The advisory dean program: a personalized approach to academic and career advising for medical students

Acad Med. 2007 Jul;82(7):718-22. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3180674af2.


Advising and mentoring programs for medical students vary in their official names, scope, and structures. Catalyzed by negative student feedback regarding career advising and a perceived disconnection between faculty and students, in academic year 2003-2004, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons implemented its formal Advisory Dean (AD) Program and disbanded its former advising system that used faculty volunteers. The AD Program has become a key element for enhancing the students' professional development throughout their student training, focusing on topics including, but not limited to, career counseling, professionalism, humanism, and wellness resources. Advisory deans and the dean for student affairs, familiar with resources for academic development, student support, and extracurricular activities, operate at the nexus of the program, providing personalized mentoring and advising for each student. Fully supported by administration and faculty, the program has shown early success according to student feedback. Early feedback from the Class of 2006, who had been involved in our AD Program for three years, has been encouraging. Out of 152 students, 104 (68%) provided feedback, with 93 (89%) of the respondents reporting the AD Program as a valuable initiative. Expecting to further improve on this early positive response, the AD Program will continue to foster an environment conducive to a seamless transition from student to physician.

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees*
  • Education, Medical*
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Mentors*
  • Program Development*
  • United States