Give Educators (a little) Money, And They Will Innovate

grants The authors describe the UCSF (University of California San Francisco) experience with giving intramural grants of about $20,000 each, the bulk of which was used to provide faculty with up to 10% protected time for educational innovation and research.  In addition, applicants were encouraged to seek feedback and guidance at a weekly intramural Educational Scholarship Conference attended by experts in curriculum development, learner assessment, and program evaluation.  Sixty-eight principal investigator (PI) faculty who received the grants (an 88% response) reported back to the funding organization.  From the school’s perspective, 79% of the projects led to permanent changes in curricula, teaching methods, or materials.  Forty-one percent led to peer-reviewed publications and 86% to presentations.  Individual PIs described the importance of grant-supported protected time to their status within their departments, their professional identity as educators, their attainment of promotion, and their ability to promote the careers of other faculty members.  Fifty-seven percent “stated that receiving this grant led to additional grants.”  It seems that investing a fairly small amount in intramural education grants can have a large institutional and faculty payoff. — Laura Willett, MD.

Adler SR, Chang A, Loeser H, Cooke M, Wang J, Teherani A. The Impact of Intramural Grants on Educators’ Careers and on Medical Education Innovation. Acad Med. 2015

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