Faculty Affairs: A Q&A with Dr. Davy Cheng

On July 1, Dr. Davy Cheng began his role as Vice Dean, Faculty Affairs. A Western University Distinguished Professor, and former Chair/Chief of Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine, with membership on London hospitals Medical Advisory Council for 16 years and Chair of the Committee of Clinical Chairs at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry for the past five years, has the experience and insight to lead in this critical position at the School.

We sat down with Dr. Cheng to talk about this new position, the change in the name of the department, his goals and learn more about his priorities for the first few months as Vice Dean, Faculty Affairs.  

Is the Office of Faculty Affairs a new department?

Our Office was previously called Hospital and Interfaculty Relations, and it was being led by Dr. Margaret Steele. In an effort to create greater clarity for faculty at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, we changed the name.

What is the role of the Office of Faculty Affairs?

Faculty is the primary asset and foundation of our School in teaching our students and residents, in providing best clinical care to patients, in advancing the clinical knowledge and discovering of innovative treatment of diseases. The role of the Office of Faculty Affairs is to provide services that support Schulich Medicine & Dentistry faculty – whether it be in the area of appointments & promotion, career development planning, faculty development, mentorship, leadership development, awards recognition, equity and wellness services– we are a full-service department and our primary focus is to support faculty.

Who is part of the Office of Faculty Affairs?

The core personnel in the office includes Kay Hickey, Project Coordinator; Dr. Larry Jacobs, Assistant Dean, Faculty Affairs, Windsor Campus; Dr. Mithu Sen, Assistant Dean, Faculty, Equity and Wellness and myself. Our office also works closely with the School’s Human Resources, Education Offices, Continuing Professional Development, Communications, Learner Equity and Wellness as well as centrally with University offices such as Faculty Relations, Human Resources, Rehabilitation Services, Equity and Human Rights and with our Hospital Partners (London and Region) and SWAHN.

What have you been focused on since you started in your role?

It has been a busy few months. In addition to getting settled into the role and new work space, I’ve spent a great deal of time working with Human Resources, the Clinical Teaching Association (CTA), Clinical Departments, and the Provost Office in renewing the Conditions of Appointment document. This is a critical document for faculty (physicians) to get finalized. I’ve been consulting with the clinical departments and now we’ve set up town halls at the Windsor Campus and at our London hospital sites. My hope is to be able to get a vote on the Conditions of Appointment for Physicians document in December.

I’ve also been meeting the Clinical Chairs Group, as well as with some of our distributed faculty members to update them on the changes with our office, and highlight for them our role and how we can support them to meet their needs.

The School’s Strategic Plan, and specifically Direction #5 – Lead in programs that foster the growth and success of faculty and staff – has occupied a fair bit of my time as well. I’ve been working closely with Betty Holme, Director of Organizational Effectiveness to review the goals and the metrics for this area. There are a number of key organizational priorities that we are looking at including equity and wellness, diversity and how to champion greater profile for women; an improved and more nimble recruitment process, and improved career planning and development.

Are there other priorities that you are planning to work on?

Yes, we’re taking a close look at the Schulich Appointment and Promotions Committee and how we might expand it, and create one single stream for promotions. We’re also looking at recruitment and retention and how to improve that process.

Looking forward we have to find a better way to engage faculty in satisfaction surveys that are meaningful in where they practice. We need to work more closely with the hospitals on these types of surveys, because the feedback will help to enrich our working environments.

We’ve also created a Faculty Mentorship Award to recognize the exemplary commitment of our faculty to faculty mentorship within the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.  Information regarding the award will be included in the Call for Nominations announcement this fall.

What is the most effective way for faculty to know what is happening with the Office of Faculty Affairs?

Right now we are in the midst of updating our website. We hope it will be completed in another week or so. All the information about the Conditions of Appointments, Equity and Wellness, Promotions, Mentoring, Professional Development can be found on our website.

We want this website to be the main base in ‘one-stop’ shopping where faculty can access news and information pertinent to their work and career.

Faculty members can also contact me or Kay Hickey at any time and we’ll be able to answer their questions.

If there is only one message that you could share with faculty about the Office of Faculty Affairs – what would it be?

I want faculty to know that we value their contributions and we are here for them; we are listening to them; and we want to ensure they have what they need to be successful and satisfied in their work at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and in their careers overall.