Soren Kierkegaard wrote “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  It was in this spirit that the UGME Curriculum and MD PEC Committees met a few weeks ago to review and celebrate the past work of the major subcommittees and their action plans for moving forward.


We teach our students that it’s important to pause, reflect, and then use those reflections to employ change, solve dilemmas, reinforce their strengths and begin new actions.  It’s salutory to note too that in these reflections should be a sense of honest satisfaction at jobs well done, lessons learned, innovations practiced and accomplishments of which to to be proud.

It was extremely gratifying to see these principles put into effect when the major sub-committees gave their reports on November 3rd, 2014 to the combined membership of the UGME MD PEC and the UGME Curriculum Committee.  Served with refreshments came a series of reports that truly emphasize how busy, productive and conscientious our committees are, how hard-working their memberships are,  and how they consistently consider student feedback and keep student learning as a focus.

Here are the reports of the Student Assessment Committee (SAC), the Course and Faculty Review Committee, the Teaching, Learning and Innovations Committee,  the Academic Affairs Committee, the Admissions Committee, and Student Affairs.

Student Assessment Committee Report: 


Dr. Michelle Gibson kicked off the evening as Director and Chair of the Student Assessment Committee with a report from the SAC.  She thanked Dr. Susan Chamberlain, inaugural Chair of the committee and Catherine Isaacs, longtime administrative support for the committee.  Dr. Gibson introduced the new administrative support person, Amanda Consack;  Eleni Katsoulas, Assessment and Evaluation Consultant came in for words of praise for her continuing support, advice and work on the committee.

Dr. Gibson noted that this was a year of review and information-gathering, with the focus primarily on revising  the Assessment Policy and Procedures,  working with the OSCE working group, and the Progress, Promotions and Remediation Committee.  Her Annual Report SAC report Nov 2014 is attached.

Course and Faculty Review Committee Report:


Dr. Lewis Tomalty is our newest Director and Chair of the UGME Course and Faculty Review Committee.  He has taken over from the excellent work done by Dr. Andrea Winthrop in her role as inaugural Chair and the developer of our internal review process.  Dr. Tomalty and Dr. Winthrop have worked together to revise and streamline the process of review and it was included in a flowchart that was presented.  Dr. Tomalty noted that the review process ensures that all courses receive full reviews every three years (unless there is a new course or significant curriculum change, a new course director, or major recommendations/red flags  from the previous year) and a screened review every year.  In clerkship rotations are evaluated and follow the same process as for pre-clerkship.  A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 faculty are evaluated per rotation, and specific evaluation data are not provided to faculty unless aggregated in larger amounts (annually) or until students have graduated.  His  flowchart_CFRC Process is attached as is his Annual Report from the Course and Faculty Review Committee to MD PEC.

Teaching, Learning and Innovations Committee Report: 


Dr. Lindsay Davidson, Director and Chair of the newly branded Teaching, Learning and Innovations Committee, noted that there had been many foci of the committee this year: analysis of MCCQE part 1 data; online modules review, consideration of residents as teachers of our clerks, and longitudinal curricular threads.  Upcoming topics include: Recommendations regarding a pilot implementation of i-Human cases, Review and recommendations of specific teaching in the UGME curriculum, a process for feedback on the MCC data, documentation of action plans. guidelines regarding minimum acceptable standard for DIL sessions and guidelines regarding the creations/review of online modules for UGME teaching.  Some scholarly projects have been discussed: a survey of current processes for the assessment of resident teaching performance at Queen’s/across other institutions, an audit of the form and function of SGL sessions across the pre-clerkship curriculum and the development and implementation of created or curated resources to assist in the learning/review of neuroanatomy/neurophysiology.  For the full report, see Annual Report_TLIC Nov 14.

