Aspire - Recognition of Excellence in Education

Education alongside Research as the Mission of a Medical, Dental and Veterinary School

The ASPIRE initiative: Excellence in student engagement in the school

Madalena Patricio

Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Received 21 June 2016, Accepted 09 July 2016




‘Student engagement in the school’ is offered as one dimension of the ASPIRE-to-Excellence initiative launched in 2012 by AMEE (International Association for Medical Education) to recognize/reward excellence in teaching.

For a school to be awarded in ‘student engagement’ there must be evidence that students contribute to the academic community, take an active role, are consulted, involved and participate in shaping the teaching-learning experience. Four spheres of ‘student engagement’ can be recognized as main criteria namely: school management, education program, academic community and local community.

So far fourteen schools were awarded. Looking at what makes ‘student engagement’ work we learned that ASPIRE is a global phenomenon with features common worldwide, not depending on school resources and not imposing a fixed model of excellence.

ASPIRE is there to prove that excellence in teaching can be assessed. It brought something new because although basic standards for medical education quality were already available the best practices relevant to the schools who wish to achieve excellence in teaching were only defined with ASPIRE in 2012.

ASPIRE is much more than to recognize and reward schools. Its ultimate goal is to have the schools achieving excellence in teaching, independently of having them applying to the award.


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