Despite its fundamental importance, the educational mission of most schools of veterinary medicine receives far less recognition and support than the missions of research and discovery. This disparity is evident in promotion and tenure processes. Despite the frequent assertion that education is every college's core mission, there is a broad consensus that faculty are promoted primarily on the basis of meeting expectations relative to publications and grant funding. This expectation is evident in the promotion packets faculty are expected to produce and the criteria by which those packets are reviewed. Among the outcomes is increasing difficulty in hiring and retaining faculty, including young clinicians and basic scientists who are drawn to academic institutions because of the opportunity to teach. The Regional Teaching Academy (RTA) of the West Region Consortium of Colleges of Veterinary Medicine initiated an inter-institutional collaboration to address the most important obstacles to recognizing and rewarding teaching in its five member colleges. Working from the medical education literature, the RTA developed an Educator's Promotion Dossier, workshops to train promotion applicants, and an external review process. Initial use has shown that the reviews are efficient and complete. Administrators have expressed strong support for the product, a letter of external review that is returned to a promotion applicant's home institution. The overall result is an evidence-based, structured process by which teaching-intensive faculty can more fully document their achievements in teaching and educational leadership and a more rigorous external review process by which member colleges can assess quality, impact, and scholarly approach.
- Inter-institutional collaboration
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