Academic personal development plan
The ADP can be used either individually, in a group setting, or within a mentoring dyad where trust has been established. Such a dyad could be either a traditional senior/junior partnership, or a co-mentoring relationship between peers. The process is applicable to faculty members at any stage of their career. By completing their own ADP, senior faculty members not only derive personal benefit but also prepare to facilitate the process for junior colleagues.
Outlined below is a description of each of the steps to be taken when formulating an ADP. It is important to keep a written record of each step because writing helps to clarify thinking, and serves as a record and memory aid. The ADP is a long term, evolving process that can be added to over time.
Step one—clarify your governing values
These are the deeply held values and standards that govern all aspects of your life and which act as guiding principles for choices, decisions, and behaviours. Some examples are truthfulness, enjoyment, responsibility for children, intellectual challenge, social justice, financial wellbeing, kindness, respect for diversity, freedom, and security. Typically, an individual's values are acquired through interaction with family, peers, and social systems. In our experience of working in medical schools, most faculty members have not taken the opportunity to articulate their own governing values.
Prepare a list of your governing values
This first critical step will build self awareness and an understanding of your values, which is fundamental to starting your ADP.
Write a list of what you value most. This first step may take a few hours. Try to find a period of uninterrupted time in a pleasant, non-work setting to do this. Try to avoid identifying what you think you should value, but concentrate instead on what's important to you. A person's values can be inferred from their behaviour, so if you are having trouble identifying your values, it may be helpful to think back to an important decision you have made and try to elucidate which values motivated you in the choices you made at that time.
Write a clarifying paragraph for each value.