University of Massachusetts Medical School, School of Medicine, Office of Educational Affairs

3662 18520
Position ID:UMASSMED-OEA-ADSA [#18520, 21-067]
Position Title: Associate Dean, Student Affairs
Position Type:Non tenure-track faculty
Position Location:Worcester, Massachusetts 01655, United States [map]
Subject Area: Educational Leadership / Educational Administration
Appl Deadline:none (posted 2021/04/22, updated 2021/04/26)
Position Description:    

The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) invites applications and nominations for the position of Associate Dean for Student Affairs (ADSA). Since accepting its first class in 1970, UMMS has provided students with an accessible, comprehensive and personally rewarding education, preparing them to excel as caring, competent, productive physicians in their chosen career. Accepting 162 students a year, most of whom are residents of Massachusetts, UMMS has prided itself on creating a warm, collaborative environment where faculty and administrators are open to new and creative ways of serving the students and the state.

Reporting to the Vice Provost for Educational Affairs, the ADSA will be expected to bring strategic vision, a commitment to student success, and strong management skills to play a major leadership role in this highly regarded public institution. The position requires a leader who will serve as a role model, bringing the ideals of medicine to the students, with a proven track record of leadership in student affairs, an understanding of the particular challenges facing medical students, and outstanding communication and organizational skills.
A search committee has been appointed and the search process will be administered under the oversight of the Office of Educational Affairs.

Educational Innovations
The curriculum at UMMS has been recognized for the diverse clinical training of students, preparing them for career choices beyond medical school, whether in primary care or the medical specialties. In parallel with this exceptional clinical preparation, the institution’s fast-paced growth, leadership and worldwide recognition in health sciences research offers extraordinary research opportunities for students.

The school is currently undertaking a major curricular overhaul culminating with two tracks including a traditional four-year program leading to the MD degree and an accelerated three-year track; both are scheduled to be implemented in August 2022. The new curriculum is a significant move away from traditional lecture-based delivery, opting instead for a multi-modal pedagogy best exemplified by small group sessions, flipped-classroom engagement, simulation, problem-based case work, and independent learning modules. The mission of redesign is to develop a contemporary and innovative curriculum that promotes curiosity and inquiry, empowers learners, and enables future physician leaders to equitably and expertly care for diverse patient populations.

A cornerstone to the new curriculum is the fully reimagined Pathways program which will allow all matriculated learners to longitudinally engage their interests culminating in a scholarly/capstone submission during their final year. The Pathways program embodies the mission of the new program by delivering opportunities for leadership, research, education, ethics, humanities, data visualization and project design within the lens of a specific theme.

The curriculum aligns with six competencies for medical education: physician as professional, scientist, communicator, clinical problem solver, patient and community advocate, and person.

To support the curriculum, the school’s educational facilities create the “ideal learning environment” that will best prepare today’s students as tomorrow’s physicians. Dedicated facilities include anatomy labs with computer technology at each dissection table; classrooms and amphitheaters with campus-wide wireless connectivity; an integrated Teaching and Learning Center (iTLC) that serves as a cutting-edge “technology-infused” classroom for interactive small group learning, high resolution AV systems and computer-based testing; an on-campus “clinical skills center” with dedicated space for students to practice and learn techniques in clinical skills and physical diagnosis from expert faculty mentors; and five-student group study rooms, each dedicated to one Learning Community (see below). Additionally, students continue to benefit from a nationally recognized standardized patient program that serves all four years of the curriculum; comprehensive simulation resources including high-fidelity manikins, task trainers and computer-based “virtual” simulation dedicated to UMMS learners; and, finally, an expanding network of community-based faculty across Massachusetts whose practices provide students with an immersion experience in doctoring and the opportunity to develop their relationships with patients from the first days of medical school.

UMMS’s educational program has benefited in recent years from major investments in state-of-the-art educational technology and medical simulation and will continue to benefit from additional enhancements housed in the Albert Sherman Center, a research and education building on campus. The Sherman Center’s state-of-the-art educational resources includes the integrated Center for Experiential Learning and Simulation (iCELS), a 24,000-square-foot comprehensive, full-service simulation center, as well as a 10,000-square-foot facility dedicated to supporting the five houses of the school’s Learning Communities.

