To all members of the McGill Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences,

In 2022, the Faculty, under former VP-Dean Eidelman, launched the Our Words Matter initiative, which aims to actively cultivate an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcomed and respected.

Building on the success of a learning activity on microaggressions, created for the School of Medicine as part of this initiative and completed by some 1,500 members, we are pleased to now launch a new learning activity Faculty-wide: Giving Constructive Feedback. This activity focuses on a skillset that many members of our Faculty have told us they want to improve. The Giving Constructive Feedback activity is available to all members of our Faculty through myCourses at this link.

Trust and respect are key to effective feedback

Feedback is a conversation between a teacher and a learner, which aims to support growth. It is fundamental to education in all our learning environments – in the clinic, in the lab, in the classroom, online and in person. While we often think of feedback as directed from the teacher or supervisor to the learner, learners also provide feedback to their teachers, supervisors and mentors during educational activities, as well as in course evaluations. Furthermore, peers and colleagues may give feedback to each other in a variety of settings. We are all learning, adapting to new contexts and continuously striving to do better, no matter what our role is in the Faculty.

However, not all feedback is helpful: the words we use can either stimulate or stifle learning. As the new learning activity emphasizes, trust and respect must always be present for effective feedback to occur.

Knowing how to give and receive feedback effectively is a key component of the excellent, inclusive and healthy learning and working environments that we aim to provide throughout our Faculty.

The Giving Constructive Feedback activity includes short videos illustrating the impacts of unhelpful feedback and effective feedback. It will equip you with specific skills and knowledge to improve how you give feedback. It takes approximately 25 minutes to complete. Simply click here to access.

All members of our Faculty community, including faculty, learners and support staff, are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this activity. On completion, you will be prompted to download a certificate, which faculty and support staff will be asked to submit during annual performance reviews.

Complementary outreach activities on feedback are also available for units through the Faculty Development Office. Those who wish to view or revisit the microaggressions learning activity launched in 2022 can access it on myCourses at this link.

Fostering an inclusive community

Activities like these are crucial to fostering a truly inclusive community that helps us all reach our full potential as healthcare providers, researchers, learners, mentors and educators. We welcome your input on this activity and any other educational needs for the Our Words Matter learning series.

I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who contributed to the production of this learning activity, including the Faculty Development Office, the Office of Ed-TECH, the Office of Social Accountability and Community Engagement, and the Department of Family Medicine.

I would also like to thank all of you for the part you play in creating an environment that brings out the best in all members of our Faculty community, as we learn, teach and work together.

Lesley Fellows, MDCM, DPhil
Vice-President (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences