Aspire - Recognition of Excellence in Education

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

ASPIRE to excellence: A novel approach toward benchmarking excellence in medical schools

Dan Hunta,, , Ronald M. Hardenb

a Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC, United States

b Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) General Secretary, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom

Received 30 June 2016, Accepted 20 July 2016



Aspiring to excellence in medical education is a worthy theme for this special issue because in medical schools large and small, new and long-established, the work to improve continues day by day, but there are limited opportunities to document and celebrate excellence. Rankings based on research productivity do not reward excellence in medical education.

ASPIRE to Excellence, begun in 2012, brings experts in different subjects from around the world together to write standards of excellence in specific topics. Student assessment, student engagement, social accountability, faculty development, and simulation have benchmarks of excellence that schools can compare themselves to and submit evidence of their accomplishments. International panels review these documents and determine if the school merits an ASPIRE recognition award. As of August 2016, 71 schools have submitted documentation and 28 have been awarded ASPIRE recognition. This paper discusses the challenges and opportunities of using accreditation like standards written specifically for excellence to identify schools that can serve as benchmarks and role models for others.

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