Student Representation and Student Government

Student Membership on MD Program Committees

As key partners in education, medical students are an integral part of decision-making processes in the MD Program. As such, they should be represented as full voting members on almost every MD Program committee, with the exception of those that are focused primarily on student progress decisions or on administrative issues. For example, exceptions include the Executive Committee, the Academy Directors’ Committee, the MedSIS Steering Committee, and the Student Progress Committee. This policy does not preclude committees from holding in camera meetings without student representation in order to examine individual student records or other sensitive data. This policy also does not preclude committees from establishing ad hoc, task-oriented sub-committees or working groups that do not have student representation, although student inclusion should be encouraged.

For their part, all student committee members, whether elected or appointed to their position, are expected to recognize and actualize the representative nature of their roles. Hence, they are expected to solicit broad feedback from their peers on the topics before the committee, and to facilitate dissemination of committee discussion points and decisions to the student body. At the same time, student members should not view themselves, nor be viewed, purely as advocates for their fellow students. Rather, they are full members of the committees on which they serve and as such their responsibility – like the responsibility of every other member – is to assist in making sound recommendations and decisions for the improvement of the MD Program as a whole.

As much as possible, scheduling of committee meetings will avoid conflicting with scheduled class time and examinations, recognizing that this will sometimes be unavoidable especially in the case of Clerkship students and committees that do not have a long-standing, fixed position in the monthly schedule. In general, attendance at meetings should take priority over routine educational activity, provided that students notify any clinical or small- group teachers in advance, and arrange to make up any critical activities in a timely fashion. If such notification is provided, no student shall be penalized for attending a faculty committee of which they are a member or invited speaker.

 

MedSoc

The Medical Society, commonly known as MedSoc, is the representative body of medical students at the University of Toronto. Further information, including the Medical Society Constitution and Medical Society By-laws as well as information about medical student clubs and advocacy campaigns, is available on the MedSoc website.

 

Sharing Your Perspective

Outside of official student representative positions, there are many opportunities for all students to make their opinions known. The Faculty and MD Program leadership welcome the diversity of student viewpoints, and encourage students to be active in decision-making of the medical school through any of the following means:

Fireside Chats
Four to six times during the school year, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Trevor Young, hosts the Fireside Dinner with the Dean program – better known as ‘Fireside Chats’ – which provide a group of approximately 20 students with the opportunity to meet with the Dean, Vice Dean Medical Education, Dr. Patricia Houston, and one or two other senior members of the Faculty of Medicine in an informal setting. The Fireside Dinner with the Dean program is organized by two student representatives and the Vice Dean, Medical Education. The students are randomly selected for each ‘Chat’, and every student receives an invitation over the course of their undergraduate medical studies; hence, there is no application or sign-up process for the program. In addition to getting to know the Dean and the other faculty members, the students at each such event take the opportunity to discuss any issues of concern to them.

Town Hall Meetings
Town hall meetings for students may be organized by students and/or the MD Program leadership whenever issues of particular complexity or importance require broad discussion, consultation, and opportunities for questions to be asked.

Teacher and Course Evaluations
Students have the opportunity to evaluate virtually every learning activity in the MD Program, as well as every course as a whole. These evaluations are generally completed electronically on MedSIS and occasionally on paper. Evaluation data and comments from students are considered very carefully by course directors, and therefore students are strongly encouraged to provide feedback in this manner.

Feedback to Student Representatives
Every course and committee in the MD Program has one or more student representatives, with the exception of the three small, senior operational committees. While students are encouraged to approach program leaders directly with any concerns or ideas they may have, they can also relay their opinions via the appropriate student representatives. This communication may happen directly or through questionnaires or other approaches adopted by the student representatives.

Likewise, the student representatives are responsible for sharing updates from the committees on which they serve with their classmates.

Open-Door Approach
All of the members of the MD Program leadership are keen to hear feedback or discuss any issues of interest or concern with students. This includes the Vice Dean, Medical Education, the Associate Dean Health Professions Student Affairs, the Director, MD Admissions & Student Finances, the Academy Directors, the Foundations and Clerkship Directors, and the course directors and thematic faculty leads. Their contact information is available on the MD Program website: http://md.utoronto.ca/contact

You may wish to convey your thoughts in an e-mail or request an appointment with any of these individuals, depending on the nature of your feedback.

If you have a concern with a particular individual (e.g. a teacher), it is generally preferable to attempt to resolve the issue as close as possible to the source. However, if for whatever reason this is not possible or desirable, you are welcome to speak with the MD Program leader of your choosing.

If your concern is specifically related to an incident of student mistreatment or major unprofessionalism (regardless of who appears to be responsible for the incident), the program urges you to report the incident as soon as possible. The ‘student assistance’ section of the MD Program website (md.utoronto.ca/student-assistance) or and the Student Mistreatment Protocol can help you determine whom to contact and what will happen next.