From novice to informed educator: the teaching scholars program for educators in the health sciences.Acad Med. 2006 Nov; 81(11):969-74.AM
The Teaching Scholars Program for Educators in the Health Sciences at McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec, was designed to promote the professional development of health science educators by increasing their expertise in developing and implementing educational programs and taking on leadership roles in education. This program, which was initiated in 1997 and is tailored to the individual needs of the participants, consists of participation in: two university courses; a monthly seminar; a research study or an educational project, consisting of curriculum design and evaluation; and faculty-wide faculty development activities. As of 2006, 34 scholars have completed this program. Outcome data indicate that the majority of teaching scholars have taken on new roles and responsibilities in medical education; maintained the changes implemented in their teaching practices; continued to participate in faculty development activities; and presented their work at educational meetings. A number of scholars have also applied successfully for educationally related grants and have published their educational projects. Five of the scholars have pursued advanced studies. This program, which aims to move beyond the improvement of teaching skills by providing a foundation for educational leadership and scholarship, resembles many others in its emphasis on independent study, peer support, and the maintenance of ongoing responsibilities. It is innovative in that scholars participate in university courses and are encouraged to attend an "outside" conference or course. The overall benefits of this program, as noted by the scholars, include increased knowledge and skills, introduction to a "community of practice," and new career paths and opportunities.