The effect of changes of the scholarship regulation on scholarship activities of the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences faculties

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Endoscopic & Minimally Invasive Surgery Research Center, Ghaem Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Education Development Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

Abstract

Background: Since 2009, evaluation of scholarship in teaching activities of faculty members is considered for their promotion in Iran. Until now, policies regarding the minimum obligatory scholarship score required for promotion have changed dramatically. The effects of changes in policies on the scholarship activities of faculty members of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (MUMS) are evaluated in this study.
Methods: The files of scholarship of teaching of the faculty members promoted from 2009 to 2012 are evaluated.
Results: During the period of study, 127 faculty members were promoted. The mean score of scholarship of teaching achieved in total was 3.70 ±1.307. It was significantly different periods in which scholarship policies have changed (p<0.001). The mean percent score obtained from preparing and implementation of lesson and course plans, implementation of new educational methods, and the mean number of electronic learning contents prepared by faculty members were significantly different among these periods, too. The mean percent score obtained from new educational assessment methods was not different significantly.
Discussion: Changes of promotion regulation of faculty members in Mashhad University of Medical Sciences significantly affected the quantity and quality of their scholarship activities. A minimum obligatory score of scholarship activities required for promotion of faculty members has proved effective in progress of scholarship of teaching and learning and development of education. 

Keywords


The effect of changes of the scholarship regulation on scholarship activities of the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences faculties

Scholarship, in its modern concept, is presented by Ernest L Boyer in the book "Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate" published in 1990 (1). Scholarship of teaching, as an aspect of academic life, refers to communications of faculty members and promoting and sharing the practice of teaching. This concept is reflected in old literature. For example, principles of scholarship are expressed in the poets of Ferdowsi (940-1020) in Iran (2). Hansen and Roberts believe that scholarship is demonstrated when knowledge is advanced or transformed by application of one`s intellect in an informed disciplined and creative manner, assessing the results by peer review and public (3).

In the second half of the twentieth century, academic communities were pushed toward research. Although the primary mission of universities was education; promotion and rewarding was mainly based on research (1). To some extent, this was due to inability to objectively evaluate educational activities (4-6). Definition of scholarship criteria by Charles Glassic in the book "scholarship assessed" in 1997 has facilitated this evaluation (7). This modern concept of teaching is widely used for the evaluation of the faculty members (8-16).

In Iran, evaluation of educational activities of faculty members through scholarship assessment is begun from 2009 in promotion regulation (17). Since then, the policies regarding the minimum obligatory scholarship score required for promotion have changed dramatically. In the year 2009, at least 3 scores were required for promotion. In 2010, achieving scholarship scores was optional. In 2011, faculty members were obliged to have at least 3 scores for promotion; while some activities were added as equivalents to scholarship to facilitate taking required scores (18). In 2012, faculty members were in hurry to present their promotion file before declaration of the new revision of the "Promotion Regulation" because it was stricter in some aspects (19).

The changes of policies by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education had great impacts on the quantity and quality of the scholarship activities of faculty members. The effects of changes in policies on the activities of faculty members of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (MUMS) are evaluated in this study.

Materials and Methods

The files of scholarship of teaching of the faculty members promoted from 2009 to 2012 in Mashhad University of Medical Sciences were evaluated with permission from Education Development Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. These files were evaluated regarding the total scores obtained from scholarship activities and the scores obtained from: preparing and implementation of lesson and course plans, implementation of new educational methods, electronic learning contents, and new educational assessment methods. The degree of promotion (from assistant professor to associate professor or from associate professor to professor) and the faculty (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing and midwifery, paramedical sciences and health) were determined. The total number of faculty members in different years and in different faculties was determined. Analysis was done with SPSS package for statistics version 11.5.

Results:

During the period of study, 127 faculty members were promoted. The mean score of scholarship of teaching achieved by faculty members in total was 3.70 ±1.307 (min= 0.9, max=9.14). The mean score was the most in the year 2011 and the least in 2010 (fig. 1). There is significant difference between the mean score of faculty members in various periods analyzed by analysis of variance test (f=19.345, p<0.001).

 

Figure 1. The mean total score of the promoted faculty members in various periods

The mean percent score of faculty members obtained from preparing and implementation of lesson and course plans, implementation of new educational methods, and new educational assessment methods and the mean number of electronic learning contents prepared by faculty members in general and in various periods are presented in table 1.

 

Table 1. The mean percent score of the promoted faculty members from varied scholarship items and the mean number of electronic learning contents prepared in various periods

The item of obtaining scholarship score

Medic-ine

Denti-stry

Phar-macy

Nursing and Mid-

wifery

Para-medical sciences

Health

P value

Mean total scholarship score; mean(SD)

3.5

(0.95)

3.8

(1.73)

3.6

(1.26)

7.86

5.8

(0.57)

4.4

(1.14)

 0.001

Mean percent score from preparing and implementation of lesson and course plans; mean(SD)

45.5

(17.99)

42.1

(21.02)

55.9

(20.02)

25.4

35.0

(3.44)

47.4

(10.20)

 

0.323

Mean percent score from implementation of new educational methods; mean(SD)

37.8

(28.14)

31.4

(23.44)

27.0

(13.03)

0

0

37.6

(20.18)

0.165

 Mean percent score from new educational assessment methods; mean(SD)

12.7

(15.05)

12.5

(14.04)

9.0

(13.28)

5.5

12.6

(8.60)

6.4

(5.06)

0.897

Mean Number of electronic learning contents; mean(SD)

1.8

(2.35)

1.7

(1.90)

0.8

(1.03)

0

0

2.0

(3.08)

0.6

 

The percent of faculty members that promoted in every year was significantly different (fig. 2). In the Medicine faculty, this percent was significantly different in various periods. In other faculties, it was not significantly different or it was not assessable due to the little number of promoted members (fig. 3). In the total period from 2009 to 20012, the percent of promoted members was the most for the Health faculty (fig. 4).

