REDESIGNING THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE
It is an inherent belief within the College of Medicine that a quality student experience will lead to greater student success. Knowing this and based on feedback and a partnership with students, the College is redesigning the student experience.
The Institute for Healthcare Delivery Design developed a human-centered design approach to understand perceptions of advising and use the inputs of administrators, students, and faculty to outline “an advising service blueprint” calibrated to meet students’ needs across all four years of their education.
As a result, a series of initiatives, partly developed through a collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Delivery Design and based off goals within the College’s strategic plan, have been developed to ensure students are provided the services necessary to thrive during their time at UI COM.
You can read below about the areas of focus a number of the initiatives underway:
Slack Digital Communication Channel
Slack allows users to post to subject-specific “channels,” to ask questions and discuss in an open forum, or to send private direct messages to other users on the platform. The College is piloting Slack with every student and certain faculty and staff members. Channels related to career and curriculum support and advice have been developed and others will continue to be added.
College Events Calendar
A college-wide events calendar will allow the campus community to remain updated about ongoing activities across the campuses. A student events calendar also has been developed as a way to keep students connected across all campuses.
Student Goal-Planning Roadmap
The roadmap is a tool for students to plan their path through medical school. They can see what milestones lie ahead and plan their academic and career advising journey accordingly. Students want to plan. A roadmap allows students to be informed about the multiple steps ahead, keeping their long-term goals in mind.
On each campus, every student will have a faculty advisor. Faculty advisors will work with student affairs staff and clerkship directors to provide personalized guidance to students, such as choosing elective courses, evaluating career options and applying to residency programs while offering academic counseling.
Weekly quiz results are available to students and their advisors via the Medical Education Database (BenWare). Additional assessments during Block courses will be added based on student feedback. Advisors will offer help and resources based on content areas that students will be focusing on for improvement.
Academic Success Network
Academic Advising at UI COM cultivates a teaching and learning partnership among medical students, faculty, and professional advising staff to provide personalized and holistic academic advising for every student. This group constitutes your Academic Success Network and provides you with services including:
- transition to medical school (tailoring your learning strategies to medical school)
- peer education and support
- referral to resources for financial aid, wellness, academic accommodations
WEBEX Introductions to Specialties
Department heads for each medical specialty will deliver yearly introductions to their field. The presentations will be hosted in person, online, and will be recorded for students to access at a later date. Students in all four years of medical school are making decisions about their career path. This creates an opportunity for such an interaction with limited demand on the faculty member’s schedule.
Visit the specialty interest webinar page to see the upcoming schedule and view past webinars.
Web Resource Directory
Each specialty has a webpage with links to relevant resources and contact information for designated faculty available to field career advising questions. Students have an online repository of resources related to each medical specialty. Should they struggle to find the answers to their questions in the resources, 2-3 faculty members are also identified to serve as a point person for students seeking career advice.
Career Success Network
Similar to the Academic Success Network, the Career Success Network is a partnership between medical students, clinical faculty and professional advising staff. Students will:
- Actively engage in self-exploratory activities aimed at aligning their interests, values, personality type and skills with a career choice.
- Gain knowledge of a variety of career options.
- Choose a specialty to which to apply.
- Understand the steps in preparing for residency and successfully apply to programs.
Student Specialty Interest Groups
The College has formed an interconnected system so that students from all campuses can engage with the specialty interest groups of their choice.
Medical Student Health, Wellness and Resilience
The Reeves Student Wellness Fund is made possible by the Tom C. Reeves Memorial Fund. Programs were developed and approved based on the goal of improving the well-being of medical students across all UI COM campuses. Programs include:
- The HeartMath Program helps students take charge in their lives, assisting students in reducing stress and anxiety by increasing their inner balance and self-security. UI COM staff have been trained in the program and plan to offer information to students on the techniques in the upcoming spring semester. Look for more information to come.
- The cognitive behavioral tool, developed by Jenna Duffecy, PhD, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, offers quick online sessions that teach students how to manage mood and stress, avoid burnout, manage test anxiety and assist with other issues related to your experience as a medical student. Students may access this tool by signing up here: https://www.redcap.ihrp.uic.edu/surveys/?s=RNFYEDRFCH. Dr. Duffecy also is looking for student feedback regarding the sessions as well as the name of the tool.