Our medical school classes are divided into smaller co-horts that have community-established identities. Each community is made up of students from each of the four classes and is facilitated by a team of faculty and professionals.
Our learning communities take the form of five distinct societies with the following characteristics:
- 128 students per society
- ~32 students from each of the four classes
- Each society is divided into four smaller groups each lead by a clinical faculty member
- 7 Community Facilitators per Society
- 1 Lead Facilitator (well respected and experienced clinical faculty member and/or clinical department chair)
- 4 Clinical Faculty Members (from different departments)
- 1 Basic Science Faculty Member
- 1 Student Affairs Staff Member
- 3. Student Advisors
The purpose of the learning community model at Upstate is three-fold:
- 1. To build strong community and pride among students
- 2. To offer the very best advising and career development for students
- 3. To facilitate a culture of professionalism and wellness
Societies meet regularly throughout the academic year in both social and educational contexts. Three times each year there are full society meetings/gatherings that may blend social interaction with an educational message. In addition, there are be targeted, population specific sessions that serve to complement advising and career development and enhance comprehension of such things as professionalism, cultural competence and team work.
One of the things that leads to the success of learning communities is their identity. Such identities are tied to the roots of the institution. Students are encouraged to “own” the identity through a project or shared goal.