Membership Application Process

Becoming a member of the Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators signals your

  • Excellence as a medical educator at VP&S
  • Experience or interest in educational research and scholarship
  • Willingness to actively participate in the life of the Academy and the community of educators at VP&S

Selection to the Academy is competitive and criterion based. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of senior Apgar Academy members. Applicants must have been on the VP&S faculty for at least five years and must demonstrate:

  • Excellence in at least 2 areas of medical education, as outlined in attached criteria
  • Commitment to active participation in the Academy, as outlined in “responsibilities of members”

Frequently Asked Questions

We are delighted that you are considering applying to the Virginia Apgar Academy. Here are answers to some FAQs about this process:

What is the Academy looking for in my application to the Virginia Apgar Academy?

We are looking for excellent educators and scholars. Being an excellent educator involves having substantial experience as an educator, performing in an exceptional way as an educator, and being engaged in one’s educational community. Being an educational scholar means being involved in efforts to evaluate the outcomes of one's educational interventions and to transmit one's knowledge by presenting or publishing on teaching practice or research. Here’s what we mean by each of those dimensions:


  • Experience as an educator – Prowess as an educator requires practice. You should provide evidence that you have been involved in a substantial way as a teacher, mentor, advisor, and/or educational administrator for at least the past five years. “Substantial” means that
    • you have done more teaching/mentoring/advising than your minimum requirement
    • you seek out opportunities to teach/mentor/advise
  • Excellence as an educator and educational scholar – This indicates that the educator has done excellent work in education as judged by students, peers, and often, by the field. You should have evidence of having done excellent work for at least the past five years in two of the following areas:
    • Direct teaching
    • Instructional development/curricular design
    • Advising and mentorship
    • Educational administration and leadership
    • Educational research and scholarship

You can refer to our matrix for specific milestones that aid in demonstrating excellence in each of these areas.

  • Engagement as an educator refers to the way in which an educator learns from and contributes to his/her community of fellow educators. This could be a local community (e.g. one’s fellow teachers in a course, or other educators in one’s department), or it could be a larger community (e.g. a group of medical schools, or a national organization of medical educators). Educators can engage in their communities in many roles: as attendees at meetings; as participants in courses and workshops; as presenters and speakers; as authors; as leaders; and as educational researchers. Engagement with the community involves not only participation in these activities, but evidence that the educator has used these experiences to enhance his/her own educational activities. We are looking for members of the VP&S faculty who, in addition to their excellence as educators, have been engaged in a community of educators, and are enthusiastic about participating in the Virginia Apgar Academy by helping to educate fellow faculty members as well as themselves.

Who can apply?

Any VP&S faculty member can apply as long as they has been involved in educational activities as a faculty member at VP&S for five years. Faculty members at all academic levels (assistant, associate, full professor) may apply. As indicated above, faculty members who have a more senior academic rank will be expected to have held positions of more responsibility and to have engaged with a broader community. Both salaried and non-salaried faculty may apply.

Where should I get the “evidence of excellence” data?

If you are teaching medical students or residents, someone in your department has evaluative data on your teaching. If you teach medical students, ask the head of medical student education in your department; if you teach residents, ask your program director. Not everyone will be able to obtain numerical data, but if it is available please include it for the last five years. If there are norms or averages for your department, please include those as well.

What does it mean to be a member of the Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators?

Being an Apgar Academy member signals to the community that you have distinguished yourself as an outstanding educator. Apgar members have an opportunity to work together to continue to grow as educators and to engage with the entire VP&S educational community. The Apgar Academy hosts salons and presentations on medical education topics. All Apgar members and their guests are welcome at these presentations.  Because interprofessional education has become a critical element of medical education and practice, Apgar members have opportunities to extend their teaching beyond the medical school to the entire health sciences campus through the CUIMC Columbia Commons IPE.

The Apgar Academy partnered with the Center for Evaluation and Research in Education and with teh CUIMC's Faculty Affairs Office to host the AAMC's Medical Education Research Certificate (MERC) on the CUIMC campus in 2019.  Twety-five VP&S faculty were selected to participate in this nationally recognized introductory training in the theory and practice of medical education research and scholarship. This training has contributed to the bank of Apgar Academy mentors for new members and will continue as works-in-progress sessions open to Apgar members interested in developing their knowledge and experience in medical education research. In the future, The Apgar Academy will sponsor training courses in topics salient to teaching and practice, such as philosophical inquiry in medical education and practice.

In addition to the Salons and works-in-progress session, the Apgar Academy sponsors an annual Welcome Reception for inducting new members each spring. The Academy hosts the Thomas Q. Morris Endowed Lecture in Medical Education as a CUIMC-wide Symposium in the spring.

Here are additional ways in which Apgar members can contribute to our community:

  • Serving on the Applicant Selection Committee
  • Serving on the Apgar Education Research Grants Selection Committee
  • Serving as a mentor to junior clinician educators
  • Organizing an Apgar Salon with your chosen guest
  • Sharing your expertise by consulting for CUIMC educators on questions of course development, pedagogy, assessment, evaluation, or report and publication.
  • Contributing to Apgar Academy interest groups, for example, the emerging interest group for Residency Program Directors

Application Materials and Instructions

This application is very much like a promotions packet. The major feature is your CV, with some added elements. Although it will take some time to complete, we do not think that this will be onerous. In fact, our hope is that completing this application will help you to consolidate your ideas about your career as a medical educator, and to think about goals for the future. This application consists of the following components:

  • A one page summary statement, which should guide your reviewers through your application materials, highlighting your excellence, experience, and evidence of engagement in at least two of these areas of medical education: 
    • Direct teaching
    • Instructional development and curricular design
    • Advising and mentoring
    • Educational administration and leadership
    • Educational research and scholarship
        Please use this statement to highlight your strengths and unique contributions.
        Please include something about your future goals as an educator.​ 
  • A one page statement about the ways in which you would like to contribute to the Academy (see above)
  • An “enhanced” CV. This is now the Columbia-wide CV format. This format allows you to detail your educational accomplishments in a more comprehensive way than might be possible using a conventional CV. Note that hitting “return” at the end of each line of the tables will add another line.
  • One letter of nomination from your chair, program director, or the person who you think can best describe your excellence and accomplishments as a medical educator
  • Supporting documents – evidence of excellence – this is a 1-2 page summary of the evidence of the quality of your work. We would like you to highlight recent work if possible. This can include quantitative information, if available, and can include selected narratives from colleagues and trainees. Please do not include individual notes or e-mails from students, although you may choose to include highlights from these in this document.

Deadline for applications is January 29, 2021; please view the downloadable documents listed below. Please be sure to first each PDF before editing. For word versions, or to submit your application, please complete the application as a 12 pt, single-spaced document with 1-inch margins and submit as a PDF to Renée (Saindon) Russas at

What if I still have questions?

Feel free to call or e-mail Renée (Saindon) Russas, Apgar Academy Administrator with any questions you have about completing any part of this application.