In August 1993 the American College of Surgeons sponsored a course entitled “Surgeons as Educators” (SAE) aimed at equipping academic surgeons with the knowledge and skills necessary to enhance surgical education administration, curriculum, teaching, and evaluation. The instructional design model used to construct the course called for a formal needs assessment to determine the importance, current skill level, and priority of what needed to be learned to be an effective educator. The needs assessment was accomplished using a job analysis and questionnaire approach. The 68item questionnaire was mailed to 320 academic surgeons representing eight medical schools. A 62% response rate was achieved. Results indicated the education-related tasks or activities that faculty felt were important to their careers, as well as their perceived level of development in each area. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the responses that were critical to the SAE faculty in helping prioritize, sequence, and time ration course content. Collective results became the foundation for developing the SAE curriculum by the course's five faculty members. A well-done needs assessment does not necessarily guarantee course success; however, it is the first and critical step to planning an educationally sound faculty development course or program designed for adult learners.
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