Saint Louis University Menu Search

Survey Analysis by the SOM Faculty Assembly Executive Committee



Purpose: To collect questions and comments from the faculty regarding the Dean’s announcement to transition the SOM to an Institute Model. The responses are intended to 1) inform the transition and 2) provide the Dean with an opportunity to respond to the faculty’s comments and questions in a coordinated and efficient manner.

Summary: In total 227 number of faculty responded to the survey. There were 598 discrete questions and 420 unrelated comments.


  • The Executive Committee of the Faculty Assembly (ECFA) analyzed the data using an unbiased machine-learning/modeling (latent dirichlet allocation) approach along with manual review.
  • The modeling identified 10 topic-specific themes, including but not limited to: residency training, graduate programs, research/basic science, faculty recruitment, promotion, clinical care, etc.
  • Within each of these 10 topics, the machine-learning algorithm identified 10 top questions.
  • Members of the ECFA then manually reviewed these 10 top questions within each topic.
  • Representative questions from these 10 topics were selected by members of the ECFA and are presented below.
  • The raw data was provided to the Dean on 08-30-2017.

Representative Questions Selected by the Faculty Assembly 

 Teaching Questions 

  1. How will this model directly affect the residency programs, which rely on the department model?
  2. Exactly how will the traditional LCME clinical clerkships across 6 departments be conducted in an Institute model that does not preserve the department structure?
  3. How do we assure competitive compensation for teaching [and research] in an RVU driven model within primarily clinically determined Institute[s]?
  4. How will an Institute model accommodate graduate PhD and MD/PhD programs currently run as a Core Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences?
  5. What are the [specific and quantifiable] benefits of Institute model on teaching/education of medical students, residents, and fellows?
  6. How will a reorganization to an Institute model affect resident and medical student rotations?
  7. How will letters of recommendation be assigned and titled if there is no longer a department? 

General Questions

  1. What evidence exists that the proposed transformation to an Institute model is an effective intervention to address the root cause or root causes of the SOM’s problems? 
  2. What is the root cause or causes of the current problems in the School of Medicine? 
  3. What metrics will be measured to demonstrate success in an Institute model? 
  4. If a department becomes part of a larger Institute, how could we ensure that the person running the Institute will have any expertise in recruiting faculty outside their area of expertise?
  5. How will the Institute market the institute model, making it attractive over a traditional model?
  6. How will an Institute director manage, develop a vision, and recruit to a specific specialty that they do not know?
  7. Why would a promising young faculty member want to pursue this model, which may leave them without an opportunity to rise through the ranks and become a division director as other universities, could offer?
  8. What is the evidence that a complete redistribution to Institute will improve care for all patients beyond those in well defined multi-disciplinary clinics that exits at academic practices already?
  9. For clinicians whose practice encompasses overlapping Institutes, what determines the location of these divisions and will clinicians have input into this process?
  10. How will the SSM bylaws requiring department division directors and division meetings fit within the Institute model? 

Research Related Questions 

  1. How does the Institute model reduce internal barriers such the conservative approach of general counsel, internal regulatory committee, IRB, IBC, and IACUC and finances to the development and expansion of basic, translational, and clinical research?
  2. What are the potential negative effects of diluting the basic research across 12 Institutes?
  3. How will there be any fewer silos, from a research perspective, with the division of the faculty in similarly siloed Institutes? 

Resource Questions

  1. Who would control the flow of those resources [clinical trial revenue] in the Institute model to be sure the bulk of that money can be used to support the educational efforts by the faculty responsible for bringing those funds into the University?
  2. How will salaries be addressed if physicians are split into different areas?
  3. How will the Institute model respect [preserve] the endowed chairs [and endowed funds] present in the departments? 

Possible Unintended consequences

  1. With such a huge endeavor and risk with this model, there is a chance that some faculty will leave. What are the ways to mitigate this unintended consequence, or is there a back up plan?