Purpose The rationale, structure, and elements of a teaching certificate program for second-year pharmacy residents are described.
Summary Evidence suggests that postgraduate year 2 (PGY2) pharmacy residents generally have limited options for the continued development of their teaching skills after the completion of a postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) teaching certificate program. To expand those options, the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy developed a program (implemented during the 2005–06 residency year and formalized during the 2010–11 residency year) of advanced teaching-skills development that allows PGY2 residents to build on the foundational skills acquired in its PGY1 teaching certificate program; the new program also has been adapted to meet the needs of incoming PGY2 residents who earned PGY1-level teaching certificates at other institutions. The teaching certificate program comprises eight modules of instruction in advanced topic areas (e.g., course coordination, grading, active learning, teaching with technology) designed to prepare PGY2 residents for future faculty and preceptor positions. Among other required and optional activities, residents in the PGY2 certificate program receive hands-on instruction in course-coordination duties through a shadowing experience, serve as preceptors to fourth-year pharmacy students under the guidance of the residency director, and redeliver refined versions of lectures originally presented as PGY1 residents.
Conclusion A teaching certificate program specifically designed for PGY2 residents has allowed participants to continue to develop and refine their teaching skills through learning activities beyond those provided in the PGY1 program.
For over seven years, the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy has offered a teaching certificate program as part of its postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) residency to help build residents’ teaching skills. The program’s structure and many of its features are similar to those of other PGY1 teaching certificate programs nationwide.1–4
To earn the certificate, PGY1 residents are required to participate in core teaching-development workshops on six topics (designing objectives, writing test questions, using rubrics, preparing slides, designing active learning activities, and delivering feedback) during the fall semester. In the spring semester, residents must complete a one-month teaching rotation with five requirements: preparation and delivery of two live lectures to physician associate students enrolled in a pharmacotherapy course at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center (OUHSC), grading of students and delivery of feedback in pharmacy practice laboratories, facilitation of small-group active learning sessions, reading of selected teaching-related literature, and development of a teaching philosophy and teaching portfolio.
Approximately 25 PGY1 residents (2–6 residents per year) have completed the teaching certificate program, which has been adapted for use in training community pharmacy residents.
Rationale for a postgraduate year 2 certificate program
As the PGY1 residency program matured, we were confronted with the challenge of finding ways to provide meaningful teaching instruction to residents who remain at OUHSC for a postgraduate year 2 (PGY2) residency and earned a teaching certificate during their PGY1 residency. Every year, one or two (about half) of the PGY1 residents remain at OUHSC for a second year of residency training.
A review of the literature revealed that many institutions do not distinguish between PGY1 and PGY2 residents with regard to teaching certificate programs; it appears that for most pharmacy residents who complete a teaching certificate program during their first year of training, there are few options for the continued development of teaching skills as second-year residents other than simply repeating the PGY1 certificate program.5 Given that residency graduates planning to pursue an academic career need to possess substantial entry-level teaching skills—and that it takes years to become a proficient educator— we became convinced that PGY2 residents should be provided with a teaching certificate program specifically designed to meet their needs.6 To that end, we developed a program to enable PGY2 residents to expand their repertoire of teaching abilities by exploring more advanced topics such as course coordination, grading, active learning, and teaching with technology. Implemented in 2005–06, refined over several years, and formalized for the 2010–11 residency year, the new program also requires PGY2 residents to revise and redeliver lectures they developed and presented as PGY1 residents, which can be a very effective method of teaching skills development.
Program structure and components
The program is offered only to PGY2 residents who have completed a PGY1 teaching certificate program at OUHSC. Residents who matriculate into the PGY2 residency program from other institutions without having completed a PGY1 teaching certificate program are automatically enrolled in the PGY1 teaching certificate program; PGY2 residents who have earned a teaching certificate in an external PGY1 residency are offered a hybrid program of foundation skills development and advanced training.
The PGY2 teaching certificate program comprises eight modules (Table 1) and differs from the PGY1 program in several important ways. First, PGY2 residents receive instruction in course-coordination tasks (e.g., syllabus development, grading-database management) by shadowing a faculty coordinator who teaches a course in the resident’s chosen area of specialization; that allows the residents to both observe and actively participate in the classroom management process. Among other benefits of this approach, department chairs have reported that graduating OUHSC residents who transition into OUHSC faculty positions are able to manage course-coordination duties earlier than newly hired faculty members without such experience.
A second aspect of the PGY2 teaching certificate program designed to augment the PGY1 certificate program in a meaningful way relates to preceptorship. In the latter months of the program, PGY2 residents are encouraged to serve as the preceptors of record for fourth-year college of pharmacy students. In that role, they are asked to develop a syllabus, rotation activities, and assessments and to provide feedback to students under the supervision of the residency director. Although PGY2 trainees may have participated in rotation activities during the current residency year (or the PGY1 year), this preceptorship strategy provides an opportunity for residents to assume more responsibility for training students while still receiving mentoring and guidance from the residency director. We have found this to be effective in preparing PGY2 residents for future faculty roles.
Lecturing and peer evaluation
Teaching in the classroom is a key component of both the PGY1 and PGY2 teaching certificate programs. PGY2 residents who completed the PGY1 teaching certificate program at OUHSC are required to redeliver one of their PGY1 lectures after refining their lecture materials in response to student and mentor feedback on the first delivery, allowing them to build on areas of strength and improve areas of weakness. The opportunity to repeat a lecture can show second-year residents that redelivering a lecture can be less time-consuming since the lecture material may only require minor updating and editing in comparison to the original lecture development. In addition, PGY2 residents develop and deliver a lecture on a topic in their specialty area, as opposed to one of the general topics typically covered in PGY1 resident lectures.
Moreover, by participating in the PGY2 teaching certificate program, residents can also serve a greater role in the peer evaluation of PGY1 residents’ lecture delivery, which can help them improve their own skills by becoming more aware of the elements of effective teaching; it can also make them more appreciative of the benefits of discussing teaching challenges and the importance of documenting and monitoring the improvement of teaching skills over time.6
In a number of ways, a PGY2-level teaching certificate program substantially augments PGY1-level training, especially for residents interested in pursuing a faculty or preceptor position. The PGY2 teaching certificate program at OUHSC builds on the foundational skills developed during the first year of residency, with the individual resident’s goals for teaching skill advancement serving as the main focus. Perhaps most important, it helps to impress on PGY2 residents that teaching is both an art and a science requiring a skill set that cannot be acquired in a year but only through constant refinement and ongoing development.
A teaching certificate program specifically designed for PGY2 residents has allowed participants to continue to develop and refine their teaching skills through learning activities beyond those provided in the PGY1 program.
The authors have declared no potential conflicts of interest.