Report of the Martin D. Abeloff Committee on Educational Values and Rewards

Executive Summary

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's tripartite mission of education, discovery and clinical care make it one of the world's premier medical institutions. We educate scientists, health care professionals and the public. We train the world's leaders in medicine and medical science. However, our educational mission may be in jeopardy due to financial challenges in clinical care and research, growing externally imposed regulations and a perception that teaching and educational endeavors are undervalued in an environment of multiple competing faculty priorities. However, we also have enormous strengths with the world's best faculty, dedicated to teaching and the educational mission. We are embarking on a new "Genes to Society" curriculum and the Armstrong Education Building is about to open, thus presenting a unique opportunity to redefine and advance our educational mission.

The Abeloff Committee presents in this report a complete, inclusive, innovative and sophisticated plan to move our educational mission forward, supporting the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's role as the leader in education for the 21st Century. We recommend the establishment of an Institute for Excellence in Education (IEE) as the structure to achieve this lofty but attainable goal. The IEE will have a number of key functions and oversee a series of specific priorities. Six month, one and three year goals for each recommendation are detailed in this report. All proposed programs will be rolled out gradually with ongoing faculty and leadership input. This will permit time to carefully pilot and evaluate progress, to continue to evolve and improve or educational mission. We include all faculty involved in teaching and education, including full and part-time faculty. The principal recommendations are:

  1. To implement a system for tracking all teaching activities across the SOM by awarding Teaching Credits (TC) for scheduled and evaluable teaching activities. The TC is a modified version of an educational RVU (relative value unit). More importantly, it introduces a quality adjuster. For such a system to work, it must be widely accepted among the faculty, with a positive impact on remuneration and/or promotion, and not be viewed as punitive.
  2. To refine and unify systems for evaluating teaching and educational activities. Our goal is provide objective feedback to teachers in order to continually improve the quality of our educational activities. We expect these evaluations to be transparent and adaptable, using validated measures and including input from peer observation. For feedback to work, it must not be perceived negatively, but be relevant, with the goal of improving teaching, capable of being assessed, and be a factor used in granting rewards. The Abeloff Committee supports creating standards for evaluating education. For those seeking academic advancement as an educator, we strongly support creating standards for an educator's portfolio to be used as the method for documenting achievement, and migrating to electronic/web based portfolios.
  3. To provide an infrastructure for faculty members to improve their educational skills. In conjunction with ongoing feedback, faculty members need the opportunity to improve their educational skills by engaging in career development activities. Much opportunity already exists, but we need better systems to centralize, catalog and then disseminate this information. We need ways to make it feasible for faculty to attend. The IEE can establish guidelines to provide consistency and structure for the review of educational competences. We recommend that educational competence, with suggestions for career development where indicated, should be part of faculty members' annual review with their department/division director (or designee). We support moving forward with a Masters in Health Professionals Education.
  4. To expand, encourage and support educational research and scholarship, by establishing a system of grants, scholarships, core support and mentorship. We envision that educational research and scholarship will expand and deepen to match the outstanding basic and clinical research for which JHUSOM is renowned. We also hope to increase the number of retreats and conferences related to educational scholarship.
  5. To ensure that teaching and educational activities are valued and rewarded. Excellence in teaching should translate both to financial remuneration and opportunities for promotion.
  6. To develop a community of educators at the JHUSOM. We anticipate that this will occur as a natural evolution as the IEE develops, and the above recommendations progress, we expect there will be a natural evolution and development of a community of outstanding educators at the JHUSOM.
  7. To expand development activities to focus on fundraising for education. We recognize that this proposal represents a significant expenditure of new funds, and that the IEE as we envision it cannot exist without a significant fundraising effort. At the same time, we see the IEE as an excellent opportunity to expand such activities, reaching individuals, foundations and corporations who have not previously considered philanthropic gifts. Working with the Fund for Johns Hopkins Medicine, we hope to identify and work with these individuals, foundations and organizations to expand the activities of the IEE. We will seek financial support to create an endowed directorship for the IEE, as well as endowed educational grants and scholarships, and for program support.

The members of the Abeloff Committee feel privileged to have served on a committee with so important a charge and are humbled to have our report named after one of the great leaders in American medicine. We understand our proposal is bold, but truly believe such a plan is needed and can be successful in maintaining the JHUSOM's leadership position in medical education. We wholeheartedly believe in the strengths and future of education at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and believe that the Institute for Excellence in Education can be a key to success in the future.

Committee Members

Chair: Joseph Cofrancesco Jr. (Medicine)

Co Chair: Janice Clements (Vice Dean for Faculty, and Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology)

Members: Mario Amzel (Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry), Michael Barone (Pediatrics), Michael Borowitz (Pathology), Nasir Bhatti (Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery), Craig Bowen (SOM Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine), Danelle Cayea (Medicine), Arjun Chanmugam (Emergency Medicine), Betty Chou (Gynecology and Obstetrics), Sam Denmeade (Oncology), Adrian Dobs (Endocrinology), John Gearhart (Urology), Harry Goldberg (SOM Office of Academic Computing), Elizabeth Goodspeed (Administrator to the Vice Dean for Education), Rich Grossi (CFO Johns Hopkins Medicine), William Guggino (Physiology), Lisa Heiser (SOM Assistant Dean Faculty Development), Argye Hillis (Neurology), Pamela Lipsett (Surgery), David Nichols (Pediatric Anesthesiology, Vice Dean for Education), Quan Dong Nguyen (Ophthalmology), John Rybock (Neurological Surgery), Janet Serwint (Pediatrics), Laura Sterni (Pediatrics), Karen Swartz (Psychiatry), Sara Sukumar (Oncology), Patricia Thomas (Medicine), Christine White (Executive Assistant to the Dean/CEO and Assistant Dean for Medicine), Kenneth Wilczek (Associate Dean of Clinical Practice)