A Legacy of Learning: UW School of Medicine and Public Health Faculty Educational Workshop

MADISON - One afternoon a month throughout the academic year, a group of University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health faculty and teaching staff actively engage in workshops to enhance their teaching and educational leadership skills.
Led by Craig Gjerde, PhD, director of faculty development and professor of Family Medicine, they've made a commitment to become excellent teachers and to prepare themselves as future educational leaders for the institution.
Medical Education Development and Leadership (MEDAL)
The program, known as Medical Education Development and Leadership (MEDAL), helps prepare faculty for their ever-changing roles.
"We know," says Gjerde, "that a prerequisite for attracting the very best students and residents is to attract and retain the very best faculty."
MEDAL participants are a mix of new and seasoned teachers. Limited to 15-20 participants, the program is designed to encourage interaction. Participants learn from each other how best to share their knowledge and expertise with learners.
When the course ends, they have enhanced their skills in creating learning environments in the classroom, laboratory and hospital setting. Just as important, they have developed supportive relationships with colleagues from other departments and disciplines.
"Participants are often unfamiliar with others in their cohort at the beginning of the year, but they soon build a sense of camaraderie and trust," says Gjerde. "The program creates a community of adult learners who educate each other and support each other in the discussion of class and project ideas."
"The groups consist of faculty from many departments and from (UW School of Medicine and Public Health campuses statewide," says Gjerde.
Building Momentum Across Wisconsin
What began as a pilot program in 1996, continues to build momentum more than a decade later. This year the program reached a new milestone when it broadened to include learners who participate by video conference from UW School of Medicine and Public Health's Wausau and Marshfield campuses.
In all, more than 200 UW School of Medicine and Public Health faculty have completed the nine-month leadership development program. Graduates say MEDAL has helped them increase their teaching potential, build solid working relationships with colleagues and strengthen the UW statewide educational program.
Says Gjerde, "Faculty carry what they learn at the MEDAL seminars far beyond the nine months of study. Program graduates have been good recruiters for new trainees and many graduates are now in leadership positions at UW."