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School of Medicine

Career Development

Awards and Recognition

Teaching Excellence Awards

Background

In the fall of 1998, Senior Associate Dean H. H. (Dickie) Newsome, Jr., M.D., initiated an annual program to recognize and reward teaching excellence in the School of Medicine. Dr. Newsome appointed an ad hoc committee charged with the task of researching, developing and implementing new teaching awards. The committee reviewed the biomedical and education literatures, interviewed administrators of nine medical schools and researched existing teaching awards. Two awards, established in the early 1990s, the Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence and the Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching, were incorporated in the award program. The committee’s yearlong effort cumulated in a teaching awards program held on October 4, 1999. The awards event occurred in conjunction with a day long New Faculty Orientation.

Summary

The School of Medicine (SOM) Teaching Awards Program honors faculty members for excellence in the achievement of our educational mission. Awards fall into three categories. The School of Medicine recognizes individuals and sometimes groups. Each category is based on the method used to nominate and select an award candidate and to document teaching competencies.

I. Teaching Excellence Awards form one kind of recognition and consist of four awards:

Faculty colleagues, administrators, students or a candidate may nominate any SOM faculty member teaching in undergraduate medicine, basic sciences, graduate education, continuing education or other schools/programs at the Academic Medical Center. Multiple kinds of documentation support evidence of superior teaching abilities.

II. The second type of recognition is the Outstanding Teacher Awards in Undergraduate Medical Education. Two kinds of awards are given:

Student evaluations are an important element in the selection of these recipients. These awards acknowledge outstanding teaching within each of the undergraduate School of Medicine courses and clerkships. Eligibility for these awards is thus confined to faculty teaching in courses or clerkships.

III. The third category of recognition is the Outstanding Teacher Awards in Health Sciences Education. One type award is conferred.

  • Outstanding Departmental Teacher Awards (selection by each basic science department)
    The award is departmental in nature and is implemented in those departments which choose to implement the awards and which have significant teaching responsibilities in undergraduate, graduate, professional and outreach programs. Departments include Anatomy and Neurobiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biostatistics, Division of Epidemiology (Department of Family Medicine and Population Health), Health Behavior and Policy, Human and Molecular Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Physiology and Biophysics. Each department determines award criteria and eligibility for its faculty members.

Detailed Description of Awards

I. Teaching Excellence Awards

The Enrique Gerszten M.D. Faculty Teaching Excellence Award
The Faculty Excellence Award recognizes extraordinary accomplishment in all aspects of education. This award is the School of Medicine’s highest recognition for teaching.

The School of Medicine gives the Faculty Excellence Award annually to a faculty member who is an outstanding teacher and has a compelling record of contributions to education.

As a teacher, the individual successfully stimulates student intellectual achievement through superior communication skills and interpersonal rapport. The recipient of the award enthusiastically relates information in all instructional situations, displaying outstanding scholarship, and cogent organization. The exemplary educator respects students, knows many by name and history, promotes their critical thinking and inspires students of all abilities to extraordinary accomplishment. He/she is a role model for the highest standards of professionalism.

As an educator, the individual is widely recognized for educational leadership and academic inquiry. The faculty member supports the educational excellence of colleagues, and embodies a spirit of instructional innovation.

A cash award of $1,000 will be given to the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award recipient and $3,000 for the recipient’s scholarly and educational development. The award can be used for education, scholarship, faculty development or other activities of choice (managed through recipient’s department). The individual’s name will be placed on a plaque in the lobby of Sanger Hall. Award recipients may receive the same award after three years and upon demonstration of additional achievement. A photo of the recipient will also be placed in Sanger Hall.

Three awards identify faculty contributions in specific areas of education. The awards are:


The Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching

The School of Medicine presents the Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching in recognition of superior teaching and professionalism in clinical medicine taught in the last two years of medical school and residency training. The award is named in honor of two outstanding physician educators: W. Robert Irby, M.D., and G. Watson James, III, M.D., both Professors of Internal Medicine. Whitby, Inc., a pharmaceutical marketing and research company, formerly a subsidiary of Ethyl Corporation, Richmond, VA, established the award in 1992. The award recognizes and encourages excellence in an increasingly complicated and challenging educational environment.

The faculty nominee must exhibit high standards of professionalism.

The award is funded by a gift to the MCV Foundation. A cash award from the endowment fund will be given to the recipient. Award recipients may receive the same award after three years and upon demonstration of additional achievement.


The Educational Innovation/Educational Research Award

The School of Medicine confers the Educational Innovation/Educational Research Award annually to an individual faculty member, a group, a program or an academic unit for significant educational innovation or educational research.

Innovation includes the development of educational materials, the institution of new courses or clinics, instructional methods, teaching techniques or evaluation methods, contributions to curriculum renewal or research in medical education. Examples of creative educational initiatives are curriculum or course development, computer based instructional programs, informatics applications, community service projects (local, state, national, international), community preceptor activities, measuring and reporting educational outcomes and collaborative learning programs within electronic classrooms or new course syllabi. Outstanding innovation enhances student academic attainment and may be nationally recognized.

