The purpose of the study is to examine the faculty’s suggestions on how to improve communication at five schools in an academic medical center. The University of Mississippi Medical Center facilitated the administration of the Faculty Forward Engagement Survey by the Association of American Medical Colleges to faculty in the schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, and health related professions. This survey included open-ended questions with narrative responses. On these responses to one question about communication, the authors performed the constant comparative method of grounded theory design, a foundational form of qualitative inquiry. In reviewing and coding the 201 responses, we identified recurring concepts, developed and confirmed codes, then discussed and condensed three major themes. The responses suggesting improvement in communication fell into three categories: 1. Access (to institutional leadership, dean, chair, and faculty peers); 2. Characteristics (quantity, quality, and content of communication); 3. Transparency (the “why” and “how” of decision-making, and doing what you say you will do). Because we found through the literature review that communication with and among faculty is a significant determinant of faculty satisfaction and retention, these three categories inform short-term decision making and communication improvements, but also define the area for future investigation.


Qualitative, Faculty Forward, Communication

Author Bio(s)

Brian L. Rutledge, Ph.D., is Chief of Staff and Assistant Professor of Health Sciences, with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: brutledge@umc.edu.

Jessica H. Bailey, Ph.D. is Dean of the School of Health Related Professions, and Professor of Health Sciences with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: jhbailey@umc.edu.

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