Who am I? Key influences on the formation of academic identity within a faculty development program

Lieff, Susan, Baker, Lindsay, Mori, Brenda, Egan-Lee, Eileen, Chin, Kevin and Reeves, Scott (2012) Who am I? Key influences on the formation of academic identity within a faculty development program. Medical Teacher, 34(3), e208-e215. ISSN (print) 0142-159X


INTRODUCTION: Professional identity encompasses how individuals understand themselves, interpret experiences, present themselves, wish to be perceived, and are recognized by the broader professional community. For health professional and health science educators, their 'academic' professional identity is situated within their academic community and plays an integral role in their well being and productivity. This study aims to explore factors that contribute to the formation and growth of academic identity (AI) within the context of a longitudinal faculty development program. METHODS: Using a qualitative case study approach, data from three cohorts of a 2-year faculty development program were explored and analyzed for emerging issues and themes related to AI. RESULTS: Factors salient to the formation of AI were grouped into three major domains: personal (cognitive and emotional factors unique to each individual); relational (connections and interactions with others); and contextual (the program itself and external work environments). DISCUSSION: Faculty development initiatives not only aim to develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes, but also contribute to the formation of academic identities in a number of different ways. Facilitating the growth of AI has the potential to increase faculty motivation, satisfaction, and productivity. Faculty developers need to be mindful of factors within the personal, relational, and contextual domains when considering issues of program design and implementation.

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