Based upon the recommendations of an advisory committee chaired by Dr. Joseph Alpert in late 2007, the Dean, Dr. Keith Joiner, approved the formation of an Academy of Excellence in Education at The University of Arizona College of Medicine (UACOM). That organization, now called the Academy of Medical Education Scholars (AMES), was created in early 2008 based on a concept originating at UCSF and Harvard and becoming widespread among American medical schools. The idea was to recognize and support the most accomplished teachers and educators at UACOM and, in return, draw on those faculty members for advice and service to the College’s education programs. It was recommended initially that the Academy would:
- Recognize excellent teachers and educators at the College of Medicine.
- Work to provide financial support for the recruitment, recognition and retention of outstanding teachers.
- Create a body of educationally oriented faculty who would assist the College with activities such as:a) Faculty development for teaching, b) Mentoring junior faculty with an interest in education, and c) Peer review of faculty teaching.
- Foster research in medical education.
- Heighten recognition of the educational mission of the College.
Initial members of AMES were identified by nominations from all departments at UACOM, based on demonstration of educational expertise, educational scholarship, and outstanding record of professionalism. Today, those leading medical educators at UACOM continue in their efforts to recruit, mentor and retain outstanding educators and promote excellence in teaching and educational scholarship at all College of Medicine teaching sites. The Academy also is responsible for selecting the Vernon and Virginia Furrow Awards and awarding annual research grants for educational scholarship. An exciting new effort by the Academy is the creation of an Educators’ Fellowship program, promoting academic faculty development at both campuses of the UA College of Medicine.