Anatomy of an Education Faculty Meeting

By Michael A. Gisondi (@MikeGisondi)

Faculty meetings are challenging.

Meeting agendas are generally packed with numerous announcements, acknowledgements, task force reports, and discussions. Various stakeholder groups each require time to inform the faculty about important new initiatives and protocols. And, despite the very best efforts of our chairs, these meetings often feel rushed and rarely end on time.

The realities of the faculty meeting are no one’s fault. There is a lot of ground to cover each month and all the missions of the department needs some attention. Invariably, some portion of the meeting is dedicated to the educational programs in the department, such as medical student clerkships or residency programs. And to the educators, this time never feels sufficient. Educational administrators need to use their small percentage of the agenda wisely, and they can rarely cover more than 1-2 items in any depth. Communication is often unidirectional from the administrator to the faculty, with little opportunity for meaningful discussion.

Enter the Education Faculty Meeting.

Education Faculty Meeting, or ‘EFM’ as it is lovingly described in our department, is a separate faculty meeting dedicated to the oversight of our educational programs. I started hosting a monthly education faculty meeting several years ago to give our educational administrators the time and space necessary to get into the weeds and coordinate their work. The meeting has evolved over time and now addresses several purposes. Below I share the anatomy of Stanford Emergency Medicine’s Education Faculty Meeting, a pause that I look forward to each month.

Some Tips for Designing Your Education Faculty Meeting

  • Begin with the ‘Meeting Priorities’ each time. Remind everyone why the meeting exists. Our Meeting Priorities are displayed on the first presentation slide each month:
    • Improve Patient Care Through Rigorous Education Research
    • Coordinate Our Educational Programs
    • Provide Targeted Faculty Development
    • Advance the Science of Medical Education
  • Make it fun. We use a book raffle to encourage on-time attendance, promote engagement, recommend a new professional development book, and have some fun.
  • Celebrate your staff. We award the ‘Outstanding Educator of the Month’ and recognize recent faculty accomplishments each month.
  • Learn something together. We dedicate 20 minutes of each meeting to faculty development. We rotate the role of teacher each month and focus the sessions on skill acquisition.
  • Do work. The primary goal of an education faculty meeting is to coordinate the work of our educational programs through presentations and discussions. Without this structure, its easy for individual programs to become siloed and for their work to be duplicative or conflicting.

Acknowledgment: The author thanks Adrene Garabedian for her expertise and dedication to making each Education Faculty Meeting run smoothly and effectively.


About the Author: Michael A. Gisondi, MD is an emergency physician, medical educator, and education researcher who lives in Palo Alto, California. Michael currently holds a position as Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Education in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University. Twitter: @MikeGisondi

Photo Credit: Pexels

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. For more details on our site disclaimers, please see our ‘About’ page