The three pillars of development

By Max Martin, MMJC’19

Dr. Andrea Lum has a knack for dividing things into threes.

Appointed in January as the Vice Dean, Faculty Affairs, Dr. Lum breaks down the various aspects of her role into threes, summarizing her broad focus down to what she calls the “3 Rs” – recruitment, retention and retirement.

“The office of Faculty Affairs is really here to help all faculty navigate their careers from the time we recruit them to the time they retire,” said Dr. Lum.

In executing that mission, Dr. Lum acknowledges the trio of areas faculty tend to fall into: clinical, teaching and research.

“At Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, we have a very diverse faculty that spans from the Sarnia/Windsor border throughout Southwestern Ontario, and it’s likely to keep growing,” she explained.

To offer the best support throughout faculty members’ careers, Dr. Lum is focusing on three pillars: leadership and learning, wellness and wellbeing, and sport and recreation.

Leadership and learning will focus on fostering lifelong learning and developing a curriculum for faculty members to follow through their careers.

Wellbeing, Dr. Lum says, “talks about mind, body and soul” and emphasizes the importance of a Schulich Medicine & Dentistry community. “We need to be able to tell everybody how we communicate, collaborate and function together,” she said.

Finally, sport and recreation will focus on promoting health, sport and leisure activities at the School.

But the threes don’t stop there. Dr. Lum is a firm believer that everyone, no matter their profession, needs three important individuals in their life to help guide them in their career path: a mentor, a coach and a sponsor.

A mentor guides someone in realizing their career aspirations, while a coach helps them develop their skills and a sponsor assists with networking and opening new doors.

“Everyone needs those three people,” Dr. Lum said. “It’s not always well understood and I think it needs to be further developed so our faculty can really excel.”

In her first year in the role, Dr. Lum is prioritizing revamping the School’s Academic Role Categories and ensuring the office has standardized, transparent and well-understood policies and procedures. She’s also placing a focus on faculty wellbeing initiatives.

To assist in achieving these goals, Dr. Lum oversees the Assistant Dean, Faculty Equity and Wellness, and the Assistant Dean, Professional Affairs.

Dr. Lum’s distinguished career and leadership experience have prepared her to tackle these aspirations. She was the past Chair/Chief of Medical Imaging and was the first integrated city-wide Chief of Diagnostic Radiology. She recently completed an extended three-year term as Chair of the London Health Sciences Centre Medical Advisory Committee, where she led physician engagement during the recent 2018 Accreditation Survey, which achieved Exemplary recognition.

“It was the natural next step for me to want to take on the role of Vice Dean, Faculty Affairs,” Dr. Lum said. “It’s a more personal role by really being able to provide support for faculty. It feels very full circle for me.”

Now, she’s committed to helping all faculty succeed, no matter what path their career might take – and she acknowledges there are sometimes bumps or forks in the road.

During the pandemic, in order to provide a broad base of support for clinical faculty, Dr. Lum developed and implemented the first Schulich Wellbeing Program, called Peers for Peers, in just three weeks. With the engagement of clinical chairs, she established a team of 17 Wellbeing Leads from every clinical department, including Leads for Dentistry and the Windsor Campus. Within one month, additional divisional Leads were added. The program is vested in empathetic listening by peers who have shared experience, evolving into the next phase of 'GPS' or 'Guiding Peers Schulich', which will assist faculty and enable them to find wellbeing resources.

“Careers aren’t always a direct pathway; so whatever a faculty member's route, we are here to assist and provide guidance,” said Dr. Lum. “The Schulich Wellbeing Program is succeeding because of our engaged team of Leads, providing their support for their peers by having those informal confidential empathetic conversations, a silver lining of the COVID-19 situation."