A writing curriculum for physician faculty members

Constance C Schmitz, Carole J. Bland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


As part of a USA government contract in faculty development, the domain of written communication was analysed according to instructional systems methodology. The content of written communication was examined for its rationale, literature base, underlying process skills, products, audiences, and requisite competencies. The context for learning writing skills was reviewed in terms of learners' characteristics, requirements for learning, aspects of the delivery system, and optimal teaching formats and strategies. A wealth of literature was found to support 47 requisite competencies, which were further validated in three separate surveys. The analysis suggests that instruction is most appropriate for tenure-track faculty members and fellows. The recommended curriculum integrates expert consultation with seminars, retreats, and faculty publishing clubs. Most pivotal of these is the writing consultant, who works on-site as a coordinator, editor, and consultant to faculty authors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-270
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper was supported by USA Federal Contract #240-84-0077, Division of Medicine, Health Services Resources Administration, Health and Human Services.

Funding Information:
Placing writing instruction either in continuing medical education or faculty development programs is not new. In American higher education, a general crisis in writing competency has triggered several faculty development projects (Scardamalia & Bere-iter, 1986). These projects aim to improve faculty members’ (and students’) writing skills through teacher development seminars. Beginning in the mid-to-late 1970s, efforts such as the Bay Area Writing Project, which then spawned the National Writing Project and many regional facsimilies, received widespread endorsement from participants and funders. In Minnesota, several writing programs receive major, ongoing funding from the Bush Foundation. These funders recognize the importance of a department-sponsored effort to increase their faculty members’ writing skills and publishing records and by extension, the writing skills of students as well.


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