Career management is a continuous process of setting career-related goals and planning a route to achieve those goals. This process requires self-awareness of your existing skills and identification of what skills you need to advance. While you are ultimately responsible for your own career, there are faculty and other leaders willing to help guide and assist you, as well as resources available to support you. We encourage you to start planning early in your career. Data suggest that the more well thought out your goals and plans for achieving those goals, the more successful you will be. So, let’s get started!
Find a Mentor
Start by looking for opportunities to connect with people across your section, department, and the broader institution. You can ask someone you admire for advice on a research project, or guidance on how to publish a paper. Ask faculty who have been with the university for a while who they might recommend. These types of requests will often lead to a relationship. It is also good to reach out to your national physician organization to identify mentor services on a group or individual level. The OUHSC Oklahoma Center for Mentoring Excellence provides comprehensive faculty mentor and mentee development workshops throughout the academic year.
Articulate Your Why
Famous Ted-Talk speaker and author, Simon Sinek, says your why is the purpose, cause or belief that drives you to do what you do. It’s what gets you out of bed to come to work. Knowing your why will help keep moving you in the right direction. We generally talk about our “why” in terms of what we are passionate about, what drives us, what motivates us. A hands-on workshop on how to find your why will be offered at least once a year. However, if you are interested in learning more now, check out this website, which offers plenty of free tools to get you started.
Envision Your Future
Now that you know your Why, it’s time to think about where you want to be in your life 5 years and 10 years from now. Reflecting on the following questions will you bring clarity.
- Which pathway in academic medicine is most exciting for you? Where do you want to place your intellectual focus?
- How do you want to focus your career? Do you want to concentrate on research, clinical practice, medical administration, scholarship, teaching, or some combination of these?
- Do you want to be a well-known researcher, a department chairperson, a dean, a great teacher, a great humanitarian, a compassionate doctor, a devoted parent?
- Define the position you want to be in 10 years from now without considering how you will get there. Is what you envision consistent with your Why?
Develop Strategic Goals
Now that you have envisioned your future, you need to identify logical goals that will help bring your future vision to life over the next 3 to 5 years. For a career in academic medicine, it is helpful to consider strategic goals related to education, clinical care, research, and leadership/community involvement. Clarifying these goals will also help you evaluate and respond to each new request or opportunity, negotiate support, and identify metrics that matter to you. Having carefully thought out goals will help you to differentiate between the opportunities that reflect your Why, and complement the choices you have made, and those that are not contributory or are in conflict.
Create a Roadmap
Lofty goals can seem overwhelming and unattainable. Breaking them down into a series of clear action steps (with timelines) can help you achieve your goals faster. For example, if you want to become a residency program director, key steps might include completing a leadership training program and gaining administrative or educational experience.
A Faculty Academic Development Plan (FADP) will help you create a roadmap and help you track your achievements. Completion of this form is encouraged for all new faculty and for any faculty who have not yet submitted promotion packets at the Assistant Professor level. Whenever you reach a milestone, take time to reflect on and savor the achievement. Acknowledging your successes along the way helps you maintain momentum as you inch closer to your ultimate objective.
Depending on your time, commitment, and stage in your career as an academician, we are creating a variety of professional development programs to suit your needs. In the meantime, please take the opportunity to review the following available resources. Please check this page often as it will be updated regularly.
The Faculty Factory is a faculty development community that shares tools to build academic leaders. Faculty Factory snippets are now available and specifically designed for faculty members.
Key Literature in Medical Education (KeyLIME) is a weekly podcast produced by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Organizations for Medical Educators
AAMC Group on Educational Affairs (GEA)
The purpose of the AAMC GEA is to advance medical education and medical educators through faculty development, curriculum development, educational research, and assessment in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education.
The Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) is a worldwide organisation with members in 90 countries on five continents. AMEE promotes international excellence in education in the healthcare professions across the continuum of undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education.
The Academies Collaborative is a national forum for health professions teaching academies and similar organizations.
The Association for Hospital Medical Education, is a national, non-profit professional organization involved in the continuum of hospital-based medical education. AHME's members represent several hundred teaching hospitals, academic medical centers, and consortia which are involved in the delivery of undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education. They hold an annual educators meeting generally in May.
IAMSE is a nonprofit professional development society organized and directed by health professions educators whose goals include promoting excellence and innovation in teaching, student assessment, program evaluation, instructional technology, human simulation, and learner-centered education.
The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine
The vision of the Society is to advance Family Medicine to improve health through a community of Teachers and Scholars. Membership includes a monthly scholarly journal featuring clinical and educational research articles and other educational materials. The Society also publishes and distributes books, monographs, and videotapes of interest to family medicine educators.