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The essentials of a faculty development program in the setting of a new medical school
  1. Sanja Kupesic Plavsic1,2,
  2. Zuber D Mulla1,2
  1. 1 Office of Faculty Development, Paul L Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA
  2. 2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Paul L Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Zuber D Mulla, Office of Faculty Development, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, Paul L Foster School of Medicine, MSC 21007, 5001 El Paso Drive, El Paso, TX 79905, USA; zuber.mulla{at}

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Health sciences centers rely on competent and engaged faculty for their success, and therefore a robust faculty development program is a must for every academic institution. We report on the Comprehensive Faculty Development Program that we have implemented at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. A wide variety of options are available to our faculty including a customizable Institutional Faculty Development Course, mentoring across the professional lifespan, and a Leadership Development Academy. We feel that a broad and responsive faculty development program helps ensure that academic health centers recruit and retain vibrant faculty.

In this paper, we describe an innovative and comprehensive faculty development program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC EP). TTUHSC EP is a public university with about over 400 full-time and part-time faculty members, located on the USA–Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. TTUHSC EP has four academic units: the Paul L Foster School of Medicine, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the Woody L Hunt School of Dental Medicine. The Office of Faculty Development (OFD) serves the needs of faculty in each of the four sister schools by coordinating a diverse faculty development program that supports the academic goals of our institution: excellence in teaching, research/scholarship, clinical skill/simulation (for practicing clinicians), and administrative/leadership skills.

The OFD team is composed of four staff members and two faculty leaders, the associate and assistant deans. The associate dean is a physician while the assistant dean is an epidemiologist. Both deans have an appointment with a clinical department, and 60% and 70% of their time, respectively, is dedicated to their administrative role. Our faculty development programs are publicly announced and open to our volunteer, full-time and part-time faculty. These opportunities are accessible to faculty located …

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  • Editor's note DR RICHARD W MCCALLUM, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: The concept of a Faculty Development Program is crucial to sustaining the ongoing academic growth of faculty. The specific setting captured by the authors in their article is that of how to design and evolve such a Program in the setting of a new medical school without the history and tradition of established universities. This “model” proposed by the authors is comprehensive and inclusive, involving clinical and basic science faculty as well as adjunct appointees in community practice who are also crucial to the increasing teaching demands of an expanding medical school. This “blue print” that has been successfully developed at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC EP) in far West Texas, has the credibility because it has been able to evolve and adapt as the medical school now achieves its 10th year anniversary. While the Paul L Foster School of Medicine at TTUHSC EP is ten years old, its predecessor was in existence for many years as a regional campus medical school. The Faculty Development Program described in the accompanying paper began as a faculty development course in 2003. The TTUHSC EP Office of Faculty Development has expanded since that time and now serves the needs of the entire TTUHSC EP faculty body including the nursing, dental, and graduate schools. This “model” also has accompanying objective evidence of success with faculty having “graduated” from the curriculum and in turn contributing to an expanding medical center. This “in- house model” can certainly be adopted and modified to the specific needs and settings of other schools. It must be augmented by faculty often attending regional and national meetings where they can build on the foundations of this Faculty Development Program. All this infrastructure has the goal of trying to ensure faculty success, professional competence, and preparation for the challenges of a changing medical scene. DR ZORISADDAY GONZALEZ, ASSISTANT TO THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: As a future graduate of the Center for Neurogastroenterology and Gastroenterology (GI) Motility Center at TTUHSC EP, future GI Fellow at the University of New Mexico, and future representative of academic and clinical medicine, the concept of a Faculty Development Program is an appealing and encouraging one. One of the challenges I foresee as a future junior faculty member is adapting to the ever-changing trends in teaching and assessment methods, attaining resources for both personal and leadership growth, and availability of supportive and inspirational mentors. Through professional development programs described in this model, a customized and supportive multidisciplinary faculty team can individually help meet the needs of younger faculty by trying to understand, address, and support their specific long- standing academic goals. As a future educational leader, having the right support early on in one’s career - in a nurturing environment - will build a solid foundation necessary to shape the next generation of physicians and clinical scholars.

  • Contributors All authors participated in writing the manuscript and final approval.

  • Funding This work was internally supported by the Office of Faculty Development, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, El Paso, Texas.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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