Education Report

Collaborating to advance faculty development

The Centre for Faculty Development has taken the lead in bringing together international expertise to advance faculty development by hosting the inaugural International Conference on Faculty Development in The Health Professions. "This was the first time that individuals from all over the world came together to really share the things they were doing and present an opportunity to learn from each other," said Karen Leslie, the centre's director.

Built on the central tenets of inclusivity, sharing and partnership, the Centre for Faculty Development recently celebrated its 10th anniversary as a unique partnership between St. Michael's and the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. The centre's goal is to support faculty at all Toronto teaching hospitals that have informal or formal teaching and education roles. "If you're presenting rounds, mentoring junior colleagues or engaged in education scholarship, we're here to help you do it to the best of your ability," said Leslie.

The conference's goal was the creation of communities of practice across the globe. To that end, the conference brought together nearly 350 participants from 28 different countries to produce about 200 short communications and posters and 30 workshops. A second international conference is planned for the summer of 2013 to be held in Prague, in what is now a biannual tradition.

Recognizing that not everyone has the time or resources to attend a week–long, international conference, the centre also recently launched a program that would help address the need for more "bite–sized" development opportunities.

"We wanted quick, web–based, modern exercises that would focus on specific learning objectives," said Evan Tannenbaum, a University of Toronto medical student who has been working with the Centre for Faculty Development to develop the new Accessible Resource for Teaching program. The program offers 15–minute exercises on a variety of topics. All exercises are evidence–based and formed around student input. With more than 400 registrants from eight different countries since November 2011, health educators from around the world are seeing value in the ART's format.