Educational research includes scholarly investigation of educational methods, processes, attitudes and outcomes which contribute to the enhancement of the teaching mission.

The faculty nominee must exhibit high standards of professionalism.

A cash award of $500 will be given to an individual recipient with an additional $1,000 given for the recipient’s scholarly and educational development. The award can be used for education, scholarship, faculty development or other activities of choice (managed through recipient’s department). Award recipients may receive the same award after three years and upon demonstration of additional achievement.


The Distinguished Mentor Award

The School of Medicine bestows the Distinguished Mentor Award annually to a faculty member for significant contributions to the career development of others. Examples include mentorship to fellow faculty members, junior faculty, residents, fellows, medical students, graduate students, post-docs or other mentoring relationships. Diverse colleagues attribute much of their professional achievements to the guidance, sponsorship, and teaching of the influential mentor. The faculty nominee must exhibit high standards of professionalism.

A cash award of $500 will be given to an individual recipient with an additional $1,000 given to the recipient’s scholarly and educational development. The award can be used for education, scholarship, faculty development or other activities of choice (managed through recipient’s department). Award recipients may receive the same award after three years and upon demonstration of additional achievement.

Selection Committee
The Dean appoints the Teaching Excellence Awards Committee. The committee consists of two faculty members representing the basic sciences, two faculty members representing the clinical sciences, one graduate student, two M4 representatives, one resident, a representative of the Office of Faculty and Instructional Development, and the previous three recipients of the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.

II. Outstanding Teacher Awards in Undergraduate Medical Education

The School of Medicine recognizes exemplary teaching in courses and clerkships through the Outstanding Teacher Awards in Undergraduate Medical Education Program:  Best teacher awards (Pre-Clinical and Clinical), faculty with high evaluation (Clinical), and Outstanding Pre-Clinical Course Director awards.


Best Teacher in the Course and Clerkship Awards

In general, a single faculty member from each course and clerkship in the M1, M2, and M3 years will be recognized for this award. Teaching strengths recognized include providing opportunities for students to develop lifelong learning skills in critical thinking and application of material, engaging the learner through various forms of pedagogy including, but not limited to: problem solving, TBL, POGIL, presentations, good organization, enthusiasm and exemplary professionalism. Other factors considered include notable skills in such areas as lecture and bedside, clinic or laboratory learning experiences. Student evaluations are utilized to select the best teacher for each course and clerkship.

On occasion, the selection committee may elect to name an additional recipient from a course or clerkship. Conversely, the committee may choose not to present an award for a particular course or clerkship. The Selection Committee also considers the amount of time instructors have contributed to a particular course or clerkship.

Each award recipient will receive a teaching pin award, a certificate, and $100 for educational development.


Clerkship Faculty with High Evaluation Awards

All faculty who teach in M3 clerkships are considered for high evaluation awards. Award recipients must receive a ranking of excellent or higher on student evaluations. The number of awards is not limited. A certificate will be given to recipients.

Outstanding Pre-Clinical Division Directors

This award recognizes outstanding leadership and contributions to the curriculum through promoting innovative teaching and assessment methods and supporting our students as learners. Additional criteria included encouragement of course faculty to employ a variety of teaching methods; ensuring all deadlines are met and affirmative communication with students, staff and faculty.

Selection Committees

The Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education appoints an Outstanding Teacher in Undergraduate Education Awards Committee for the Pre-Clinical Phase. The M1 and M2 Committees are composed of elected student curriculum representatives; faculty from each year’s curriculum; the Assistant Dean for curriculum (ex. officio); the Assistant Dean for Medical Education, the Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education (ex. officio), and a representative from the Office of Faculty Development. Because of the structure of the third-year curriculum, the M3 Clerkship Directors submit award recipients to the Curriculum Office. Decisions for M3 awards are largely based on the student evaluations of each clerkship. The Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education and Curriculum Office Director provide oversight to the committees.

III. Outstanding Teacher Award in Health Sciences Education

The School of Medicine honors outstanding teaching in areas other than physician training through departmental awards. The awards program is located in those departments with substantial teaching commitments in undergraduate, graduate and other professional schools. These departments may also provide educational outreach to elementary and secondary school students. Departments include Anatomy and Neurobiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Community Health, Health Behavior and Policy, Human and Molecular Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Physiology and Biophysics.


Outstanding Departmental Teacher Awards

A faculty member from each department listed above will be honored as the outstanding teacher. Teaching strengths recognized may include but are not limited to significant skills in curriculum development, direct teaching, educational research or administration or the creation and evaluation of innovative teaching materials.

Each award recipient will receive a teaching pin, a certificate, and $100 for educational development.

Selection Process
The selection of the outstanding departmental teacher is determined by the department chair in cooperation with departmental faculty members, in a process determined by each department which elects to participate.