Exploring the culture of faculty development: insights from Canadian leaders of faculty development





Background: Although the word culture is frequently mentioned in research on faculty development (FD), the concept is rarely explored. This research aimed to examine the culture of FD in Canada, through the eyes of leaders of FD in the health professions.  Studying culture can help reveal the practices and implicit systems of beliefs and values that, when made explicit, could enhance programming.

Method: FD leaders from all Canadian medical schools were invited to participate in semi-structured telephone interviews between November 2016 and March 2017. The researchers used a constructivist methodology and theoretical framework located within cultural studies, borrowing from phenomenological inquiry to move beyond descriptions to interpretations of participants’ perceptions. Constant comparison was used to conduct a thematic analysis within and across participants’ interview transcripts.

Results: Fifteen FD leaders, representing 88% of medical schools (15/17) in Canada, participated in this study. Four themes characterized the culture of FD: balancing competing voices and priorities; cultivating relationships and networks; promoting active, practice-based learning; and negotiating recognition.

Conclusion:  Although the culture of FD may vary from context to context, this study revealed shared values, practices, and beliefs, focused on the continuous improvement of individual and collective abilities and the attainment of excellence.


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Author Biographies

Lerona Dana Lewis, McGill University

Dr. Lerona Dana Lewis was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Health Sciences Education at McGill University at the time of this study.  She is currently a course lecturer in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. 

Yvonne Steinert, McGill University

Yvonne Steinert is a Professor of Family Medicine and Health Sciences Education, the Richard and Sylvia Cruess Chair in Medical Education, and the Founding Associate Dean of Faculty Development in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University. 


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How to Cite

Lewis L, Steinert Y. Exploring the culture of faculty development: insights from Canadian leaders of faculty development. Can. Med. Ed. J [Internet]. 2023 Apr. 19 [cited 2023 Oct. 4];14(4):15-24. Available from: https://journalhosting.ucalgary.ca/index.php/cmej/article/view/75752



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