Balancing the educational choices in the decision-making of a dean of medicine: Fission or fusion?
Background. The literature on deans of medicine focuses mostly on the qualifications, roles, abilities, management and leadership competence of the deans. The gap between theory and practice is, however, the nucleus of the position.
Objectives. To describe insights into the educational forces that act on a dean of medicine and the implications for those who wish to bring about change – in this case, changes in the inclusion of public health in the medical curriculum.
Methods. A series of in-depth interviews of a vice dean (VD) of medicine was conducted over a period of a year. The interviews were transcribed. Initial in-depth analysis of the transcriptions was done using open coding, prior to a second round of coding that resulted in themes.
Results. The interviews revealed a serendipitous aspect, namely the ontological realities of the VD’s practice. This practice is characterised by balancing multiple internal and external forces, such as the breadth and depth of the curriculum that acts on the medical curriculum.
Conclusion. The ontological realities of the VD bring to life the qualifications and leadership, and management competence, roles and abilities described in the literature. The multiple – often opposing – educational choices that deans face are an inescapable reality of deanship. Medical deans must balance these opposing forces to ensure fusion within the curriculum, and those interested in changes, such as strengthening the teaching of public health in this curriculum, need to plan on how to overcome this.
Copyright remains in the Author’s name. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License. Authors are required to complete and sign an Author Agreement form that outlines Author and Publisher rights and terms of publication. The Agreement form should be uploaded along with other submissions files and any submission will be considered incomplete without it [forthcoming].
Material submitted for publication in the AJHPE is accepted provided it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Please inform the editorial team if the main findings of your paper have been presented at a conference and published in abstract form, to avoid copyright infringement. The AJHPE does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors. The corresponding author should also indicate if the research forms part of a postgraduate short report, dissertation or thesis.
Previously published imagesIf an image/figure has been previously published, permission to reproduce or alter it must be obtained by the authors from the original publisher and the figure legend must give full credit to the original source. This credit should be accompanied by a letter indicating that permission to reproduce the image has been granted to the author/s. This letter should be uploaded as a supplementary file during submission.