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Faculty Evaluation – a powerful process that enriches the faculty and student experience

Faculty evaluation is a bit of a numbers game.

With more than 700 individual classroom instructors evaluated annually, by approximately 510 students, the result is tens of thousands of evaluations - a considerable undertaking.

Unquestionably it’s a necessity.

Evaluation provides students with a voice to enrich the curriculum and the approach taken to teaching. The data provides faculty members with the information they need to understand the types of professional development they could access and assists with the development of their own plans in support of promotion and tenure. The resulting information also helps course chairs and teaching faculty determine the best way to develop and improve their courses.

As we edge closer to UME accreditation, the evaluation information will become invaluable, demonstrating the commitment of our faculty and School to continued excellence in teaching and education.

The entire process serves to create the best learning experience for students so they can become knowledgeable and thoughtful physicians.

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry supports two streams of faculty evaluation. The School uses its own form for clinical faculty members and Western’s form for faculty members in the basic sciences. Evaluations are distributed through One45, asking questions that are answered through a Likert rating scale, and giving students the opportunity to provide comments.

A staff team of two coordinates the School’s entire process of pre-clinical faculty evaluation from the distribution of the evaluation forms to the analysis and the distribution of packages with the results to faculty and leadership. Western’s Institutional Planning & Budgeting office supports the School’s evaluation process by making evaluation results available to faculty members electronically through their website.

The Undergraduate Medical Education program has a goal to have every instructor evaluated in each of the courses they teach. When the final session of a class approaches, approximately 30 per cent of students in the class receive an evaluation request. In the past, an evaluation was requested from every student and every faculty member for every course. This changed recently, based on feedback received from the students.

This change has dramatically improved the engagement with students, with response rates increasing from less than 10 per cent to 75 per cent in the past year.

Data is reviewed on a macro level by class rather than looking at individual responses.

The data serves as a foundation for changes to the curriculum and continuing professional development for the individual faculty members.

When faculty and staff look for development opportunities, they can turn to the School’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Department. CPD has the responsibility to help people get the tools they need to be successful with their research or teaching. Providing the right support for people to become better teachers is a major focus for CPD.

The Teaching Certificate Program has been offered for two years and provides core and elective courses in teaching foundations, evaluation and feedback, mentorship, scholarship, and technology and education.

Dozens of other programs are offered through CPD to assist faculty who have an interest in strengthening their skills.

CPD looks to faculty at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry to help determine the programs and courses being offered. They also have a robust needs assessment process, where they work with experts in the field and identify skills and needs that faculty require. Through a comparative analysis they can pick those needs they know will provide the biggest yield and from there develop a program.

Dr. Rich Cherry, the new associate dean for CPD, believes in the power of faculty development. “It’s an incredibly worthwhile investment for the individual and the institution. I have enjoyed the greatest advances in my career because of good faculty development and continuing medical education.”

Dr. Cherry believes that even an hour or two hour course or program can help an individual to set new goals, be inspired, be better professionals and achieve their goals for teaching, promotion and tenure.