includes all sorts of interesting stuff on the science of the field. Currently, we ask participants in programs if they like what we did and if it will change their practices. We need ways to move beyond this type of assessment, and several sessions will cover this topic.
My own research covers another hot topic, interdisciplinary education. Most academic health centers include colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and other types of health disciplines. Why don't we learn more about stuff together instead of in college-specific silos? Nebraska's leadership course, The Administrative Colloquium, has included all academic units for more than a decade. Similarities among participants far outweigh any differences in attitudes or skill sets.
I have to leave my computer to go home and pack. My kid is playing baseball in the district finals tonight (he had a triple and 2 rbis in Saturday's game), and I plan to make the game as well.