Apgar Academy FAQ

Welcome to the Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators’ application!

We are delighted that you are considering applying to the Apgar Academy. Here are answers to some FAQs about this process:

What is the Academy looking for in my application to the Apgar Academy?

We are looking for excellent educational scholars. Being an excellent educational scholar involves having substantial experience as an educator, performing in an exceptional way as an educator, and being engaged in one’s educational community. Here’s what we mean by each of those dimensions:

  • Experience as an educator—Prowess as an educator requires practice. You should provide evidence that you have been involved in a substantial way as a teacher, mentor, advisor, and/or educational administrator for at least the past five years. “Substantial” means that
    • you have done more teaching/mentoring/advising than your minimum requirement
    • you seek out opportunities to teach/mentor/advise
  • Excellence as an educator—This indicates that an educator has done excellent work in education as judged by students, peers, and, often, the field. You should have evidence of having done excellent work for at least the past five years in two of the following areas:
    • Direct teaching
    • Instructional development/curricular design
    • Advising and mentorship
    • Educational administration and leadership
    • Educational research and scholarship

    You can refer to our matrix for specific milestones that aid in demonstrating excellence in each of these areas.

  • Engagement as an educator refers to the way in which an educator learns from and contributes to his/her community of fellow educators. This could be a local community (e.g., one’s fellow teachers in a course or other educators in one’s department), or it could be a larger community (e.g., a group of medical schools or a national organization of medical educators). Educators can engage in their communities in many roles: as attendees at meetings; as participants in courses and workshops; as presenters and speakers; as authors; as leaders; and as educational researchers. Engagement with the community involves not only participation in these activities, but evidence that the educator has used these experiences to enhance his/her own educational activities. We are looking for members of the P&S faculty who, in addition to their excellence as educators, have been engaged in a community of educators and are enthusiastic about participating in the Apgar Academy by helping to educate fellow faculty members as well as themselves.

Who can apply?

Any P&S faculty member can apply as long as he/she has been involved in educational activities as a faculty member at P&S for five years. Faculty members at all academic levels (assistant, associate, full professor) may apply. As indicated above, faculty members who have a more senior academic rank will be expected to have held positions of more responsibility and to have engaged with a broader community. Both salaried and non-salaried faculty may apply.

What's in this application?

This application is very much like a promotions packet. The major feature is your CV, with some added elements. Although it will take some time to complete, we do not think that this will be onerous. In fact, our hope is that completing this application will help you to consolidate your ideas about your career as a medical educator and to think about goals for the future. The application consists of the following components:

  • A one-page summary statement, which should guide your reviewers through your application materials, highlighting your excellence, experience, and evidence of engagement in at least two of these areas of medical education:
    • Direct teaching
    • Instructional development and curricular design
    • Advising and mentoring
    • Educational administration and leadership
    • Educational research and scholarship

Please use this statement to highlight your strengths and unique contributions.
Be sure to include something about your future goals as an educator.

  • A 1-page statement about the ways in which you would like to contribute to the Academy (see above)
  • An “enhanced” CV: We have taken a fairly standard CUMC-style CV and added a section for “Educational roles.” This should allow you to detail your educational accomplishments in a more comprehensive way than might be possible using a standard CV. Note that hitting “return” at the end of each line of the tables will add another line. 
  • One letter of nomination from your chair, program director, or the person who you think can best describe your excellence and accomplishments as a medical educator
  • Evidence of excellence summary—this is a 1- to 2-page summary of the evidence of the quality of your work. We would like you to highlight recent work if possible. This can include quantitative information, if available, and can include selected narratives from colleagues and trainees.

Please note that all of your materials should be single spaced, 12 pt font, with 1-inch margins. We suggest that all of your lists be in descending order, as this is how the new CUMC CV asks for the information (but ascending order is fine; just be clear about the dates and be consistent throughout your application).

Where should I get the “evidence of excellence” data?

If you are teaching medical students or residents, someone in your department has evaluative data on your teaching. If you teach medical students, ask the head of medical student education in your department; if you teach residents, ask your program director. Not everyone will be able to obtain numerical data, but if it is available please include it for the last five years. If there are norms or averages for your department, please include those as well.

What does it mean to be a member of the Apgar Academy of Medical Educators?

Being an Apgar member signals to the community that you have distinguished yourself as an outstanding educator. Apgar members have an opportunity to work together to continue to grow as educators and to engage with the entire P&S educational community. We will ask Apgar members to spend at least 10 hours per year on Academy activities, in addition to attending two general meetings per year and our annual welcome reception for new members. As an Academy member, you can participate by

  • Leading a faculty workshop
  • Serving as a teaching coach
  • Serving as a mentor to junior clinician educators
  • Creating educational videos for our website
  • Serving on an Academy committee

What if I still have questions?

Feel free to call or e-mail with any questions you have about completing any part of this application. Contact Deborah Cabaniss at 212-543-5666 or dsc3@columbia.edu.

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