Faculty development activities

Faculty meeting together over coffee

Faculty Development is about improving yourself and becoming better. We offer other faculty development opportunities on the hospital, department and individual level, including the Clinical Teacher Program which aims to empower physician teachers. A wide variety of topics are available to meet learner needs.

Faculty development activity goals:

  • Create opportunities to fulfill ACGME-requirements to earn CME-credit
  • Encourage faculty to share best practices, discuss weaknesses, educational challenges and opportunities in relation to medical student and resident and fellow physician education
  • Systematically improve the learning environment for our trainees and faculty to ensure patient safety and increase collaboration

Activity Levels

Hospital Level

Faculty Development Dinners

To support learning and networking, Faculty Development Dinners are hosted throughout the year and open to all Spectrum Health and graduate medical education affiliated physicians. The event is hosted by a residency or fellowship program director in collaboration with a faculty development facilitator. For the program director, the advantage of hosting this event is selecting topics that are relevant for his/ her program or department.

The goals of the faculty development dinners are to:

  • Share educational experiences
  • Get to know colleagues interested in education
  • Foster support and collaboration among colleagues
  • Learn about the chosen topic
  • Recognize challenges and learn from each other

Beginning in 2019, there have been Faculty Development Dinners hosted by TaLawnda Bragg, MD, internal medicine, and Elizabeth Prentice, MD, pediatric critical care medicine. Future Faculty Development Dinners will be hosted by Matthew Chung, MD, general surgery, and Maximiliano Tamae Kakazu, MD, pulmonary disease.

In the evaluation, attendees were asked what was most valuable about the Faculty Development Dinner. Responses include, “Enjoyed the company and the concrete examples,” “I feel that I get bored with my own teaching style and this helped me try new things,” “The open and honest conversation between colleagues,” and “The motivation topic is not usually covered, and I enjoyed revisiting it.”

Retreat for Program Directors and Associate Program Directors

Once a year, a half day retreat is organized for program directors and associate program directors. Program leaders have specific responsibilities compared to other members of the teaching team. The retreat gives them the opportunity to share their specific experiences challenges and opportunities as an educational leader and learn from one another. The goal of this retreat is to support program leaders in their development as educational leaders and create peer support to better fulfill their role.

The first retreat, in September 2020, was hosted by Raya Platte, MD, obstetrics and gynecology. The group discussed how the cultural diversity in teams could be used as an advantage for training residents and fellows.

Department Level

Every residency and fellowship program has its own dynamics and specific challenges. This can be, for example, high demands from the floor leading to feelings of burn-out, a citation from a site-visit, low morale under faculty or difficulties with giving and receiving feedback during procedures. Often these issues are not specifically addressed during the Faculty Development Dinner or during the Clinical Teacher Program because they are too specific and the program’s context plays an important role.

Therefore, on request, a faculty development session can be organized for a specific program. The length of these sessions can vary (between 20 - 90 minutes) depending on the goals of the session, the topic and the specific issue that needs to be addressed.

Some programs choose to organize a series of sessions around one topic (developing a central line checklist for the PICU) or an ongoing series of a variety of topics scheduled twice a year. In general, these topics are interactive and include participations polls, discussion and small group exercises.

In collaboration with the program director, the specific needs are discussed and based on this conversation a tailored topic or program is proposed. The topics list below describes a range of themes and subjects which can be addressed for departmental or program focused faculty development.

Department and Program Retreats

Some programs organize annual retreats for their residents, core-faculty or department. Often these retreats are focused on teambuilding, getting to know each other better or around a difficult situation that needs attention (low scores on learning environment, lack of quality evaluations for the CCC, citations from a site-visit). A retreat offers the possibility to discuss these topics in a more relaxed atmosphere, different from regular meetings.

In a recent retreat, the internal medicine residency program discussed feedback and how residents and faculty could improve their feedback culture. The pediatric emergency medicine fellowship program organized a retreat for core-faculty about teambuilding. For over three hours they discussed the different roles team-members fulfilled. Team-members shared their perspectives on each other’s roles and discussed the contribution of the different team-members to the learning environment.

Department Grand Rounds

Grand Rounds can be characterized by "being held away from the medical ward, available to a diverse audience and consider a topic of broad appeal."1 Many educational topics lend themselves well to the Grand Rounds setting, especially when they are evidence based, practical and applicable and focus on the learner, the faculty, administrators, the culture and most importantly address the impact of education on patient safety.


1. Jattan A, Francois J. Twelve tips for adapting grand rounds for contemporary demands. Med Teach. 2021 Mar 16:1-5. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2021.1898573. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33725468.

Individual Level


Occasionally, faculty have questions that might not be of interest to other colleagues, aspects related to their personal growth, questions about collaboration, about team culture, or dealing with a difficult learner. It can be helpful to discuss these issues with a ‘neutral’ person.

