Evaluation of a Health Professions Teaching Academy Through the Lens of Social Capital

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Article, Peer-reviewed

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Introduction: Academies of health professions educators can amplify members' social capital, promoting educational innovation and organizational change. However, research in this area is limited. This article attempts to close the gap in literature with the results of a program evaluation of our interprofessional teaching academy through the lens of social capital and organizational culture.

Methods: A program evaluation using a cross-sectional survey was conducted with all members of the Baystate Education Research and Scholarship of Teaching (BERST) Academy. The survey drew on a conceptual framework from previous literature on social capital, communities of practice, and faculty development evaluation. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and analysis of variance.

Results: Overall survey response rate was 54%. More than 90% of respondents have applied the skills learned through BERST Academy into their practice. Social capital was defined with five items (Cronbach alpha = 0.87), and we found no significant difference between profession and social capital, suggesting that perceptions of social capital did not significantly differ by membership in a specific profession.

Discussion: Our results showed that BERST Academy members were able to cultivate social capital through high-quality connections. An academy can serve as a unique culture within an institution to foster collaborative relationships that increase social capital, for members of different professions. In addition, an academy can also provide members with a community that benefits them in the greater organizational culture.