Inaugural GUMC Teaching Academy Members Installed at Convocation

Posted in GUMC Stories

Nov. 8, 2015 — The inaugural membership cohort of the GUMC Teaching Academy for the Health Sciences was installed at the 2015 GUMC Fall Convocation ceremony on Nov. 3.

The 68 initial members represent various disciplines across the medical center from family medicine to nursing to radiology. The teaching academy, which is part of the Center for Innovation and Leadership in Education (CENTILE), was first conceived at a CENTILE retreat held in July 2013. Forty faculty members from across the medical center agreed there was a need for a group of peers that support educators by providing instruction, skill building and peer recognition.


The teaching academy offers a wide variety of programming. According to Peg Weissinger, EdD, MBA, associate director of CENTILE and the director of the teaching academy, the programming is driven by its members.

“What our members are telling us is that they have diverse needs. We are developing everything from one-session workshops to extended support structures,” said Weissinger.

The three main topics that members have expressed interest in are direct teaching, advising and mentoring and educational leadership skills.

“Our younger faculty members are looking at a career trajectory that involves being leaders in their departments,” said Weissinger. “For example, the winter 2016 academic book club is focusing on the “hidden curriculum,” subliminal messages – good and not-so-good – that teachers send to learners. A second example is an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) leadership training, co-sponsored with our clinical partner, MedStar Health,” she said.

An Inclusive Group

According to CENTILE director Aviad Haramati, PhD, the first teaching academy was formed at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Today there are teaching academies at over 30 colleges and universities.

“The GUMC Teaching Academy invites membership at various levels,” said Haramati. “The teaching academy at UCSF is only for distinguished members of the faculty that have given years of service, but the GUMC task force that launched the academy wanted it to be an entity that nurtures faculty as they move through the ranks.”

To ensure that the teaching academy was available to all faculty, the task force created several membership levels from protégé to distinguished member. Protégé members are post-doctoral students, residents and clinical fellows who are at the end of their training and aspire to a teaching career, while associate, principal and distinguished members have more teaching experience and want to enhance their skills. All members must submit an application teaching portfolio, which is peer reviewed.

A Focus on Education

Teaching academy members are recognized in five different domains: direct teaching, advising and mentoring, curriculum development/instructional design, educational scholarship and educational leadership. Faculty members must achieve excellence in one of the five categories to be eligible for principal membership, while distinguished members must achieve excellence in at least three of the five.

“At GUMC, we have clinicians who teach and researchers who teach. But if you see education as your main career path, you need a mechanism to enhance your skill set,” said Haramati. “That is what the teaching academy is. It’s a group of peers that recognizes the value of education and offers the opportunity for peer recognition.”

A Community of Practice

According to Weissinger, the teaching academy model is one of a community of practice, defined as “a group of people who share a passion for something, and who want to learn how to do it better.” Through regular interactions, community members engage in collective learning. To develop future programming, the academy will turn to its members, who are experts in various fields.

For example, the academy plans to develop a professional development opportunity focused on mentorship.

“We plan to harness members of our community who have the skill set to teach their colleagues about mentorship,” said Weissinger.

The teaching academy also plans on developing faculty-learning communities that would provide the opportunity for faculty across sectors to come together over an area of interest such as active learning or assessment strategies. The communities would meet periodically to provide feedback and support around that specific area of interest.

“The main thing is that the academy is driven by its members. We exist to provide professional opportunities that our faculty members need,” said Weissinger.

To view a complete list of the inaugural members of the GUMC Teaching Academy for the Health Sciences, click here.

Leigh Ann Renzulli
GUMC Communications