By Christin Senior | March 25, 2024 1:56 pm
Course director Dr. Rechell Rodriguez (center) with program graduates (L-R) Drs. Shamol Williams, Diana Treu, Sowmya Suryanarayanan, Magdalena Pasarica, Patrice Frederick, Ariel Mejia, Emily Bradshaw, and Gerard DeCastro.

Eight medical faculty from UCF’s College of Medicine and the Orlando VA Medical Center recently completed the Stanford Faculty Development Program-Clinical Teacher Course, a program that aims to provide teaching improvement workshops for medical teachers involved in undergraduate and graduate medical education.

The course is led by Dr. Rechell Rodriguez, an internal medicine physician who joined the College of Medicine in 2023 as professor of medicine.  Dr. Rodriguez is a Master of the American College of Physicians who has served in various clinical settings, leadership roles and academic positions. 

“The overall goal of the course is to make the medical educator reflect on their current teaching methods and how to become more effective at teaching,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “It is really about getting faculty to push past their comfort zone to try new or different teaching skills and perspectives so it’s a true personal professional development kind of course.”

Developed by the Stanford Faculty Development Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the program was created to deliver teaching improvement courses to medical teachers nationally and internationally. The center used a train-the-trainer approach in which selected faculty participated in a one-month training course at Stanford,which equips them to then train faculty at their respective institutions. Dr. Rodriguez graduated from this program in 2010 and has since taught course to hundreds of medical faculty of undergraduate and graduate medical education programs in the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, University of California San Diego, Department of Veterans Health Affairs San Diego and now at UCF and the Orlando VA.

Open to anyone who teaches in healthcare professions, the course consists of six face-to-face sessions on topics such as learning climate,  communication of goals, promotion of understanding and retention, and evaluation and feedback.

The inaugural cohort included four UCF faculty Drs. Emily Bradshaw, Patrice Frederick, Ariel Mejia and Magdalena Pasarica, and four Orlando VA physician-faculty: Drs. Shamol Williams, Gerard DeCastro, Diana Treu and Sowmya Suryanarayanan.

“I really enjoyed the course,” said Dr. Bradshaw, associate professor of medicine at the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. “Dr. Rodriguez brought together a wonderful community of educators and helped us to recognize best practices and incorporate weekly goals in our teaching. As we transform the medical school curriculum, this learning experience will help me work more effectively with our medical students.” 

Dr. Rechell shared that course evaluations showed improvement in personal abilities after taking the course. Faculty said they learned new teaching skills and said they felt more confident in their ability to teach after practicing new skills.

“It was kind of neat to see faculty coming together and their diverse experiences,” Dr. Rodriguez added, “to be open and honest about their concerns, barriers or frustrations with teaching, or sometimes the joys they have in teaching.  I think the class really provided a great platform for them to engage each other and exchange their own unique stories and ideas.”

The next course will be offered starting April through May.  To learn more, contact Dr. Rechell Rodriguez at

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