Faculty Development

Educating Character in Medicine

Kern National Network | Faculty DevelopmentCharacter development is an important, well-established initiative in many K-12 school programs; however, its emphasis in adult learning environments is less common. Medical school curricula have variable efforts devoted to instruction on “soft skills” such as communication skills, providing feedback, and enhancing teamwork, as well as professionalism and ethics, but offer little in character education. Likewise, faculty development programs are not focused on character education, despite recognition of the influence of faculty role models in students’ professional identity formation (Peterson 2004).

Recognizing the importance of character education in medicine, the Kern National Network for Flourishing in Medicine (KNN) has developed a cross-institutional, longitudinal faculty development pilot program. The program, "Mobilizing Character," is designed to equip medical educators with skills in character education who will in turn be equipped to provide character education to students.

The goals of this program include:

  1. Building a community of educators focused on character in medical education.
  2. Strengthening faculty competence in character education.

Peterson, C.a.S., MEP, Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. A.P. Association. 2004, Washington, DC: Oxford University Press.


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"Finding Inspiration: Character Exemplars" Essay Contest

As part of the Educating Character in Medicine project, medical students at three schools—Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health—were invited to participate in a character essay contest, "Finding Inspiration: Character Exemplars."

This contest prompted students to reflect on the definition of character and a character exemplar who has influenced them; each participating school selected a winner.

Contest Winners

Julianna Khoury

Dell Medical School
Read Essay >

Monica Gobrial

Medical College of Wisconsin
Read Essay >

Hannah Sherfinski

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Read Essay >


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