By Matthew Brett

A network of faculty members, staff and leadership continue to implement the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Education Strategic Plan (2017-22) despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with important objectives identified for implementation by 2022.

The Education Strategic Plan (ESP) is driven by Dr. Annette Majnemer, Vice-Dean, Education, and is part of the Faculty’s Project Renaissance strategic planning exercise.

“Maintaining excellence in education amidst the pandemic is of great importance to us, and I am humbled by the compassion and creativity of our learners, faculty and staff,” says Dr. Majnemer. “This is a challenging time but also incredibly rewarding to see how our community has responded.”

Dr. Majnemer’s office met earlier this fall to take stock of accomplishments since the ESP’s adoption in 2017 and to chart a course for the years ahead. In Part 1 of this two-part series, we provide an update on what has been accomplished over the past four years as part of the ESP. Part 2, in the new year, will identify next steps and objectives for the Faculty’s educational mission into 2022.

Three themes were identified during widespread consultations that shaped the ESP:

(1) Learner-centred education

(2) Interprofessional and interdisciplinary education

(3) Educational research, scholarship and innovation

We take a glance at accomplishments to date within these three themes.


Theme 1: Learner-Centred Education
Goal 1 of the Plan states that the Faculty will embrace, “evidence-based, learning-centred educational approaches that foster deep learning and value student engagement in the educational mandate.”

Key accomplishments to date for this goal:

  • Integrating new educational leadership: The inaugural Vice-Dean, Education, and the Assistant Deans of Biomedical Sciences Education and Health Professions Education are now incorporated into the Faculty leadership structure.

Education Champions in the biomedical sciences and clinical departments are appointed and meet as needed; leaders of the Health Professions programs meet at the Alliance of Professional Programs, and there is tighter integration and communication with the Directors of Education from the McGill University Health Centre, the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal (CIUSSS West-Central Montreal) and the Montreal West Island Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre (CIUSSS-West).

  • Enhancing online education: The pandemic exponentially accelerated remote education delivery and infrastructure, with ongoing work by the Faculty itself, the Faculty Development Office, and Teaching and Learning Services. A new Education Technology and Online Learning portfolio led by Dr. Tamara Carver was recently created within the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning, and Dr. Gerald Fried was also recently appointed Associate Dean, Education Technology and Innovation.
  • Expanding teacher training: The Faculty Development Office recently launched the “Your Teaching Journey” certification initiative for professors and clinical supervisors, and teacher training is more thoroughly integrated into faculty orientation requirements.
  • Optimizing clinical learning environment, addressing mistreatment: Significant work has taken place following a Faculty-wide retreat in 2018, with a Learning Environment Action Panel continuing its work and a Mistreatment Oversight for Respectful Environments taskforce launched in early 2020. A new framework for mistreatment oversight will be disseminated in the new year.
  • Increasing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in education: A curricular review is underway across the Faculty with an EDI lens. The Faculty’s Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism is taking shape, and the Indigenous Health Professions Program has begun a new workshop series for faculty development as part of its ongoing activities.
  • Student-centred support: Counselling support and guidance have expanded with an additional three wellness consultants along with the 2016 appointment of an Assistant Dean, Student Affairs, for all students in the health professions. More recently, an Assistant Dean, Student and Resident Affairs, and a Director of Student Life were appointed at Campus Outaouais.

Theme 2: Advancing Interprofessionalism and Interdisciplinarity

The second goal of the Education Strategic Plan is to foster and encourage “a culture that supports interdisciplinary and interprofessional partnerships underpinned by a collaborative educational environment.”

Key accomplishments to date for this goal:

  • Expansion of Interprofessional Education Program/Office: The Office for Interprofessional Education was created in 2016 and now has enhanced resources, new course content and more disciplines involved (>700 students from dentistry, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech language pathology, genetic counselling, nutrition and social work).
  • Progress on in-situ interprofessional education: An environmental scan of Canadian interprofessional education in-situ programs has been completed, and work is underway to develop and launch an interprofessional education experience within clinical settings.
  • Exploration of interdisciplinary content for the biomedical sciences: The recently launched Foundations of Translational Science course is open to graduate students and residents, and exploratory work has begun for a Translational Science Certificate Program.
  • Fostering development of interdisciplinary/interprofessional student activities: The Faculty has supported and encouraged the creation of the McGill Association of Students in Healthcare (MASH) and the creation of the Biomedical Interdisciplinary Students Association (BISA). These associations foster interprofessional and interdisciplinary activities among students across programs.

Theme 3: Educational Research, Scholarship and Innovation

The third goal of the Education Strategic Plan is to promote “educational research and scholarship and innovation in the health sciences in order to advance our understanding of teaching and learning and to inform policy and practice within and beyond the University.”

Key accomplishments to date for this goal:

  • Creation of the Institute of Health Sciences Education: This dynamic new unit supports educational research, scholarship and capacity-building. The Institute expands upon the successes of the former Centre for Medical Education, founded in 1975.
  • New Proud to Teach campaign: This campaign celebrates educational excellence and innovation, recognizing faculty and learners for their teaching and educational work.
  • Recognition through awards: An awards toolkit was developed to foster new teaching awards within departments/schools/units. Two new Faculty teaching innovation awards were also recently launched, including one for learners.
  • Capacity-building: Work continues to raise awareness of an innovative course –Research Project in Science Teaching and Learning – that introduces students to educational research, assessment and implementation by partnering them with real-world projects led by faculty members (in collaboration with the Office of Science Education).
  • Knowledge translation needs (from research to use): A research proposal is being developed to identify the pedagogic knowledge needs of teachers at the University and in clinical settings.

This is a snapshot of accomplishments since 2017. The pandemic has posed no shortage of hurdles for students, residents, faculty and staff to overcome, but the educational mission of the Faculty remains strong.
Join us for Part 2 of this series in the new year as we look forward to goals and projects that will advance education Faculty-wide.


December 11 2020