Researchers develop model to study impact of faculty development programs

August 18, 2014, George Washington University

Methods used to demonstrate the impact of faculty development programs have long been lacking. A research report from the George Washington University (GW) introduces a new model to demonstrate how faculty development programming can affect institutional behaviors, beyond the individual participant.

"Faculty development is essential for helping medical education faculty meet the demands of their roles as teachers, scholars, administrators, and leaders," said co-author Ellen Goldman, MBA, Ed.D., associate professor of clinical research and leadership at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS). "There is a real need for clear assessment procedures in order to design the most effective faculty development programs."

Traditional assessment methods of faculty development programs are criticized for: 1. focusing only on the learners; and 2. for being limited to satisfaction measures or self-reported behavior. The , outlined in Academic Medicine, proposes examination of the impact program graduates have on their colleagues. The way graduates interact with and influence work group processes is an important indicator of a program's success.

"Our analysis found that faculty development programs go beyond impacting the individual faculty member to ultimately impact the entire workplace community," said co-author Margaret Plack, DPT, Ed.D., professor of physical therapy and health care sciences at GW SMHS.

A qualitative study of 13 departments across three institutions found that in the presence of environmental facilitators, graduates exhibited enhanced confidence and five new behaviors. Graduates:

  • became a resource and shared expertise;
  • role-modeled good practices;
  • role-modeled systematic approaches;
  • fostered collaboration; and
  • assumed new roles.

As a result, graduates raised peer awareness, leading to changes in individual and group practices and development of shared peer understanding. They also facilitated a culture of continuous learning around teaching, scholarship, and leadership.

Explore further: GW spirituality and health pioneer publishes paper on development of the field

More information: "How Learning Transfers: A Study of How Graduates of a Faculty Education Fellowship Influenced the Behaviors and Practices of Their Peers and Organizations" was published in Academic Medicine on Aug. 5.

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