Student Affairs Report: 

Dr. Renee Fitzpatrick

Dr. Renee Fitzpatrick, new Director of Student Affairs cleared up nomenclature and focus for us as a beginning of her report: The Learner Wellness Centre houses the Student Affairs Team whose mission it is to provide a resource in supporting the individual and professional growth of medical students throughout the undergraduate medical course.  The team act as advocates and advisors throughout medical school and provide a link between students and faculty when concerns are raised or when new innovations are conceived.  Dr. Fitzpatrick introduced a new embedded counsellor for medical students, working out of Student Health and Counseling Service.  She reviewed the Wellness Days, which focused on resilience;  these were implemented for the clerks in September.  Dr. Fitzpatrick celebrated the student/faculty driven Wellness and Mental Health Group, and noted that Student Affairs   has forged stronger links with Queen’s Disability Services.  Dr. Fitzpatrick reviewed the work of the Career Advisors, the Academic Advisor and looked at future directions.  This involve a learning climate working group and a focus on student debt.  For more on this report, please see Annual Report Student Affairs.

Progress, Promotions and Remediation and the Academic Affairs Committee: 


Dr. Richard Van Wylick, the Director of Progress, Promotions and Remediation spoke about the major accomplishments of his committee:  the revision of the Progress and Promotion Policy, and the Professionalism Policy and the development of an Accommodation Policy as well as a new procedure for access to student records.  The committee worked with the SAC to ensure consistency of their revised policy especially around the role of Examiners’ teams.

A new committee, the Academic Affairs Committee, was created via the approval of new Terms of Reference that bring the policy-making process for student progress and promotion, professionalism, communicable diseases and immunization, student registration, leave of absence and reintegration, student awards, content of transcripts, medical student performance records , academic accommodation, complaints, ethical conduct and the content and management of student records under a single structure that includes broad stakeholder representation including students. Progress and Promotion Committee Terms of Reference were revised as well and the Professionalism Advisory Committee’s terms of reference were revised.  Dr. Van Wylick listed other accomplishments, and spoke of these initiatives in progress:  Student Appeal Board Terms of Reference, Criminal Records Check Policy, Awards Committee terms of reference and process review, a Communicable Disease Advisory Group and review of  Communicable Disease and Immunization Policies and Attendance and Absences in Undergraduate Medicine Policy.  For the full report, please see Annual Report from Academic Affairs to MD PEC_CC.

Admissions Committee Report: 


Dr. Hugh MacDonald rounded off the evening with a report from the UGME Admissions Committee.  He discussed the four admissions streams, the Regular Admission Stream, the Aboriginal Admissions Stream, the MD/MSc and MD/PhD Stream and the Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School (QUARMS).  Dr. MacDonald discussed the June 2014 Admissions Retreat where the focus was Continuation of Queen’s Medicine’s three staged process for selection (academic qualifications, personal attribute evaluation through file review and interview), and further alignment of the desired attributes for chosen Medical Students with the various elements of our selection process.  Future work for the Admissions Committee includes and improved admissions process, a social accountability mandate with alignment of initiatives with the newly created Diversity Panel and in accord with the recently released Diversity Statement for the School of Medicine. For a summary of the report, please access Annual Report Admissions Committtee Summary.


John Dewey has said, “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”


Reviewing the past year was a beneficial exercise…it’s important to stop and reflect on how much has been done.  So often we lose that sense of achievement and accomplishment in the busy rush of the day-to-day, and in the pressure of new work to be done.  We have hard-working Directors and hard working committee members.  Each of these committees reflects the work of several faculty who meet monthly in order to help our program, support our faculty, aid our students and generally help to make Queen’s Medicine the success it is.  For a list of faculty who are involved in these committees, please see the Community in MEdTech for each committee.


“Learning without reflection is a waste.  Reflection without learning is dangerous.”–Confucius


It’s also important to stop and reflect and to plan for the future:  making informed decisions about which direction to take, pursuing goals that arose from reflective retreats, making change that benefits our program.  Our committees have accomplished much but are not resting on their laurels…Already they are busy at work, with new meetings, new agendae, and new plans.  It’s an exciting time of year, and an enervating group of people as partners!











Dr. Renee Fitzpatrick is the new Director of