President & CEO's Blog

By Gerald Glandon, PhD posted 01-28-2019 09:46


Spring is Coming

One year ago, I mentioned my dislike of the cold but concluded that the aversion was not severe enough to avoid going to Chicago for the March Graduate Program and Practitioner Workshop. This year, however, the timing is earlier in March, which makes the prospects of cold weather even more likely. An outstanding program will get me to Chicago, however, and you should seriously consider as well. Thanks to the great work of the Graduate Program Committee (GPC) and its chair, Dr. Tracy Farnsworth, we have an outstanding program planned.

 The theme this year, “The Art of Leadership:  Teaching, Developing, and Assessing Essential Professional Skills” will give us the opportunity to explore in depth those key elements of professional success in our field that we often do not consider sufficiently. While finance, strategy, marketing, IT, law, regulation and other competencies are essential, they form the building blocks for high quality leadership. Leading others, managing conflict, team development, planning and leading change, solving problems and making decisions, maintaining high ethical standards, and communication skills among others constitute the extra skills vital to leadership. The program will begin with a joint presentation by Dr. David Pate, President and CEO of St. Lukes Health System in Idaho. His perspectives on the vital role essential professional skills played in his career and in those he has worked with should be enlightening. We will then host a panel of faculty leaders exploring five key essential professional skills in some depth. They will share their experiences and provide lessons learned. We also will have breakout sessions exploring in more depth the many techniques your colleagues use to teach and assess these skills. It should be a highly informative program.

What is particularly unique this year is that, at the behest of the GPC, we conducted a poll of members regarding the techniques used to teach each of the essential professional skills. The responses were substantial and thoughtful and we thank all of those who participated. We will share some of these findings in Chicago in March but, briefly, faculty use a variety of techniques to teach these essential professional skills as expected. The conventional, “class discussions” are used 80% of the time by respondents across all of the essential skills but most frequently to enhance effective communication skills (86%) and least likely to develop teams (69%). They are used by about 52% of respondents to teach all seven of the skills. It is interesting, however, that over 16% of respondents use class discussions for three or fewer of these essential skills. Internships, on the other hand, are used to teach 47% of essential skills with the highest concentration in enhancing communication skills (59%) and the lowest for planning and leading change (36%). Clearly, we have moved to other teaching techniques for these essential skills. Further, there are some interesting, although largely expected, differences based on respondents’ years of experience, graduate/undergraduate environment, gender, and administrative/faculty role. You will have to come to Chicago in March to get more of the story.

Another unique feature of our efforts this year involves expanded programming designed specifically for students. Jointly with ACHE and NCHL, we have designed a program to help students consider alternative career paths and to provide an exposure to fellowship opportunities. The students will have the opportunity to listen to Dr. Pate but then they will depart to another room for an overview of career opportunity paths, a panel of experts from various points in their career regarding alternatives to tradition hospital or institutional paths. The afternoon will also provide exposure to a wide range of fellowship opportunities through speed networking sessions. These events should encourage students to attend and will give them time to network at ACHE and to attend the many alumni events that evening.

Hope to see everyone in Chicago on March 5th. It will be a low of -14 degrees next Tuesday in Chicago but I am told it will be springtime weather by March.