A collaboration between Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and Central Michigan University College of Medicine is about to kick off its fifth year.

OUWB, CMU collaboration on peer coaching program heads into 5th year
OUWB's Peer Coaching Program
The Peer Coaching Program, designed for faculty, aims to connect professional colleagues throughout Michigan with each other, as seen in this picture taken of the program prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A collaboration between Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and Central Michigan University College of Medicine is about to kick off its fifth year.

The Peer Coaching Program, designed for faculty, aims to connect professional colleagues throughout Michigan with each other to “reflect on current practices; expand, refine, and build new skills; share ideas; teach one another; conduct classroom research; or solve problems in the workplace.”

Last year, more than 40 people participated, said Katie Weyand, faculty development support specialist, OUWB Center for Excellence in Medical Education (CEME).

Participants such as Tracey Taylor, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology in the Department of Foundational Medical Studies, OUWB, say they find involvement in the program extremely valuable.

“I was interested in meeting faculty at other medical schools in Michigan, especially those that have expertise in similar disciplines,” said Taylor. “As a faculty member who is mid-career, I knew that I would benefit from exchanging ideas with both junior colleagues as well as colleagues that are more experienced.”

Taylor, Tracey, 2019

Taylor

“I knew that a program like this was ideal for me to make these valuable connections with local colleagues that I might not normally interact with,” she added.

Weyand said those who are interested take a survey that is then used to match participants with each other. The survey for the upcoming program year is currently open through the end of August, but the program welcomes new participants to join throughout the year.

Most groups consist of two people, but Weyand said there have been occasions when groups are larger if there are many participants with very similar interests.

Participants also can request and are encouraged to choose with whom they’d like to work, though such matches aren’t guaranteed.

“Meet Your Match: A Peer Coaching Virtual Event” is scheduled for Nov. 4. Program participants will take part in an orientation, engage in a 30-minute professional development session, and have a chance meet their matches in virtual breakout sessions.

Once matches are established, Weyand said “it’s up to participants to determine how often they meet, how they meet, and what their interests together will be.”

“Our CEME team is here to guide and support the groups throughout the year,” she said. “They also receive a monthly peer coaching newsletter with coaching tips, and advertisements for professional development opportunities that are available throughout the state’s medical schools.”

With regard to what groups tend to concentrate on, Weyand said “A lot of time people want to collaborate on research or scholarly works.”

“Many people just want somebody to talk to on a professional level about specific topics, such as teaching strategies like providing feedback to students.”

Weyand added that “A great side bonus is that you are building relationships with people outside of your institution who will make great references when it comes time to apply for promotion in your institution.”

Taylor said she has talked about teaching and research with colleagues she’s met through the program.

“We also speak often of how our different medical schools are organized and how we strategically tackle issues from different perspectives, based on the ideals and cultures of each school,” she said.  

The Peer Coaching program’s year culminates with an in-person conference that features participants from all seven medical schools in Michigan. (The conference for last year’s program originally scheduled for March 27 was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Taylor said she recommends the program to anyone who might be considering it.

“I have participated each year and the organizers have worked very hard to make the program what it is today,” she said.  

“From this program, I have gained important regional colleagues that I continue to talk to on an as-needed basis, and we are hoping to develop a collaborative research project in the near future,” said Taylor. “It is important to both provide and seek advice from colleagues with similar expertise but vastly different experiences in order to gain a broader perspective.” 

Anyone interested in participating in the program can start by filling out the participant survey here.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

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