Eva’s Excerpt February 2020

Move fast with stable infrastructure ~ Mark Zuckerberg

We are quickly approaching the launch of the Gateway Curriculum. As we do so, I want to bring our attention back to some of the critical supporting infrastructure that is foundational to our current and future success as one of the best medical schools in the country. In education, I think about infrastructure as inclusive of three primary domains: space (and associated technology/equipment), resources, and most importantly, people.

WUSM has made sizable investments in space, equipment and technology over many years. Farrell Learning and Teaching Center (FLTC) and Becker Medical Library are beautiful spaces that house the core infrastructure for our teaching and learning needs.  This summer, FLTC is undergoing technology upgrades in Connor and Holden to enhance the learning experiences within those classrooms. Between late May and October, the 1st year medical student carrel space on the 3rd floor of FLTC will be extensively renovated to create a combination of social, study and relaxation spaces. The 2nd year space on the 4th floor will follow in the summer of 2021. Becker has undergone significant renovations over multiple years, most recently to enhance the soundproofing and to create study spaces that meet a variety of student needs. Becker is now home to the educational leadership for student affairs, curriculum, program evaluation, educational research, medical student research, DBBS and MSTP- creating an educational hub. A new instructional design studio opened last month in the lower level of Becker with a soundproof video-recording studio, light board and green screen technologies, and a recording booth for supported or independent screencast recording. In support of moving to more active learning formats, the Cori and Erlanger auditoriums are being renovated to create flat, interactive large group spaces ideal for team-based learning, labs and other group work. These spaces are anticipated to be ready for the launch of Gateway in July. Finally, the Wood Simulation and Standardized Patient Center will gain four new exam rooms and some upgrades to its space to enhance our abilities in both teaching and assessment.

Dean Colson joined us a little over a year ago to lead the Program Evaluation and Continuous Quality Improvement Unit (PECQI). Her team oversees our quality control program-wide to ensure we are always doing the best for our learners both in UME and GME and they will lead our LCME review process in 2022-23. Dean Moscoso is building an incredible new coaching program in support of our students and is supporting critical new wellness and study prep resources. Dean Ratts has launched our impressive new scholarship program and is piloting new and creative processes in admissions. Drs. Jan Hanson and Donna Jeffe are bringing new life to the Medical Education Research Unit which launched its first set of small grants last month, and which will be providing support and training in educational scholarship. Finally, Dr. Mary Klingensmith has launched the Academy of Educators in support of faculty educators across the School of Medicine. In addition to providing a community for all educators at WUSM, the Academy supports faculty and career development, advocacy, awards and recognition for educators. Drs. Steve Taff and Dominique Cosco have implemented important career development programming for educators to support teaching, education and assessment. All of this is supported by the more than $100 million dollar commitment the Dean has made to education over the next 10 years.

I want to take a moment to call out the truly critical investment our faculty and staff have always and continue to make in our current and future learners. This investment comes in the form of time, energy and passion that I believe to be unprecedented among medical schools and what is truly the “special sauce” of WUSM. I get to see this commitment every day and in this time of significant change, it makes it all the more impressive. Each day, I see the commitment of our staff to ensure our students and faculty can have the best possible support for their educational work. I see them advocate for and create processes that support best practices and I see them drop everything to meet the needs of a student or faculty member with a problem. I see faculty who care so deeply about delivering the best educational experience to the students that they make both small and big changes to address even the smallest of critiques. I see faculty who always make time to talk to students and residents about their interests, needs, and concerns and to support them in their passions and career development. Moreover, I am blessed to work with a very large team of people who are working harder than anyone could ever expect while launching a new, innovative and truly remarkable Gateway Curriculum.  I know I have said this before, but I do not think I can say it enough—all of you—staff, students, faculty, working on the current and the new, you are exceptional. You are the most important infrastructure, the foundation upon which all of education is built. Thank you for making us the best medical school in the world!