Needs Assessment for an American College of Surgeons Certificate in Applied Surgical Education Leadership (CASEL)

Hilary Sanfey, Kimberly Schenarts, David A. Rogers, Alisa Nagler, Patrice Gabler Blair, Susan Newman, Ajit K. Sachdeva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Surgeon educators in departments of surgery play key roles in leading and advancing surgical education. Their activities include ensuring sound curricula and evaluation systems, monitoring education resources, overseeing faculty development, and providing mentorship. For more than 25 years, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) has offered a comprehensive “Surgeons as Educators” (SAE) course to address fundamental topics in surgical education. This study aims to identify future career needs of SAE graduates to inform the development of an American College of Surgeons Certificate in Applied Surgical Education Leadership program. DESIGN: An IRB exempt, anonymous electronic survey was developed to determine educational roles, career aspirations, and needs of SAE Graduates. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Participants included all 763 1993-2016 SAE graduates. RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-five responses were received from 600 (22.5%) graduates with valid email addresses. Sixty (45%) respondents completed the SAE Course > 5 years prior to the study (M5YRS) and 75 (55%) within the last 5 years (L5YRS). L5YRS respondents were less likely to be full professors (8% vs. 44%) or to serve as program directors (32% vs. 57%), and more likely to be associate program directors (25% vs. 17%) or clerkship directors (40% vs. 18%). High percentages of both L5YRS and M5YRS reported not pursuing additional educational opportunities post-SAE due to time and fiscal constraints. One-fifth of respondents were unaware of additional opportunities and 19% of M5YRS versus 6% of L5YRS stated that existing programs did not meet their needs. Overall improving skills as educational leaders, developing faculty development programs, and conducting educational research were noted as priorities for future development. Differences were observed between the L5YRS and M5YRS groups. The dominant preferences for course format were full-time face-to-face (41%) or a combination of full-time face-to-face with online modules (24%). The most important considerations in deciding to pursue a certificate course were course content, and interest in advancing career and time constraints. CONCLUSIONS: An SAE graduate survey has confirmed the need for additional formal training in surgical education leadership in order to permit surgeon educators meet the demands of the changing landscape of surgical education. The needs of early career faculty may differ from those of more senior surgeon educators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e112-e119
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Leadership
  • Needs assessment
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • Surgical Education
  • Systems-Based Practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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