LCME Element 3.2 - Community of Scholars/Research Opportunities

Element 3.2: Community of Scholars/Research Opportunities

March 19, 2024

Element 3.2 – Community of Scholars/Research Opportunities

A medical education program is conducted in an environment that fosters the intellectual challenge and spirit of inquiry appropriate to a community of scholars and provides sufficient opportunities, encouragement, and support for medical student participation in the research and other scholarly activities of its faculty.

Hidden Curriculum

The expectation regarding this element is to identify the scope of faculty scholarship for your school in alignment with your mission. This entails having clear mechanisms of support, including resources, mentorship programs, and infrastructure. In acknowledging the historical structure of medical schools, the LCME emphasizes that not all institutions are integral parts of research establishments; some are community-based, while others are part of health systems. However, the essence of element 3.2 is to ensure that, regardless of how schools are organized, the components of their mission are connected to significant research opportunities and provide the infrastructure to support a community of scholarship. Additionally, even if your students engage in research above the national average – if they feel it is hard to find a mentor, or complain that there are financial impediments for them to get to conferences to present their work – this will be a citation!!!

Best Practice

Develop, evaluate, and promote programs for faculty scholarship. Consider establishing programs that provide resources, mentorship, and professional development opportunities to support faculty in their scholarly pursuits. Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of these programs and make adjustments based on feedback and outcomes.

Match faculty scholarship expectations with your school’s mission statement. Ensure that faculty members scholarly activities align with your institution’s mission and strategic goals. Facilitate ongoing communication to clarify and adjust expectations based on evolving mission priorities.

Match student research requirements with resources. Align student research expectations with the available human and infrastructural resources. Designate a key research faculty member/staff with oversight to support student research. Regularly assess and adjust student research requirements to ensure they are realistic and achievable within the available resources.

Design a website platform to increase student awareness of and access to research opportunities and maintain and update research opportunities and mentors routinely. Establish a comprehensive list of internal and external research opportunities for both faculty and students. Maintain and regularly update this list to reflect current opportunities and mentors. Solicit feedback from participants to assess the quality of experiences and mentorship provided.

Anticipate and Develop Plans for Supporting Student Scholarly Interests. Encourage students to explore diverse scholarly interests and provide guidance on aligning these interests with available resources. It is best to have a small fund from which to award travel grants for students. Develop contingency plans or partnerships to support students interested in areas beyond the school’s primary research scope.

Continuous Quality Improvement

Do not wait for the ISA to monitor students’ satisfaction with access to research opportunities and with support for participation in research.  Include these questions on your end-of-year evaluations. Regardless of your approach, the school must provide sufficient resources to ensure that all students and/or faculty have the opportunities identified in the element. Develop methods to track the effectiveness of programs supporting faculty scholarship. This can involve a combination of strategic planning, data collection, and continuous evaluation. Regular feedback and adjustment are key components of a successful scholarly support framework.

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