The Impact of an Academy of Medical Educators on the Culture of an American Health Sciences Campus

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Abstract

Purpose

During the last two decades in the United States, academies of medical educators (AMEs) have proliferated as formal organizations within faculties of health professions education to recognize teaching excellence, support faculty development, and encourage scholarly activity. AMEs have been effective at rewarding faculty for educational excellence and providing faculty development. However, the impact of an AME on campus culture remains unclear.

Method

A qualitative case study asked, How has an AME shaped organizational culture? The authors investigated the University of Colorado health sciences campus AME given its clear mandate to impact organizational culture. The authors interviewed a purposeful sample of 26 AME members and non-AME campus faculty and educational leaders during the 2014–2015 academic year. Two reviewers employed content analysis to code the transcripts.

Results

The AME has positively impacted organizational culture by being a symbol of institutional commitment to the educational mission, and by asserting education as an evidence-based practice. At the faculty member level, the AME’s impact includes creating a home and community for educators to network. Individual faculty influence departments and programs across campus through teaching and interpersonal connections. However, the AME has not impacted all of campus, due to only reaching self-identified educators, and the siloed nature of departments on campus.

Conclusions

Although limited to a single campus and an early established AME, this study contributes significant insight by describing how an AME as a structural unit impacts individual faculty members, who in turn impact organizational campus culture regarding the educational mission.

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