One school's strategy to assess and improve the vitality of its faculty

Acad Med. 2002 May;77(5):368-76. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200205000-00004.


The authors report how one medical school took an evidence-based, collaborative approach to assessing and improving faculty vitality by building on previous research and including important shareholders (e.g., faculty and administrators). In 1999, the dean and faculty senate asked all full-time faculty (615) at the University of Minnesota Medical School-Twin Cities to complete a survey to (1) identify vitality areas (individual, institutional, or leadership) in which the school was strong and ones that needed improvement, (2) identify strategies for addressing weak areas, and (3) provide a baseline against which to measure the impact of any vitality efforts initiated. The survey was based on features that research studies have found to be associated with academic productivity. Seventy-six percent responded. Summaries of the survey findings were prepared for use at the school level, department level, and special group level (e.g., women, clinical-scholar-track faculty). Three key school-level findings were that (1) there is a disconnect between the stated vision of the school and the departments' visions and actions, (2) there is not enough time for scholarly activity, particularly in the clinical departments, and (3) faculty lack the support of a collegial atmosphere and appreciation for the work they do. In response to the survey's findings every department identified priority faculty needs and initiated tailored development strategies. School-wide strategies were also initiated to address faculty needs common across departments and needs unique to special groups. Together these strategies provide a multi-level, systematic approach to maintaining faculty vitality.

MeSH terms

  • Faculty, Medical* / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota
  • Needs Assessment
  • Schools, Medical