KeyLIME Session 204:
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Shinkai et al. Rethinking the Educator Portfolio: An Innovative Criteria-Based Model Acad Med. 2018 Jul;93(7)
Reviewer: Jason Frank (@drjfrank)
Tell me something, dear clinician-educator: In your institution, who is more likely to be recognized: your colleague the hard-core science researcher, or your most outstanding teacher? Who will make full professor sooner? Who will get bigger grants and accolades? Who is more likely to be an academic department chair? Who is more likely to make an impact on the competence and lives of hundreds of trainees…Wait that last one is the teacher.
Our higher education heritage favours scholars that fit a narrow profile of what it means to produce effective scholarship. Think about these words in the context of an academic medical environment:
- Scholarly work
- Recognized scholarship
Many teachers may teach as if it is the work to get through, others are thoughtful and informed by theory and display scholarly work. Others convert their educational roles into education scholarship: building up previous work and theory, developing a novel contribution, and disseminating it in a way that can be peer reviewed. Finally, some teachers and educators get academic recognition for this work. While there are a few very progressive institutions that recognize the work of effective teachers as scholarship, there are many barriers. Barriers include:
- A narrow definition of what “scholarship” will be recognized
- Difficulty disseminating & getting peer review of educational work
- Lack of clear criteria for what is excellence in meded scholarship
The good news is that the work of seminal minds in education have advanced this conversation, including Boyer (Scholarship Reconsidered, 1990), Glassick (Scholarship Assessed, 1997), Deborah Simpson (Med Ed, 2007), & Elaine van Melle (Med Ed, 2014).
The bad news is that the problem persists, and this has lead to generations of teachers and educators in medicine feeling like they get no respect.
Enter the authors from UCSF in San Francisco: they set out to address the problem of academic recognition of medical educator / teacher contributions by enhancing the Educator’s Portfolio, the summary document that displays a body of meded work. Specifically, they set out to redesign the UCSF educator portfolio to:
- Display faculty members’ current academic activities related to meded,
- Facilitate rigorous peer review,
- Provide an improved tool for professional development.
Key Points on Method
This is a report of an innovation. The authors undertook these steps:
- Began with the school’s existing educator portfolio
- Gathered educators at the school and made revisions as a group
- Incorporated criteria for evaluating educator excellence
- Used workshops on faculty development to obtain iterative feedback for revisions
- Piloted the new portfolio template for applications to the local Academy of Medical Education
- Convinced the Medical School to adopt it for all teachers applying for academic promotion
The authors provided a template and an example of the enhanced educator portfolio which they suggested be incorporated right into an educator’s CV. They also provide the UCSF criteria for educational excellence.
However, they did not explore altmetrics nor more modern media such as blogs as scholarship. (See Sherbino, Arora, et al. PMJ 2015)
The authors conclude that their new portfolio is an enhanced method for recognizing and communicating educational scholarship.
Spare Keys – other take home points for clinician educators
- This is a great example of turning scholarly work into visible scholarship.
- We all need to advocate in our institutions around the world for greater support and respect for meded scholarship.
- The Table 1 in this paper is both a beautiful example of knowledge translation of Glassick’s criteria to meded and a useful resource for all of us to adapt for our own school.
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