A Canadian faculty of medicine and dentistry's survey of career development needs

Med Educ. 2001 Sep;35(9):890-900. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2001.01002.x.


Introduction: Career development efforts for adult learners are more likely to succeed if they are responsive to the learners' needs, offered at convenient times, and provided in a variety of forms.

Methods: The Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta conducted a self-administered career development needs survey of full-time academic faculty. Faculty members were asked to identify how useful each of 35 career development skills would be to them and at which stage in an academic career it would be most useful. Preferred educational modes and times of delivery were also assessed. The mean rankings of skill needs were examined overall as well as by gender, academic rank, departmental category (clinician versus basic scientist), marital status, and the presence of school-aged children at home.

Results: 185 of 446 (41%) mailings were returned, of which 181 were evaluated. The number one perceived career development need across all subgroups was 'Effective writing of grants and publications'. Six of the top 10 needs were identified as useful at all career stages. Significant differences in rankings of needs were noted between subgroups. Half days were preferred to full days for career development efforts and short courses to other educational modes.

Discussion: Several career development skills were identified as priorities independently of gender, academic rank, and clinical versus basic science career tracks. Differences suggest that within a basic global programme, a variety of career development modules may need to be developed for subgroups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alberta
  • Career Choice*
  • Data Collection
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Postal Service
  • Professional Competence*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires