For teaching during the pandemic or finding support for other challenges, interprofessional leaders at University of Michigan have new resources and venues for community.
When the number of University of Michigan faculty members engaged with the Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education (IPE) surpassed 325 in 2020, opportunities for faculty to network became increasingly important. The pandemic disrupted the frequent face-to-face and casual communications, so ideas for purposeful ways to connect the IPE-focused educators and researchers emerged. The Center for IPE Faculty Development Committee was instrumental in launching these two newest initiatives to serve faculty from across U-M’s three campuses and multiple disciplines.
Canvas Site for IPE Faculty
IPE Faculty Development Committee Co-Chair Caren Stalburg, MD, MA from the Medical School explains the IPE Faculty Community Canvas site from her perspective: “We have been looking for a way to connect faculty across our multiple schools and campuses and view the Canvas site as a virtual “teachers’ lounge,” if you will; a place to connect, share best practices, ask for help with ideas, find and share resources. We look forward to developing and expanding the space as interest grows and new opportunities and ideas arise.”
IPE Community of Practice (CoP)
In mid-2020, IPE Faculty Development Committee Co-Chair Diane Hoelscher, DDS, MS from the School of Dentistry turned a vision into reality at an opportune time. She sought to offer occasional live sessions for IPE faculty–from the most junior to the most senior–to share challenges, ideas, and support for each other (informal, no prework, with light facilitation). The two first sessions were well attended and appreciated; recaps from the discussions are posted on the IPE Canvas site. She explains more about the formation and goals of the IPE CoP: “It seems like it’s been a very long nine months. As we have all nimbly (mostly) adapted to our ‘new normal,’ faculty are also in need of support from one another like never before. Where we used to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee with a colleague and spitball ideas for IPE and other teaching and learning innovations, we now need to schedule a meeting or compose an email. It can feel isolating working for hours on end in our home office (or dining room or bedroom).
“The IPE Community of Practice (CoP) was developed to provide opportunities for faculty to connect in an informal way around their shared interest in IPE. During CoP sessions, we connect on several levels – personal, professional, philosophical. We’ve had conversations about very human concerns, like the impact of the lack of personal contact with students and faculty peers. We’ve also talked about the silver linings of the pandemic, such as the quicker and broader adoption of telehealth and how that improves access to care. We’ve provided support for one another by sharing resources, ideas and innovations to help us in our teaching. Through it all, we’re developing a sense of community. And all this has happened in just two meetings of the CoP! We invite fellow U-M faculty to join us for an upcoming Community of Practice. We intend to continue as long as faculty find value and enjoy the dialogue.”