The goal of these consultations is to:

  • Support faculty in their role
  • Connect faculty to persons or resources that might be able to help
  • Assist in finding a solution when it is an education related problem

Examples of faculty consults topics:

  • How to make the learning environment safe within the program
  • Finding an external speaker for an education related topic
  • Brainstorm how to organize a retreat for the department or program
  • How to increase observations in the areas of professionalism, collaboration and communication
  • Working with learners who lack self-insight
  • Teaching learners who struggle with feedback
  • Motivating colleagues to become more engaged with teaching
  • Encouraging colleagues to attend or become involved with faculty development
  • Setting up a mentoring system within the program
  • Brainstorm how to involve humanities in the teaching program
  • Brainstorm how to find more fulfillment in your job
  • Asking for Letter of Recommendation
  • Asking for a peer observation of teaching
  • Brainstorm how to let education count for portfolio and promotion

Medical Education Scholarship

The ACGME requirements make it clear that faculty "have to serve as role models of excellence, compassion, professionalism, and scholarship.” (p.3). Scholarship can be defined as. It is important for programs to “demonstrate evidence of scholarly activities consistent with its mission(s) and aims, […] allocate adequate resources to facilitate resident and faculty involvement in scholarly activities, [and] advance residents’ knowledge and practice of the scholarly approach to evidence-based patient care.(p.24).

Medical Education activities are mentioned in three of the seven domains in which programs need to demonstrate accomplishments:

  1. Creation of curricula, evaluation tools, didactic educational activities, or electronic educational materials
  2. Contribution to professional committees, educational organizations, or editorial boards
  3. Innovations in education (p.26)

Possible outcomes of scholarship can be measured by: “faculty participation in grand rounds, posters, workshops, quality improvement presentations, podium presentations, grant leadership, non-peer reviewed print/electronic resources, articles or publications, book chapters, textbooks, webinars, service on professional committees, or serving as a journal reviewer, journal editorial board member, or editor”.

The goal of the medical education scholarship consulting is to help programs accomplish these ACGME-requirements tailored to the field of medical education. Through consultation, we offer faculty, fellow and resident physicians guidance and opportunities regarding their medical education projects.

Topics and questions regularly discussed include:

  • How to find education grants
  • How to write grant proposals
  • Study designs,
  • Manuscript writing
  • Finding a home for a manuscript
  • Data-collection and data-analysis
  • How to find avenues to publish and present your work
  • Creating visual abstracts
  • Struggling with writing
  • Questions about how medical education can count towards your Medical Education Portfolio
  • How to find other institutions/peers that would like to collaborate
  • How to respond to reviewer feedback
  • How to involve residents, fellows and faculty in medical education research or in Quality Improvement projects

Faculty Development Topics

Clinical Setting

Supervising skills: We explore the different stages of the Reporter-Interpreter-Manager-Educator (RIME) Framework and how this affects supervision.

Clinical skills teaching: We explore Peyton’s four step model to teach clinical skills and we discuss how it can be adjusted to different teaching situation.

Bedside teaching (Inpatient): We explore the steps to create a bed-side teaching experience in which the whole team is involved and that is safe for both the learner and the patients

Teaching in ambulatory care (Outpatient): We explore techniques that are specifically applicable for teaching in busy ambulatory care settings, including one-minute precepting, effective incorporation of direct observation, and providing effective feedback efficiently.

Observation, Assessment & Feedback

These topics are very suitable for Grand Rounds or a Retreat.

Observation: We explore the key-elements of a good observation; time commitment, focus, position, credibility, introduction to the patient and the closing of the session.

Feedback (providing): We explore how to give feedback in in a short amount of time, using Pendleton’s rules of giving feedback.

Feedback (receiving): We explore how feedback is being processed and learner’s and teacher barriers that may enhance and prevent the message form coming across (emotions).

Feedback (seeking): We explore how faculty and learners can enhance feedback seeking, and we teach five questions learners can ask to get more specific feedback.

Feedback and emotions: We explore why emotions are often provoked by feedback providing and receiving and we will explore what these emotions are, and how they affect our feedback conversations.

Video feedback: We explore the strength and the weaknesses of video-feedback and how it can be used in our daily practice.

Five essential elements of feedback conversations: We explore which five elements should be present in each feedback conversation.

Milestones & Evaluations (ACGME): We explore how the ACGME-milestones can help team-members to make formative and summative assessment of learners stronger.

Workplace based assessment: We explore the different tools that can be used to assess learners (medical student, residents and fellows) to assess the learners in the workplace, such as: Mini-CEX, 360-degree feedback, Skills observation, and feedback.

Difficulties in Education

These topics are very suitable for Grand Rounds or a Retreat.

