Program Director’s Corner – July 2019
The Faculty Evaluation Meeting
David Lieb, MD
Program Director, Endocrine Fellowship Program
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Sections II.A.4.d and II.A.4.e of the ACGME Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism reminds us that as PDs we are to ‘evaluate program faculty’, and to ‘approve’ their ‘continued participation’ in the fellowship program. What are the responsibilities of our faculty? They must ‘maintain an environment of inquiry and scholarship’ and participate in didactics (journal club, case conferences, didactics). Some need to be involved in national committees/educational organizations, have peer-reviewed funding, and/or publish original work or reviews (50% of your Key Clinical Faculty).
And as per the ACGME requirements, section V.B. – the program must evaluate faculty performance (as it relates to the education program) at least once per year. This evaluation must include the faculty member’s ‘clinical teaching abilities, commitment to the educational program, clinical knowledge, professionalism and scholarly activities’. And it must include a written confidential evaluation by the fellows.
Finally, the program must ‘monitor and track’ faculty development (Section V.C.2.b).
So….easy right? Sometimes, but not always. As program director you work with faculty at all levels of professional development – folks that have just finished fellowship – perhaps at your institution, or an outside institution with its own culture; all the way to tenured professors who have been doing it their way for decades (and may not be all that flexible even when it’s required). It helps to have a framework for your annual meeting with each of your faculty. Here are some of my thoughts for what to include in such a framework.
Faculty are busy. You may only have 30 minutes to review their responsibilities, performance for the year (fellow evaluations), scholarly activity, and faculty development needs. Remember – this is not your division chief’s annual evaluation – focus on each faculty member’s evaluations (done by the fellows), their scholarly activity (as it relates to the fellowship), their concerns and how they want to (or need to) grow as a teaching faculty. Don’t lose sight – it’s about their role as teachers.
You should be meeting with each faculty member at least once per year, more often if needed. Be sure that prior to each meeting you have read through the faculty member’s evaluations from the fellows. They should have an opportunity to review their evaluations prior to your meeting as well. As with any good feedback session – start by asking ‘How do you feel things are going?’. Do they have any concerns regarding the fellowship and their role in it? What is that role – are they on the CCC? The PEC? Are they responsible for a particular part of the fellows’ procedural education (CGM, U/S, Pumps)? Do they provide didactic lectures? Ensuring that both you and the faculty member understand their role and responsibilities is a good place to start your discussion.
Review their scholarly activity, and see if fellows have been involved. If not, determine if there might be a role for a fellow (or two) in a project. Alternatively, are there projects that the faculty member would like to get started, and would benefit from fellow involvement? What are their goals with respect to medical education? See how you as the program director can provide assistance. Work with your institution’s graduate medical education council, or professional development office, to determine what classes or webinars may be offered locally for faculty development. Live sessions are often recorded and can be accessed later when it might be more convenient for your faculty member to review. It’s helpful to have a list of common topics (teaching in small vs large groups, giving feedback, etc) in professional development that may help you and the faculty member determine where their needs might be.
National organizations such as the Endocrine Society and the American Association of Medical Colleges have in-person workshops that may help your faculty with their development. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has online resources that may be useful as well. The AAMC’s MedEdPortal is a wonderful resource for online teaching and assessment resources, as is the ACGME’s Journal of Graduate Medical Education website. Faculty that are particularly interested in GME may want to go to an AAMC or ACGME national meeting, and bring back what they’ve learned to your faculty. There may be funding through your institutions GMEC for such meetings. Below I’ve listed some pertinent/helpful websites.
Occasionally there may be more significant issues regarding a faculty member’s interactions with the fellows and the fellowship program. If you have significant concerns regarding a faculty member’s ability to remain part of the fellowship program, be sure to involve your division chief and/or department chair. Your institutional graduate medical education council may also be helpful depending on the circumstances.
The faculty evaluation meeting is an opportunity to better understand your faculty members, and their needs. It’s also an opportunity to help them reach their goals within medical education. It’s an exciting part of our responsibilities as a program director.