In mid-August, FAIMER welcomed to Philadelphia the Directors and key faculty members from all five of FAIMER’s Regional Institutes in Brazil, India, and Southern Africa. Twenty-three representatives from the Regional Institutes joined eight FAIMER staff and consultants to convene the first ever “DAFFRI” workshop: an intensive five-day program designed to create opportunities for all participants to develop mutual understanding of the common values and needs of FAIMER Regional Institutes, contribute to crafting a shared vision and strategy for future development and sustainability, enhance their knowledge and skills as educators, and build an active, supportive global network of FAIMER Regional Institute stakeholders.
The program, entitled “Strengthening and Sustaining Regional Institutes: Vibrant Communities for Education and Health,” combined an “Appreciative Inquiry” planning process facilitated by FAIMER Institute Co-Director Page Morahan with knowledge building sessions on adult learning theory led by Bill Burdick, FAIMER Institute Co-Director and Associate Vice President for Education. Both were accompanied in presenting by Stewart Mennin, a health professions education consultant who has also served as an international faculty member at FAIMER Regional Institutes in India and Brazil.
A high-point of the program was a lively “Interactive Presence” workshop in which stage actor and arts educator Mary Beth Scallen guided participants in a series of exercises that raised their awareness of their own behaviors in the classroom and encouraged them to consciously use their own behaviors as teaching tools. This was followed by opportunities for all to practice interactive teaching techniques in presentation and feedback sessions.
Participants are now following up on action plans generated by “concept teams” in the workshop. The action plans address priority areas such as program development, faculty development, sustainability, standard operating procedures, and evaluation.
(posted September 24, 2007, updated September 28, 2007)