Key #2: Participation of Seasoned, Highly Regarded Faculty
Leadership of the seminar is a critical factor and participation by role models is key. Faculty who are selected to lead the program must be recognized and respected for their expertise and demonstrate high standards of professionalism. Their convivial nature and/or interest in psycho-social topics should not be a factor in your decision.
Recruiting senior faculty as facilitators can have a positive effect on your RP&L program. It may encourage junior faculty to provide support for seminar logistics while senior faculty address potential program obstacles. Senior faculty bring accumulated wisdom and a professional history that helps them crystalize questions, offer analogous case circumstances, and illuminate implicit data, pragmatic considerations, or potential consequences that may not be apparent to less experienced colleagues.
When recruiting, consider the number and type of faculty. We recommend a minimum of two faculty facilitators in order to ensure that the seminars are not cancelled if one person is unavailable. Having at least two facilitators also allows one faculty member to pay attention to the process (e.g., is the faculty adhering to the method) while the other offers alternative insights into the case discussion. Two facilitators also increases the diversity of role models available for the participants (e.g., gender, ethnicity, academic pathway).
When the infrastructure, logistics and primary faculty have been identified and are performing as expected, other faculty can be recruited for specific purposes (e.g., to represent an “80-20” research pathway). Even, we are now questioning if there is an upper limit to the number of faculty who should participate. On some occasions we have recruited faculty with particular expertise (e.g., ethics of clinical research) to participate in a particular seminar. For the past several years we have successfully balanced a ratio of approximately 4 faculty to 12 fellows participating in any given seminar.