Design Principles for Building a Leadership Development Program in a Department of Surgery

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Six years ago, we began implementing a Leadership Development Program in the Department of Surgery at the University of Michigan. This year, we will sponsor the third iteration of the program. The program is conducted every 2 to 3 years and includes approximately 20 faculty participants. For our department, with approximately 150 faculty, running a program every 3 years allows us to incorporate new recruits, faculty who are emerging as leaders, and established leaders who want to grow their skills. Our program lasts 8 months, with a full day once per month supplemented with other longitudinal learning activities, including team projects, case studies, assigned reading, and personal improvement projects.1,2
We have found the program valuable to build leadership skills among enrolled faculty and also as a means to influence culture. In prior publications we described our curriculum design and our formal evaluation of participants’ perspectives on what they learned (or did not learn) from the program.1,2 However, we are often asked about the details of implementing this program, which are not included in this prior published work. This perspective provides several practical design principles (Fig. 1), which we hope will be useful to others aiming to foster faculty leadership development through similar programs.
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