By Associate Professor Sandy Cook
Senior Associate Dean, Education, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School
Chief, Pedagogy, Academic Medicine Education Institute (AM•EI)

One of the key misconceptions our healthcare educators have, as they consider an appointment as a clinician educator, is that to be academic or scholarly in education means you must do high-quality research and publish in highimpact factor journals.   However, educational research is not the only way to get promoted as a Clinician Educator.

The issue is not unique to Singapore.   It has been the concern of clinician educators in academic settings for many years. In 1990, Ernest Boyer suggested a major redefinition of scholarly or academic work and made a broader definition of “scholarship” to beyond just research (Boyer 1990).

He defined four key domains of scholarship – Discovery, the creation of new knowledge and research; Integration, connecting ideas across disciplines and putting them into a larger context; Application, the translation of research into practice and Teaching, creating new knowledge about teaching and learning for learners.

Boyer’s redefined definition guided the Academic Medicine Education Institute (AM•EI) when we developed the education portfolio - which highlights these domains of scholarship to support academic promotion in SingHealth and Duke-NUS.

Building on Boyer’s work, Glassick et al. (1997, 2000) crafted the criteria by which scholarship in the domains other than research could be assessed as being scholarly. Glassick felt that all works of scholarship, even educational scholarship, would have these six characteristics:

1. Clear goals – defines purpose, objectives, and anticipated outcomes
2. Adequate preparation – understands the literature and research that have been done and possesses sufficient skills to complete the project
3. Appropriate methods – applies the appropriate methods to achieve the goals and outcomes
4. Significant results – gathers appropriate data to know if outcomes are achieved
5. Effective presentation – presents the work / results with sufficient clarity for others to build upon
6. Reflective critique – assesses the work and invites reviews and critiques from others to improve

Fincher et al. (2000) summarised the challenges facing clinician educators in the US and offered some questions clinician educators must ask themselves and their colleagues to challenge themselves to be scholarly, especially in the area of teaching.

In particular, organisations need to have the infrastructure to enable educators to be scholarly, the people with the skills to approach things in a scholarly manner, the political structure to enable educators to be key decision makers and activities that communicate the value of educational scholarship.

I believe that the cluster’s collaboration with AM•EI is well suited to shape the type of organisation that will promote and foster educational scholarship in all areas – and the educators’ portfolio is one of the key documents that will provide the evidence and support for faculty to demonstrate their scholarly approach for promotion.

Boyer EL (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities for the Professoriate. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching: Princeton, NJ.
Glassick CE, Huber MR, Maeroff GI (1997). Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA. Glassick CE (2000). Reconsidering scholarship. J. Public Health Management Practice: 6:4-9.
Fincher RE, Simpson DE, Mennin SP, Rosenfeld GC, Rothman A, McGrew MC, Hansen PA, Mazmanian PE, Turnbull JM (2000). Scholarship in Teaching: An Imperative for the 21st Century. Academic Medicine. 75:887-894.