white coat

Career Resources: College of Medicine

We see academic advising and career development not as distinct endeavors, but rather as points on a continuum. As such, in 2014, we began our learning communities program in which each of our classes are divided into smaller cohorts that have community-established identities. Named after our regions Finger Lakes, 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:

  • 130 students per society (32 per class)

  • Chair (clinical department head) and Co-chair (clinician)

  • Eight clinical faculty members

  • Two basic science faculty members

The purpose of the learning community model at Upstate is three-fold: to build strong community and pride among students; to offer the very best advising and career development for students; and, to facilitate a culture of professionalism and wellness.

Communities 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 targeted, class specific sessions that serve to complement advising and career development and enhance comprehension of such things as professionalism, cultural competence and team work. Such meetings also focus on things like summer opportunities, what to expect in year two and year three, review of CVs and personal statements, ERAS and the Match, interview preparation and Rank Order Lists.

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.

This strategy of advising and career development provides opportunities for students to have interactions with several types of individuals who have no direct influence on their assessment or advancement decisions, including clinical advisors, basic science advisors and student advisors. Students are able to connect to the advisors with whom they feel most comfortable. Advisors in each Learning Community represent various disciplines.