In 2017, UMMS admitted the first cohort of students into the newly designated Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH) track, which is located on the school’s first regional campus in Springfield, Massachusetts. This track accepts approximately 25 students per year and is heralded as a major enhancement for medical students at UMMS. The faculty at Baystate Health Systems are committed to provide the best possible education to this group of students and is actively engaged in all aspects of the medical school community.

The educational mission of the School of Medicine is further enhanced by 55 ACGME- accredited residency and fellowship programs; cooperative degree programs with area colleges and universities; diverse community-based education programs across Massachusetts; outstanding achievements in clinical and translational research in the health sciences; and the Commonwealth Medicine division, dedicated to serving the state’s broad community of health care and service agencies.

Lastly, to enhance student support, the school is organized in to six Learning Communities. Dividing the students into six houses, the school has appointed 28 faculty mentors, each assigned to teach and advise a small group of students within the houses. The mentors have provided continuity of student support; robust clinical skills development; and a foundation for ongoing lifelong learning beyond medical school. The mentors have assumed a great deal of the advising and communication workload and communicate frequently with the Office of Student Affairs, who oversees the program jointly with the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education.

Student Affairs at UMMS
The Associate Dean for Student Affairs (ADSA) serves at a variety of interfaces between the school administration and the students. Through ongoing communication with the Learning Community mentors, the faculty, and, above all, the students, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs provides several critical services for the UMMS community.
  • Medical Student Performance Evaluation – The MPSEs, or Dean’s Letters, are one of the more important contact points between a medical student and the Office of Student Affairs. Working within the AAMC guidelines, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs is responsible for communicating to residency programs all a student’s assets and abilities demonstrated over four years of medical school. These letters require not only knowledge of each student in the program, but of the unique and specific challenges of the curriculum.
  • Policy and Procedure – The Office of Student Affairs is responsible for producing the Student Handbook and serves as a school-wide resource and arbiter for questions on policies and procedures. Additionally, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs sits on the both the Clinical Science and Basic Science academic progress boards and is expected to be an authority on the school’s regulations regarding advancement or dismissal.
  • Student Advocacy – In addition to serving as the student’s voice on the progress boards, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs also acts as an advocate for students to a variety of internal and external constituents.
  • Communicating Academic Progress – The ADSA plays a crucial role in helping students understand their movement through the UMMS program. Through regular orientation sessions and a variety of communications from the Office of Student Affairs, the ADSA is responsible for conveying to students their requirements for successful academic progress.
Two Assistant Deans currently report to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in the following areas: Student Advising, Student Professional Development. In addition, there are 26 faculty Learning Community mentors who assist the ADSA support medical students with professional development, career counseling, and academic monitoringThe ADSA also receives support from and is responsible for the management of the Office of Student Affairs staff, which includes an Administrative Manager for Student Affairs, and three project coordinators.

In addition to the responsibilities listed above, the ADSA also has oversight and management responsibilities in the following areas:
  • Enrollment management – Ensuring that all records and rosters are up to date and student status is accurately tracked. This is accomplished in close collaboration with the Vice Provost for Student Life.
  • Professionalism and learning environment issues – Ensuring that programs meet LCME standards of professionalism and working with students to help them understand what is required of them in a professional environment.
  • Advancement and promotion, including Honors boards – Overseeing the transition of cohorts and properly recognizing outstanding students.
  • Supporting diversity and populations underrepresented in medicine – Maintaining a campus-wide commitment to tolerance, diversity and inclusion and avoidance of bias.
  • Residency planning and career guidance – Preparing students for their residencies by helping them understand the process, and their options, for matching into the residency of their choice.
  • Personal advising/mentoring – Working with the Learning Community mentors and the Center for Academic Achievement, the ADSA helps students work through problems that may occur in both their personal and their academic lives.
  • Overseeing the Advanced Studies Lottery for required sub internships for UMMS students as well coordinating electives for visiting students.
  • Student wellness and student life – Promotion of a culture of health and well-being among students. These activities are in collaboration with the Vice Provost for Student Life.
  • Student mistreatment – Ensuring that UMMS students are treated with respect in both clinical and academic settings and following up appropriately when mistreatment is alleged.
  • Student policies regarding information access – Providing up-to-date and timely responses to students’ requests for access to their records that align with all relevant regulations.
Key Challenges and Opportunities
The roles and responsibilities of an Associate Dean for Student Affairs vary from institution to institution. Typically, this individual is involved with student advocacy; creating, disseminating and implementing institutional policies and procedures; representing the institution and the profession to students; advising and counseling students; as well as serving as a role model to students. The associate dean’s position will create an opportunity to both build upon the reputation that has been established for this Office, as well as to address the other emerging challenges in student affairs at UMMS and nationally.

