By Wendy Sarubbi | November 16, 2015 10:25 am

UCF’s College of Medicine was a multiple award-winner at this year’s annual Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) meeting, gaining national recognition for its student advising program and the teaching excellence of one of its founding faculty members, Dr. Jonathan Kibble.

The AAMC named the College of Medicine Physician Advising and Support System (COMPASS) as the top program in the country for student advising. It honored Dr. Kibble, assistant dean for medical education and professor of physiology, with the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher award for being “a medical educator who inspires students to learn and whom teachers aspire to emulate.”

Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean, said she was “delighted and honored” the young medical school had received the awards from the organization that represents all accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada and nearly 400 teaching hospitals and health systems. “These national honors highlight our efforts to be this nation’s premier 21st century college of medicine,” she said. “They recognize our dedication to training tomorrow’s healthcare leaders.”

The AAMC made the awards during its 2015 “Learn Serve Lead” meeting November 6-10 in Baltimore.

Dr. Kibble was one of nine individuals and one teaching hospital honored for their outstanding contributions to academic medicine. The AAMC noted Dr. Kibble’s teaching experience from his first faculty position at the University of Sheffield Medical School, where he was hired to start a research laboratory in molecular physiology and also signed up to be a lecturer in anatomy and physiology. Today, he has taught more than 4,000 medical students across the world. Born in England, Dr. Kibble came to the UCF College of Medicine in 2008, a year before the charter class enrolled, and was extensively involved in creating the college’s innovative new curriculum. An innovator himself, Dr. Kibble has published a series of learning apps for medical students, including one based on his textbook, The Big Picture: Medical Physiology. A passionate advocate for integrative, active learning, he has received multiple teaching awards at UCF and other medical schools where he has taught.

Dr. Kibble said his passion for teaching was ignited because “learning is an inherently social thing and so in the beginning I just knew I loved to do it. I enjoyed teaching.” He has embraced technology as a tool to increase interactive learning because he says evidence shows it works. He said that while technology can help students retrieve information, medical teachers must continue training their students in the process of thinking, evaluating and problem-solving and having a “healthy skepticism” to discern reliable vs. unreliable data. He quotes his boss and mentor, Dr. Richard Peppler, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs, who often says, “the only constant in the world is change” and says medical educators must role model to students how to deal with that change. He said he is inspired each day by the “sustained enthusiasm” his colleagues show for teaching and learning.

Dr. Marcy Verduin, associate dean for students, accepted the AAMC award for the Office of Student Affairs’ COMPASS program. That initiative begins career counseling in the first year, informing and advising students on the steps they need to take to be ready for residency match. The program includes individual meetings with advisors, deans and academic counselors, a study schedule for board exams and a password protected website that identifies activities per month for each of the four years of med school to get students ready for their residency match. UCF students also participate in Match Check-up, individual meetings done five times over the course of the student’s education to chart their progress toward residency.

The program has received rave reviews from UCF students who say it makes sure they know where they stand and what they need to do to be competitive. The program provides multiple reviews of each student’s CV, a review of their plans for a specialty and whether their academic, extra-curricular and research experiences are consistent with their aspirations.

Dr. Verduin called the national award “spectacular,” noting that just two years ago Student Affairs was working to get the program developed and now it had achieved national recognition. “As a school we value transparency,” she said. “We really want to make sure students know what is expected of them. I am so honored that the hard work of so many people on the Student Affairs team is being recognized.”

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