 

 

Figure 2. The percent of faculty members promoted in various periods

 

 

The item of obtaining scholarship score

Medic-ine

Denti-stry

Phar-macy

Nursing and Mid-

wifery

Para-medical sciences

Health

P value

Mean total scholarship score; mean(SD)

3.5

(0.95)

3.8

(1.73)

3.6

(1.26)

7.86

5.8

(0.57)

4.4

(1.14)

 0.001

Mean percent score from preparing and implementation of lesson and course plans; mean(SD)

45.5

(17.99)

42.1

(21.02)

55.9

(20.02)

25.4

35.0

(3.44)

47.4

(10.20)

 

0.323

Mean percent score from implementation of new educational methods; mean(SD)

37.8

(28.14)

31.4

(23.44)

27.0

(13.03)

0

0

37.6

(20.18)

0.165

 Mean percent score from new educational assessment methods; mean(SD)

12.7

(15.05)

12.5

(14.04)

9.0

(13.28)

5.5

12.6

(8.60)

6.4

(5.06)

0.897

Mean Number of electronic learning contents; mean(SD)

1.8

(2.35)

1.7

(1.90)

0.8

(1.03)

0

0

2.0

(3.08)

0.6

Figure 3. The percent of faculty members promoted in various faculties in various periods

 

 

Figure 4. The percent of faculty members promoted in various faculties from 2009 to 2012

 

The mean percent score of faculty members obtained from various items of scholarship and the mean number of electronic learning contents prepared by faculty members in various faculties are presented in table 2.

 

Table 2. The mean percent score of the promoted faculty members from varied scholarship items and the mean number of electronic learning contents prepared in various faculties

 

 

 

 

Of the 127 promoted faculty members, 98 (77%) were from assistant professor to associate professor and 29 (23%) from associate professor to professor. The ratio of promoted assistant professors to promoted associate professors was 4.6 in 2009, 1.8 in 2010, 4.4 in 2011, 2.4 in 2012, and 3.4 in the whole study period. This ratio was not significantly different in various years (chi-square=2.959, p=0.4). The mean percent score of faculty members obtained from various items of scholarship and the mean number of electronic learning contents prepared by faculty members in both groups are presented in table 3.

 

Table 3. The mean percent score of the promoted faculty members from varied scholarship items and the mean number of electronic learning contents prepared in promoted assistant professors and promoted associate professors

The scholarship score

Year

2009

Year

2010

Year

2011

Year

2012

Average

 

P value

Score for preparing and implementation of lesson and course plans; mean(SD)

49.6

(13.79)

71.8

(17.33)

36.8

(17.64)

40.8

(16.41)

45.17

(16.41)

 <0.001

Mean percent score for implementation of new educational methods; mean(SD)

19.35

(16.53)

21.3

(25.89)

44.5

(28.76)

55.0

(20.57)

34.4

(28.76)

 <0.001

 Mean percent score for new educational assessment methods; mean(SD)

15.4

(14.55)

12.4

(20.76)

13.2

(13.52)

6.2

(9.20)

12.1

(14.20)

 0.052

Mean Number of electronic learning contents; mean(SD)

0.7

(1.07)

0.4

(0.63)

2.6

(2.67)

2.1

(2.21)

1.6

(2.17)

 <0.001

 

 

 

Discussion:

Changes of evaluation policies have great impacts on the function the evaluated population. The results of this study clearly demonstrate the significant effect of changes of promotion regulation of faculty members in Mashhad University of Medical Sciences on their scholarship activities. The mean total score of scholarship of promoted faculty members in the years in which obtaining at least 3 scores was obligatory are significantly more than the mean total score in 2010 in which achieving scholarship scores was optional.

Education of faculty members, too, had a great impact on the quality and quantity of scholarship activities. With holding multiple workshops, the mean total score of scholarship was increased from 3.34 in 2009 to 4.41 in 2011; while policies for promotion in the scholarship regulation were the same in these periods. The quality of activities are considered as the number of electronic learning contents and the mean percent of acquired scores from implementation of new methods of education and student assessment. The mean number of electronic learning contents, as an indicator of quality of scholarship activities, has increased from 2009 to 2011. The mean percent of acquired scores from new methods of educations is increased over time, too.

 

This study demonstrates that changes of policies had deep impacts on the quality of scholarship activities, too. The mean percent of acquired score from lesson plan and course plan (as low quality activities) was significantly high in 2010 while the total score was very low in this period. This indicates that high quality activities of faculty members were significantly decreased in this period that obtaining scholarship score was optional.

The mean number of promoted faculty members was varied and did not follow any rule regarding changes in scholarship policies. This parameter is under the influence of multiple factors that cannot be addressed in this study.

The mean score of faculty members in Nursing and Midwifery faculty were significantly more than other faculties, followed by Paramedical sciences and Health faculties. This finding indicates great potentials for future scholarship activities in these faculties and the need for education in other faculties (i.e. Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy).

Evaluation, rewarding, and promotion of faculty members should be based on their core mission of education. Inability to critically assess educational activities of faculty members has been the main limitation for this viewpoint. Scholarship regulation was one step toward making educational activities assessable.

A minimum obligatory score of scholarship activities required for promotion of faculty members has proved effective in progress of scholarship of teaching and learning and development of education.  

 

Acknowledgement

The authors thank Education Development Center of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran for the support and approval of this study.

Conflict of interest: None.

Approval: Approval was obtained from Research Committee and Education Development Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences.

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