Learners for Life

Never stop learning. It’s a phrase often echoed by parents and professors. The faculty members who make up the 11th cohort of the Master Teacher Leadership Development Program (MTLDP) certainly heeded the call to be learners for life. During a graduation celebration June 12, this group of health professionals presented a glimpse of the results they achieved during a year-long leadership development program for faculty in medicine, health sciences, and basic sciences. For this cohort, the learning never stops.

The program, administered by GW’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), celebrated the graduation of 12 SMHS faculty members who teach medical students, residents, and fellows at GW, Children’s National Medical Center (Children’s National), and the Washington, D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“MTLDP is unique among other faculty fellowship programs across the country,” said Ellen Goldman, Ed.D., associate professor of human and organizational learning at SMHS and director of MTLDP.  “We are one of the few who’s leadership crosses a medical school and a school of education, and the only one I know of that confers a university certificate upon completion.”

Created in 2002, the program is designed to strengthen teaching skills, encourage scholarship in education, and cultivate educational leadership potential. Since its inception, 116 faculty members have completed the program.

 “This program is our flagship professional development program,” said Yolanda Haywood, M.D., associate dean for student and curricular affairs at SMHS.  “We are exceedingly proud to have this group graduate and fully expect that each one of them will continue to participate in our educational endeavors at a very high level.”

As a graduate of cohort 2, Haywood knows how special and unique this program is. “Every single cohort, regardless of the composition of the group, because each one of them has a passion for education and medical education in particular, they always bond as a group and they always find a way to work collaboratively after the program is over,” she said.

The program is made up of six courses (18 credit hours) taken over one year, with five hours per week spent in class and an additional 10-15 hours preparing assignments. Faculty members who complete the course are awarded a graduate certificate in leadership development from GSEHD. Their credit hours can be applied towards a Master’s in Education and Human Development.

For Elizabeth Ruckert, DPT, NCS, GCS, assistant professor of physical therapy at SMHS and graduate of the 11th cohort, this program has prepared her in ways she never imagined. “I entered the program thinking it was going to help me become a better teacher but it has prepared me in so many other areas, including research and leadership,” she said. 

 “I hope you take what you have learned from this program to develop curricular and research projects and make this your life’s work,” said Mark Batshaw, M.D., executive vice president and chief academic officer at Children’s National. 

The coursework completed in the MTLDP focuses on the understanding of adult learning principles and theory and application to instructional design; the design of curriculum and assessment of learning; the tools and techniques for enhancing the performance and learning of work groups and teams in organizations; qualitative research methods and project design; and approaches to leading educational initiatives, organizations, and change.

While congratulating cohort 11, Dianne Martin, Ed.D., vice provost for faculty affairs at GW, noted how unique it is to have one school enlisting the help and expertise of another school to deliver this outstanding, high quality program. “This program is an excellent example of the type of cross school initiative that comprises one of the four pillars of the new George Washington University strategic plan— innovation through cross disciplinary collaboration,” she said.

Because of this program, Ruckert now has a network of outstanding professionals across the D.C. area that she can turn to, not only for professional support, but also personal support. “We have all grown so close,” said Ruckert. “I know that we are going to support each other throughout our careers.”