More than 100 colleagues and faculty members traveled to St. Maarten in early June for AUC’s annual Faculty Symposium. The meeting, which continues to grow every year, provides clinical faculty, hospital coordinators, and program directors the opportunity to collaborate on educational initiatives that benefit our students during their clinical education.
With the travel theme: Destination World Class, the Symposium focused on AUC’s continued journey as a leading international medical school and an institution of choice and opportunity for students. Workshops, presentations, and roundtable meetings facilitated open dialogue about important issues in medical education and practice—topics like curriculum mapping, innovative learning strategies such as flipped classrooms, career advising opportunities, the cognitive social and emotional aspects of medical education, and interventions to support challenged learners, among others.
“Medical school is a long journey and there is no question that students have more to learn today than they did in the past—physical exams, critical thinking and reasoning, communication,” said Heidi Chumley, MD, Executive Dean and Chief Academic Officer of AUC. “These are critically important skills and we need to build a better train to help students understand what they have learned and what they have left to learn.”
Patty Carney, PhD, Professor of Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine at Oregon Health & Sciences University’s Knight Cancer Institute, gave a keynote presentation on the changing landscape of medical education. While early educational strategies were standardized, convenient, and focused primarily on memorization, more contemporary approaches, she explained, encourage active learning, consider cognitive load, and place greater weight on individualized learning. This shift aims to turn students into adaptive learners able to retrieve and reuse information.
The flipped classroom is one such emerging technique. In this model, students do the majority of preparation before they come into the classroom and then work in small groups or “learning studios” to discuss and debate. Here, the instructor takes on more of a facilitator role.
Carney also noted the integration of live student dashboards at several schools. These cloud-based, crowd-sourced systems give students access to assessment grades but more importantly break down information to chart individual competency progress, areas of weakness, reflections, and summative comments. These platforms pull students away from the obsession of grades and instead show a more holistic picture of their training to be a physician.
Carney ended by reminding those in attendance that medical education is not solely about outputs. Borrowing a quote from the musician Drake, she noted “Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you the most about your destination.”
At the close of Symposium, AUC hosted a Hospital Fair on campus for first- and second-year students. Representatives from 22 of AUC’s affiliated US and UK clinical sites provided students with information about site facilities and the communities served, unique training opportunities, core rotations and elective offerings, and personalized answers around site-specific questions.
Virtual hospital fairs with key AUC clinical sites will continue to be held throughout the year and will provide students with additional opportunities to plan and prepare for clinical sciences.