Academic Leaders

Research & Scholarship

There is great scholarly opportunity in understanding how to support and develop academic leaders in the health sciences. The CFD has contributed to advancing our understanding with the following papers and posters.

How can chairs be supported in their leadership roles?

In this exploratory case-study, 21 chairs in a faculty of medicine were interviewed to identify their support and development needs. Our findings illuminated that they were initially often insufficiently prepared for the demands of their roles. Given the complexities and emotional burden of their role, their effectiveness can be enhanced by providing transitional processes and supports, development, and mentoring as well as facilitating the development of communities of peers.

Lieff S, Girard-Pearlman Banack J, Baker L, Martimianakis T, Verma S, Whiteside C, Reeves S. (2013). Understanding the needs of department chairs in academic medicine. Academic Medicine; 88:960–966.

What do medical education leaders actually do?

This research identified the domains of practice in which medical education leaders engage: intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational and system. The findings provide a useful conceptual framework for considering the capabilities that need to be developed to enhance these practices as well as the preferred learning methods of this community.

Lieff S, Albert M. (2012). What do we do? Practices and learning strategies of medical education leaders. Medical Teacher; 34:312-319.

What happens to the academic identity of participants in an education leadership program?

This case study examined the internal and external factors that contribute to academic identity development in participants in an education leadership program.

Lieff S, Baker L, Mori B, Chin K, Reeves S. (2012). Who am I? Key influences on the formation of academic identity within a faculty development program. Medical Teacher; 34: e208–e215.

What perspectives do medical education leaders bring to their understanding of organizational issues?

This article is the first study to look at medical education leaders’ perception of their work issues; a group that has not been studied in any systematic way. The findings affirmed that medical education leaders predominantly view organization issues through the human resource, symbolic and political lenses described by Bolman and Deal and to a lesser extent the structural lens.

Lieff S, Albert M. (2010). The mindsets of medical education leaders: how to do they conceive of their work? Academic Medicine; 85:57–62.

Engaging in meaningful work is what it is all about

Based on the paradigm of authentic leadership, this article proposed a unique and novel conceptual model for conceiving career direction based on identifying what is meaningful. It also distinguishes itself from other career planning literature by explicitly exploring the necessity of alignment with the academic context and advising how faculties can address these issues.

Lieff S(2009). The missing link in academic career planning and development: pursuit of meaningful and aligned work. Academic Medicine; 84:1383–1388.


Can a multisource feedback program help residency program directors in their development as leaders?

In collaboration of the office of Postgraduate Medical Education at the University of Toronto, we are looking at the looked at the feasibility and utility of a multisource feedback program. This poster provides information on our evaluation of the feasibility of implementation of a multisource feedback (MSF) instrument that we developed to provide residency program directors with comprehensive and constructive feedback on their leadership.

A longitudinal evaluation of the development and organizational outcomes of an Education Scholars Program

This project illuminated the impact of an education leaders program 2-4 years after participants had completed the program. It was exciting to note that not only was the impact on academic identity sustained but that participants were influencing their organizations through student advocacy, faculty development, promoting teaching standards and formal recognition and valuing of education.