Building an Intellectual Community

Participating Faculties: Education (Host), Health Sciences, and Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Project Leaders: Allan Pitman and Anne Kinsella

Total Project Funding:  $91,400

Funding Period: 3 years

The aim of this interdisciplinary initiative is to foster an intellectual community and interdisciplinary network for the scholarship of professional education. The initiative adds value by creating opportunities for researchers and graduate students across fields to interact and exchange knowledge. The project aims to:

  • (a) break down silos by creating opportunities to interact across disciplines,
  • (b) identify scholars and graduate students in the field through the development of a virtual network and community of practice, and
  • (c) build capacity for researchers and graduate students to advance knowledge and contribute to the scholarship of professional education.

A partnership between the Faculties of Education, the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and The Faculty of Health Sciences is proposed, with the potential involvement of other faculties over time. This proposal complements the work of various groups at Western, such as the Continuing Teacher Education Program, the Office of Interprofessional Health Education and Research, The Group for the Advancement and Advocacy of Medical and Dental Education Scholarship, The Centre for Education in Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, The Clinical Education Advisory Group, and graduate programs in The Faculty of Education and in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (Health Professional Education Field) among others.

This initiative enhances the capacity of Western researchers to network and come to better understand the scholarship underway in each area, which is the first step in developing the capacity for interdisciplinary research. The project aims to develop a location for reflective scholarship about professional education that informs the practical work of professional education more broadly. This initiative stimulates capacity for theory building that informs educational practices within professional programs at Western and within the local community, and for significant scholarly contributions at national and international levels.

Focused professional education development and research programs across the university provide an excellent context within which the implications for professional education at the pre-licensure, post-licensure and continuing education stages can be articulated and explored. The partnership aims to maximize access to existing expertise within the university community in order to strengthen the efforts of the individual contributing programs to deal with common and unique questions that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. This project contributes to “the best student experience” by improving opportunities for interdisciplinary graduate education, through access to interdisciplinary scholars and a growing intellectual community in the area of professional education. In addition, this initiative supports the development of interdisciplinary faculty and graduate student research networks.