Advancing Professional Development Through a Community of Practice: the New England Network for Faculty Affairs

Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions (Quarter 1, 2018) Power, Christine M.; Thorndyke, Luanne E.; Milner, Robert J.

A recent study sought to describe a community of practice established to aid the professional development of faculty affairs professionals and document its impact. Researchers outlined the process of forming the New England Network for Faculty Affairs (NENFA), reviewed the pedagogical approaches to professional development, and surveyed members to evaluate the impact of NENFA on their activities, professional network, and institutions. Over the course of five years, NENFA's regional community of practice increased to 31 institutions and held 10 meetings. To engage participants—from academic medical centers and allied professions—the meetings used a variety of learning formats to provide in-depth focus on a faculty development topic. A 2015 member survey highlighted NENFA's value, with numerous respondents reporting changes in practice as a result of participation. The authors note "that a 'community of practice' offers an effective model for collaborative learning among individuals at different institutions within a competitive health care environment" and suggest the approach be replicated elsewhere.

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