Faculty Development in Critical Reflection

Faculty Development in Critical Reflection

Academic Year:
2015 - 2016 (June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016)
Funding Requested:
Project Dates:
Overview of the Project:
Critical reflection, the process of analyzing, questioning, and reframing an experience in order to derive learning and improve future practice, has been identified as an effective way of developing the self-directed, lifelong learning skills essential for today’s health professional. It has also been shown to improve clinical reasoning, diagnostic accuracy, interactions with patients, and intangible attributes such as empathy, humanism, professionalism, and self-awareness. Faculty trained in critical reflection can help students foster reflective capacity, that is, the ability to generate learning (articulate questions, confront bias, examine causality, contrast theory with practice, point to systemic issues), deepen learning (challenge simplistic conclusions, invite alternative perspectives, ask “why” iteratively), and document learning (produce tangible expressions of new understandings for evaluation). Furthermore, well-trained faculty can skillfully support and challenge learners using quality feedback that helps learners recognize reflective moments, make sense of experiences, tolerate uncertainty, and gain insight. However, most faculty are underprepared to do all of these things, as they have not had development in the area of critical reflection. Additionally, new curricular elements within the Medical School and in other health professional schools across the University have introduced reflective practice into the general curriculum, making faculty development in critical reflection an urgent need. The purpose of our project is to increase faculty capacity in designing, giving feedback on, and evaluating student reflections in the health professions.
Final Report Fields
Project Objectives:

We proposed an interprofessional train-the-trainer faculty development program that supported faculty capacity for nurturing reflective practice and critical reflection. Specifically, we aimed to train faculty to: 1. Develop quality reflective questions that generate learning by engaging higher order reasoning; 2. Engage in didactic and interactive learning that explores the concept of fostering critical reflection in health care education and practice; 3. Articulate the personal and professional benefits of reflective practice; and 4. Apply formal analytic frameworks to enhance the educational value of feedback to students’ reflective submissions, that is, construct meaningful feedback that deepens learning.

Project Achievements:

a. We hosted a two-hour didactic and interactive faculty development session with reflection expert Dr. Hedy Wald. Forty-eight faculty and staff members, representing 7 schools (Pharmacy, Dentistry, Kinesiology, Nursing, Public Health, Social Work, and Medicine) and 7 medical school departments (Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Office of Medical Student Education, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry), attended the session. The majority of faculty participants rated the session well, indicating greater confidence in their ability to foster deeper reflection among their students. Specifically, • 85% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that as a result of the session, they felt confident in their ability to foster deeper reflection among their students • 83% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they intended to apply frameworks that will enhance the educational value of the feedback they offer students on their reflective writing • 75% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they will use the skills they learned in the session in their own clinical and professional practice • 68% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they can better facilitate the process of professional identity formation among their students b. We offered three course directors who use reflection in their medical courses an hour-long one-on-one consultation with Dr. Wald. This opportunity allowed faculty to practice revising reflection prompts and develop questions that engaged higher order reasoning. c. Since we used a train-the-trainer model, we adapted Dr. Wald’s session and hosted two additional training sessions to Doctoring faculty. Twenty-nine faculty members representing 8 medical school departments (Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery) attended the sessions, and practiced using a formal analytic framework on sample student reflections. d. We held one-on-one consultations with five faculty members, four from the Medical School and one from the Dental School to discuss how they use reflection within their courses, and how to apply rubrics to construct meaningful feedback and deepen student learning. e. We created a video introducing medical students to the concept of critical reflection and the basics of reflective writing. The video was promoted through two medical school courses: Interprofessional Clinical Experience and Doctoring, and has been viewed over 200 times. f. We reviewed faculty feedback and identified “reflection experts” in each medical school course that utilizes reflection to generate and document student learning. Number of undergraduate students impacted: 0 Number of graduate students impacted: 520 Number of courses impacted: 11

The project will continue in several ways. Through our one-on-one consultations, we identified faculty who demonstrate excellence in promoting students’ deep reflection, and we strongly encouraged them to mentor their colleagues or orient new faculty in using reflection frameworks to provide feedback within their respective teams. Medical students will be required to watch the introductory video as part of their first-year orientation, thereby ensuring that they understand what is expected of them and how they can produce critical reflections. We will also continue offering one-on-one consultations on providing meaningful feedback on written reflections to medical school faculty.
We plan to submit the project outcomes to local, regional, and national conferences such as Health Professions Education Day, Central Group on Educational Affairs, and the AAMC national conference, where other health professionals can engage in dialogue about nurturing reflective practice and critical reflection.