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Thursday, April 11, 2013 - Take 5 with Linda Gillum
By Katie Land, news editor

Composed of a diverse array of faculty, staff and administrators, the Oakland University community is unique, creative, and dedicated. As part of a continuing effort to explore the various roles and lives of our Golden Grizzlies, the News at OU website presents a special interview series. We invite you to share these stories and “Take 5” with OU.

"Take 5 with Linda Gillum"


Linda Gillum, Ph.D., is the associate dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. A Detroit native, Linda came on board following a 30-year career in academic administration, most recently at the University of Michigan. She was a recipient of the prestigious American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship (Class of 1998-99) to Princeton University and the University of Michigan. In 2008, Linda became the first staff member for the OUWB, and has played a key role in recruiting and structuring the school. With a passion for education and nonprofit organizations, Linda participates in a wide variety of community and service-based organizations, ranging from sitting on the Board of Trustees for Cranbrook Schools and the Michigan Women’s Foundation to long-term work with the Horizons – Upward Bound Program and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Michigan. Linda currently lives in Bloomfield Hills with her husband. She has two adult children.

1) What does a typical workday or workweek consist of for you?

There is no typical week! My focus for each week is always different because I have several roles. I recruit the best faculty for the school, and establish faculty vitality and development, from conferences and tenure to opportunities for advancement in research or clinical work. We have 1,500 faculty members at Beaumont and 30 at OU, so I spend my weeks going back between the two facilities. I work to organize events, lectures and new programs. I’m the school’s liaison to our accrediting organization, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the Association of American Medical Colleges, and Group on Women in Medicine and Science, to name a few. We have recently established a new Center for Excellence in Medical Education, and I work closely with our diversity and inclusion programs, and the COMPASS center for community engagement, which was established to guide our medical school community in keeping true to our vision: "to lead in promoting, maintaining, and restoring health to individuals and communities served by the school and its graduates." 

2) You have worked with several well-established programs. What is it like to be a part of a brand new medical school?

Joining the OUWB was an opportunity to bring the experience I have gained over my career and build something from the ground up. There is nothing like this – we are in the midst of an innovative network of building a community of programs, relationships and structures day by day that makes the school sustainable for the future. As for a brand new school, I think the most significant thing we must do is to build the culture that promotes excellence, respect and quality health care to the community. We are working to focus on prevention as much as we are on focused on the disease. Our faculty work in this culture as creative scholars in education and clinical care and are committed to applied and translational research - emphazing direct application to patient care and educational research. I remind myself every day that the people will change and the buildings may change, but long after the founding class is gone, the culture will remain.

3) What is something many OU people don’t know about you?

I love music and I play the piano. I’ve been playing the piano since I was seven, and play everything, from classical to show tunes and pop music.

4) Do you have a favorite book?

I love Mary Catherine Bateson’s book “Composing a Life.” I usually recommend this book to the women and girls that I work with, whether they are faculty members or high school students. In the past, I ordered the book by the boxes so I would have copies on hand to share. It is an extraordinary book, and one that I still read every other year or so. I think it is very special for women, because we need to think about how we design our lives and evaluate these designs regularly. Our roles and lives change as we become professionals, mothers, or caregivers. The book reminds me of the way my grandmother used to speak about making quilts. We keep pieces of whatever we’ve done, memories and pieces of fabric, and when we build our lives by pieces, we can see connections and it becomes very beautiful. Our lives are composed of these pieces and moments that become something bigger as they are put together.

5) What is something you are looking forward to?

The graduation of our first medical school class! It will be a little like sending your child off to the first day of kindergarten. We are sending our students off into the real world of being a physician. I’m sure we will all shed a few tears and celebrate with family and friends. Graduation day recognizes the culmination of experiences and the incredible work our students have put in. Every class has a story, and I am so happy to watch this class grow, and to enjoy their accomplishments.



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