Town Hall Takeaways
This month, the Faculty of Medicine (FoM) enjoyed a series of town halls hosted by interim dean Bernard Jasmin and the Executive Leadership Team (ELT).
Well attended by a cross-section of staff, faculty and learners, the event allowed the sharing of updates on several key matters facing the Faculty of late. An open mic and interactive polling app provided plenty of opportunity for audience participation.
Here are some highlights for those who were unable to attend:
A Status Report was circulated this winter to seek input on the Faculty’s strategic priorities. Valuable feedback was received in all three categories of faculty engagement (adding focus on bilingual teachers), innovation in education and research (considering partnerships at local, provincial and national level as well as international), and branding our academic funding (career workshops for learners), as some examples, as well as suggestions for the new theme areas of space and social accountability. The dean presented slides showing the additions that have been made based on internal stakeholder feedback, and participants shared further comments with the group.
As for next steps, a strategic development action group has been struck and had its first meeting on May 24. They will craft an action plan on strategic priorities, and a draft version, once ready, will be broadly circulated for further feedback before final Faculty approval. The group then aims to present the plan to the University in the fall of 2018, with the hope being that we could help inform the University’s own strategic directions.
Dr. Jasmin reminded attendees that two surveys (one faculty, one staff) had been conducted in 2017. He provided updates on how the Faculty is addressing areas for improvement identified for each of these two unique groups.
Faculty survey at the FoM: Significant progress on communications from leadership, career management and recognition, and burnout/wellness has been achieved. The Faculty Experience Team (FET), the group of volunteer faculty members chaired by Dr. Laurie McLean and charged with addressing FoM engagement, will propose recommendations for further work to the ELT. The team will also recruit engagement champions from each department to provide for consistent and representative two-way dialogue and priority identification.
University-wide staff survey: Diversity and inclusion, internal communication and work environment were identified as main areas for improvement. Human Resources at the FoM is leading the charge in actionable areas. They have consulted with FoM managers for their recommendations, which included such proposals as regular Town Halls, diversity and inclusion training, and French courses during lunch. Next steps include creating a distilled FoM Action Plan which will be sent to uOttawa and included in the University-wide plan.
“Improving engagement is a priority in the Faculty as well as the University, so we are spending time and devoting considerable efforts to address the issues,” said Dr. Jasmin. “From what I have seen, Medicine is leading the way on this at the University.”
Until recently, the Faculty had healthy reserves which insulated it to some degree from the first wave of uOttawa’s budget cuts. Unfortunately, a second wave of University cuts has been handed down to the Faculty, leaving us with a 2018-2019 deficit of close to $2 million. The cumulative reductions represents close to 20% of the Faculty’s operating budget. In addition, the University has left us with no reserves in their budget reset process.
Dr. Paul Bragg, vice-dean, executive, is hopeful that the Faculty of Medicine can access some strategic funding going forward. “We are having conversations with uOttawa on how we can access funds in envelopes 2 and 3. This is why it is so important that we identify our strategic directions – so that we are ready to access those envelopes,” said Dr. Bragg.
The FoM is also exploring revenue opportunities such as partnerships (e.g., the Department of National Defence), and a renewed focus on fundraising.
A Selection Advisory Committee has been struck by uOttawa. In lieu of holding public meetings after shortlisting candidates, the University will bypass the recommendation process and proceed directly to closed-door interviews starting in June. It is possible that Dr. Jasmin, whose term ends June 30, 2018, may be renewed at least in the short term.
Dr. Melissa Forgie discussed the preliminary accreditation report received on April 18. A second provisional report is due at the end of May, at which time the program has 10 days to respond to any errors in content or concerns about tone. The final report and decision will likely be handed down in October.
While the tone of the exit meeting was disappointing, several positives were noted, such as the commitment of students to becoming physicians, recruitment and support of Indigenous medical students, the interim dean’s beneficial influence on our culture, and the commitment of students, faculty and leadership to promoting a positive learning environment.
The MD program continues to be hard at work ensuring that our strengths are recognized and that improvements to our program are ongoing.
The Faculty’s Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) 2018 results were very positive, with a match rate of 97% in the second round. This continues our pattern of having among the best results in Canada.
Members of the audience felt comfortable asking questions spanning a myriad of topics, from partnerships with industry to translation services to processes for staff contract extensions.
The series of three town halls, timed to accommodate the varied schedules of the FoM community, was the second series of such events established by the leadership team.
The dean plans to share the PowerPoint of his town hall presentation in the coming days.
Feedback from our members and other stakeholders continues to be welcomed at infomed@uOttawa.ca, by calling x8117, or by dropping by the Dean’s Office in RGN 2026.