The Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine built on his years of experience as an educator through the Faculty Development Office’s free, flexible and accredited blended learning series.  


As a former program director of McGill’s Adult Cardiology Training Program and a Faculty Honour List for Educational Excellence honouree in 2018-19, Mark Smilovitch, MDCM, has long been a respected clinical teacher in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. 


However, the Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine sees becoming a great educator as a continuous journey, not a destination. That’s why he is one of the many experienced faculty members to avail of Your Teaching Journey at McGill 


Offered by the Faculty Development Office, this free and flexible blended learning series allows faculty members to enhance their teaching skills, connect with other educators across disciplines and gain professional development credits.  


“The series is not exclusively for new teachers, although it is a wonderful resource for those who are starting out,” Dr. Smilovitch explains. “It offers insights and benefits to teachers at all levels of their careers, wherever they are on that teaching journey.” 


“It has provided me with skills to better reflect on what I have been teaching, how I might modify things or develop new teaching techniques, and then be better prepared to evaluate my teaching,” he adds. “It has raised my awareness of what I have been doing in the classroom and what I might do in the future, and that’s been really helpful.” 


Mark Daly, RRT, B. Comm, MA (Ed.), Assistant Dean of Faculty Development, Montreal Campus, said: “Dr. Smilovitch is an excellent example of how the program can expand not only your knowledge, but your network and opportunities for collaboration.” 


“The content is curated in such a way to speak to a variety of teachers, healthcare professionals, researchers and scientists. And we are purposeful in creating interprofessional groups when we gather for the in-person session to help foster creative and innovative discussion that enriches our Faculty and, ultimately, our learners.” 

Acknowledgement and recognition 


For Dr. Smilovitch, a clear benefit of Your Teaching Journey at McGill is the recognition it provides for teachers at all levels.  


Participants who complete a minimum of five of the series’ seven modules – including those on feedback and the learning environment – within 24 months earn a Level 1–Faculty Development Certificate. Each module is worth three Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits if both the online and in-person components are completed.  


Participants can then earn a Level 2-Faculty Development Certificate after completing another five Faculty Development activities over 5 years or less, and by participating in a Peer Coaching activity.  


“A teaching dossier is increasingly recognized as an important part of anyone’s personal and professional development, and it’s something that’s examined very closely for annual performance reviews,” Dr. Smilovitch says. “So, I think the fact that this program offers a certificate of recognition is important. This program acknowledges and validates teachers and teaching,” he says.  


In addition to the flexibility the series provides through its online component, Dr. Smilovitch says he appreciated the chance to interact with other faculty members through group discussions.  


“The most enjoyable aspect was the in-person workshops, where we could share ideas,” he recalls. “We had opportunities to share short presentations in small groups, and then discuss and review together.” 

Building a community 


Beyond the content of the modules, Dr. Smilovitch also saw the series’ interprofessional focus as an “extremely positive element of this experience”. 


“In the modules, you’re working with physicians, nurses, researchers, physical therapists, occupational therapists and many other professionals,” he says. “I think it’s easy to get into a routine of seeing and doing things the same way. Learning from different perspectives and from others’ points of view was a very valuable experience.” 


For Dr. Smilovitch, the learning didn’t stop with the completion of the modules. It also connected him with other educators across disciplines in the faculty, who continue to share information, ideas and tips with each other.  


“Because of the way it works – in groups with other professionals – it’s an opportunity to work with like-minded faculty,” he says. “It has expanded my network of teaching colleagues. If there’s something I have a question about or want to discuss, I now have a group that I can go to for advice.” 

Responding to the evolution of teaching 


Dr. Smilovitch is now the holder of a Level 2–Faculty Development Certificate, but he plans to pursue more faculty development activities in the future.  


“Teaching is an evolving process. The way we work in a classroom changes, the number of students might change, and there are many challenges that teachers can come across,” he says. “I think we’re very lucky to have an opportunity to continue learning.” 


“There is a strong community at McGill that is dedicated to teaching and learning, which I feel fortunate to be included in, and I look forward to contributing to this community for as long as I can.” 


Visit the Faculty Development Office website for information on registering for Your Teaching Journey at McGill.