On 21 December 2017, the Faculty released the draft of its Strategic Plan ‘What Future for the Faculty of Medicine Volume 1: The Decadal Ambition as Strategic Plan’.  Over February – March 2018, five strategy refinement workshops were held with over 150 colleagues from across the Faculty. The workshops provided an opportunity for colleagues to engage with the draft Plan and provide feedback.

Responses to overarching themes include:

Communication: recognition of the need to improve internal communications as a key enabler to enhance engagement and collaboration across the Faculty

Health and well-being: seeking to focus on staff as well as student well-being

Key themes for Education and Research are outlined below; this feedback will inform a further revision and release of an updated Plan in June this year.

Theme

Detail

EDUCATION

The pursuit of educational excellence

The nature and role of teaching has evolved. The Faculty recognises those changes and implications for the career development of its staff and for the adjustment of teaching practices. The Faculty should articulate what it understands by excellence in education and the indicators by which it will assess its success in pursuing that excellence.

The pursuit of educational excellence

Clarity of expectations

Students as ‘customers’ have certain expectations about their education, the types and standards of teaching, the guidance and resources they will be able to call upon, and about the general quality of their experience. The Faculty has certain expectations of students: about their application, their attendance and about attitudes and behaviours as they relate to their progress and performance.

Clarity of expectations is fundamental to the success of the education process; expectations should be articulated and communicated.

Community and well-being

The Faculty is a community. At its heart, that community comprises: students and staff. We must recognise and act upon the needs of both groups.

For staff: well-being has a strong affinity with the sense of one’s work and person being appropriately recognised and valued; with inclusion; with a sense of pride in one’s contribution; and with the day-to-day demonstration of the values and behaviours the Faculty espouses.

RESEARCH

Measuring research performance

The Faculty’s performance in the pursuit of research excellence can  make use of two sets of indicators:

  • External metrics, typically used to assess the quality of research outputs against those of peers
  • Faculty-specific internal metrics: to assess the degree to which research efforts are delivering against the ‘in-house’ strategic goals and values

Performance metrics

The introduction of internal performance metrics must be sensitive enough to recognise and value the different types of contributions made by the various roles that participate in the research endeavour.

Research strengths

The Faculty has struggled to articulate clearly what its strengths are and to claim the areas in which it will apply those strengths to commanding effect. Areas of strength are used to attract funding.

Focusing the funding application effort

Preparing and submitting funding applications, be they for grants or private-sector funding, is an integral and critical part of the research endeavour.

The funding landscape is evolving through changes to the grant applications system. With a change to the ‘funding game’, expectations surrounding the quality of applications for funding has changed, it is therefore sensible that the effort and process by which applications are prepared should also be scrutinised and improved to increase the probability that they will succeed.

Scouting and recruitment of ‘Bright Minds’

Scouting for bright research minds and attracting PhDs raises the underlying issue of the career pathways open to researchers post PhD.

Continuity of earnings and employment are material factors for those considering research as a viable career.

While a determined campaign to recruit these ‘bright minds’ is valid, the degree to which the recruitment effort is successful will likely depend on: the prospect of continuing support that the Faculty can offer to those it seeks to attract; and/or the clear benefit that would attach to joining a group of eminent minds at work in a supportive institution.

Recruiting and retaining Fellows

The issues faced with respect to the recruitment and retention of Fellows have a measure of similarity with those faced in respect to the attraction of PhDs, be they domestic or international. These include career prospects, stability of tenure and continuity of remuneration.