Objective: This study aimed to establish documentation standards for medical education activities, beyond educational research, for academic promotion consistent with principles of excellence and scholarship.
Methods: In 2006 a Consensus Conference on Educational Scholarship was convened by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Education Affairs (GEA) to outline a set of documentation standards for use by educators and academic promotion committees. Conference participants' work was informed by more than 15 years of literature on scholarship, educator portfolios and academic promotion standards.
Results: The 110 conference participants, including medical school deans, academic promotion committee members, department chairs, faculty and AAMC leaders, re-affirmed the 5 education activity categories (teaching, curriculum, advising and/or mentoring, education leadership and/or administration, and learner assessment), the contents of each category, and cross-category documentation standards. Educational excellence requires documentation of the quantity and quality of education activities. Documenting a scholarly approach requires demonstrating evidence of drawing from and building on the work of others, and documenting scholarship requires contributing work through public display, peer review and dissemination; both involve engagement with the community of educators. Implementation of these standards - quantity, quality and engagement with the education community - should occur in parallel with the development of an infrastructure to support educators, including sustained faculty development for educators, access to educational resources and journals, peer review mechanisms and consultation and support specific to each activity category.
Conclusions: Educators' contributions to their institutions must be visible to be valued. The establishment of documentation standards for education activities provides the foundation for academic recognition of educators.