Micromanagement: We explore the consequences of micromanagement for the learners, the team, the micromanager and the learning environment.

The struggling learner: We explore how the struggling learner can become visible, the different natures of learner’s struggles, how this can affect the team and other learners, and the next steps.

Teaching when time is limited: We explore a variety of didactic techniques and their backgrounds of activities that can be performed in the clinical setting which are not time consuming

Motivation: We explore the concepts of internal and external motivation and the important elements contributing to motivation: relatedness, autonomy and competence.

Engaging learners: We explore adult learning, what is important for adults to be engage, and techniques that can be used for this.

Creating a safe learning environment: We explore the four components of a learning environment and give suggestions how the learning environment can become more safe

Difficult conversations: We explore the Behavior, Emotions, Effect, and Desired Behavior model to help us in preparing and being involved in a difficult conversation.

Classroom Teaching

Teaching large groups: We explore the group dynamics, challenges and pitfalls when teaching a large group (N>20), and discuss activities to get participants involved.

Teaching small groups: We explore the group dynamics, challenges and pitfalls when teaching a small group (N= 8-20), and discuss activities to get participants involved.

Lecturing: We explore techniques to make your lectures interactive and how you can work during lectures on information processing in your learners.

General Teaching Techniques

Learner-oriented teaching: We explore how you can guide the learner on the cognitive, affective and meta-cognitive level, while minimizing your involvement as a teacher.

Micro teaching: We explore the snippets methods. How can you teach effectively for 15 minutes, using the ‘snippet’ format.

Questioning: We explore the levels of Bloom’s taxonomy and discuss how to formulate questions that pertain to learners on different levels

Presentation skills: We explore the basics of a good presentation: Set-Dialogue Closure, and the verbal and non-verbal elements when you are presenting.

Goal setting: We explore the challenges of setting an actionable goal for yourself and your learners using the SMART-model. This topic is very suitable for Grand Rounds or a Retreat.

Individual Learning Plan: We explore the benefits and use of an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) from a faculty, resident and learning perspectives and show examples of ILP’s being used.

Mentoring: We explore the essential components necessary from both a mentor and mentee perspective to create a successful experience.

Coaching learners: We explore different techniques how learners can be coached in the clinical setting and beyond.

Creativity in education: We explore the benefits of creative elements in education: reflective writing, poetry and drawing.


These topics are very suitable for Grand Rounds or a Retreat.

Teambuilding: We explore the Belbin roles and see what elements are strongly represented in a team and which ones are no present, we explore colleagues perception of team- members based on these roles.

Group dynamics: We explore the different roles that exists in groups and how it can affect the group atmosphere.

Team and diversity: We explore how the different cultural and international backgrounds of faculty and trainees can affect education in a positive way and we explore five techniques to discuss these topics with faculty and trainees


Teaching with Zoom: We explore the possibilities that Zoom and other online tools offer to make teaching interactive and attractive (polls, break-out rooms and whiteboard).

How to work with Desire2Learn (D2L): We explore how D2L can be effectively used by program directors, coordinators and trainees.

Fellow and Resident Curriculum

Creating goals & objectives: We explore how to create measurable goals for your curriculum and the relationship between goals and objectives.

Determining appropriate instructional strategies and assessment methods: Based on created goals and objectives, rotation responsibilities, and duties, we identify effective instructional methods and assessment tools. What is the most appropriate way to teach and assess a specific objective that not only gives the learner needed feedback, but maximizes compliance on the part of faculty members?

Creating evaluations that correspond with curriculum objectives: Using identified objectives and competencies, create evaluations that measure outcomes for those specific targets, ensuring that skills trained are skills measured.

Understanding the ACGME curricular requirements, accreditation system and milestones: The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) emphasizes deliberate education on a continuous accreditation cycle with periodic self-study submissions and site visits. Continuous accreditation also includes outcomes based milestones as an educational framework for assessing resident/fellow performance in the six core competencies of patient care, medical knowledge, system based practice, practice based learning, interpersonal communication and professionalism. Consulting topics include:

  • Competencies, subcompetencies and milestones – What are they and how are they related?
  • Aligning rotational goals and objectives with ACGME program subcompetencies
  • Determining appropriate instructional strategies and assessment methods
  • Linking goals and objectives to outcomes
  • Evaluations - connecting assessment methods and subcompetencies
  • Types of formal evaluations – balancing assessment needs with evaluator compliance
Medical Education Scholarship

Low-hanging fruit in medical education: We explore different opportunities for publishing in medical education for beginners and those seeking more experience. This topic is very suitable for Grand Rounds or a Retreat.

How to start writing and keep going: We explore different tools that can be helpful in academic writing.

How to write a letter to the editor: We explore the important element in writing a letter to the editor and work on writing a first draft.