Advocate for students to both internal and external constituencies.
With a unique insight into each student and the challenges that may arise, the ADSA is expected to provide the student perspective to faculty and UMMS review boards. In clinical settings the ADSA will also ensure that students are treated with respect and their academic needs are being met.

Assist in the process of matching students with their desired and clinical residencies.
For those students anticipating a career in clinical medicine, attaining the residency of their choice is often the culmination of their medical school experience. The ADSA will play a key role in that process by helping to prepare students so that they feel confident that they will be selected by their desired institution or program. By using his or her knowledge of the student and of the specialty into which the student plans to enter, the ADSA
should be a resource to help students select the appropriate institutions at which they would be likely to “match”, write letters of support for the students, and advocate for their selection in their desired program.

Proactively address issues around student wellness, including work-life balance, mental health, and stress management
There are a variety of resources on campus to ensure that students are as healthy and happy outside of class as they are successful inside the classroom. In concert with other providers of these services, and student-driven initiatives, the successful candidate will work to marshal available resources to address student health and wellness by creating a coordinated program. It is anticipated that this resource will become a proactive one, rather than just available when a student is confronted with a problem.

Enhance diversity and address the needs of a more diverse student body.
Though many UMMS students are residents of the State of Massachusetts, increasingly they are coming from a widening array of undergraduate education experiences and socio-economic backgrounds nationwide. The Medical School has an ambitious plan to continue this trend through outreach to undergraduate institutions and the ADSA will play an active role in their transitions to the rigors of a medical education. As diversity increases, a broader array of support services will likely be necessary.

Manage student data and information so that it is accessible and actionable for other campus partners.
The successful leader will be able to balance the flow of information that comes into the Office of Student Affairs with the need to share timely information with a range of other constituent offices, such as Financial Aid, Registrar, Academic Support, and Mental Health Services.

Serve as a resource for faculty and students to answer questions and solve unique problems.
The Office of Student Affairs at UMMS is a reliable point of contact for students, faculty and staff. The new Associate Dean for Student Affairs will be expected to know students personally and provide support, guidance, and encouragement when needed. The next ADSA should be able to continue this function by providing a welcoming and safe space for students to air concerns, as well as to provide timely and accurate responses to faculty and staff questions.

Qualifications and Experience
The ideal candidate will possess most, if not all, of the following characteristics:
  • Five years of experience working in a medical school student affairs environment, or equivalent role that requires close contact with medical students as learners, trainees, advisees, or other related student affairs-related functions.
  • Increased leadership responsibilities over time and advancement in an appointed leadership role in medical education.
  • A completed terminal degree, including MD, DO or PhD, preferably an MD.
  • A demonstrated ability to manage staff and execute programs.
  • Outstanding communication skills to represent UMMS to external audiences, including potential partners.
  • An understanding of the future of medicine and medical education that will help UMMS become a leader in preparing students for practice.
  • A vision for how an Office of Student Affairs can advance the goals and stature of a school of medicine.
  • An orientation towards listening to student concerns and advocating on their behalf.
  • Outstanding organizational skills to manage a busy office during times of increased needs, such as the preparation of the MSPEs.
  • Technological savvy to manage and augment a vast student database.
  • Adept relationship building; the ability to work collaboratively within the Worcester campus and to connect with all members of the UMass community; a tendency to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
  • A demonstrated commitment to and the requisite skills to advance diversity.
  • Demonstrated trustworthiness, integrity, and exceptional character.
  • A UMMS faculty appointment will be awarded commensurate with applicant qualifications:
  • The University of Massachusetts Medical School
Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and resumes with cover letters should be sent in confidence via Academic Jobs Online. This position will remain open until filled. 
UMMS is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer, UMMS recognizes the power of a diverse community and encourages applications from individuals with varied experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds.

Application Materials Required:
Submit the following items online at this website to complete your application:
And anything else requested in the position description.

Further Info:
https://umassmed.edu/
email
508-856-4250

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