Dr. Watling successfully defends his PhD

Dr. Chris Watling, associate dean, Postgraduate Medical Education can now add PhD to a long list of degrees and honours he has achieved. He successfully defended his PhD in education at Maastricht University in the Netherlands on January 21. With this achievement, Dr. Watling becomes the first clinician at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry to earn a PhD in education and one of a very small group nationally.

Dr. Watling’s thesis was entitled Cognition, Culture, and Credibility: Deconstructing Feedback in Medical Education.

The thesis comprises a series of qualitative studies exploring the conditions necessary for feedback to acquire meaning for learners. The work highlights two previously marginalized influences on feedback: the individual learner who receives feedback, and the learning culture within which feedback is exchanged. The research used comparisons with other learning cultures to make visible some of medicine's vulnerabilities in the feedback domain. The work has already resulted in eight published papers.

“I am grateful my supervisors, Drs. Erick Driessen, Cees van der Vleuten in Maastricht and Lorelei Lingard, from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, and for the great support I've had through our School, including from the CNS Department and the Centre for Education Research and Innovation,” said Dr. Watling.