On December 6, 2012, the University of Colorado medical
students, along with a group of deans and faculty mentors, launched an
ambitious new Advisory College Program (ACP). The ACP will promote student
wellness and academic and career success, with a focus on structured mentorship
of students and community-building activities. More than 300 students attended
the kick-off event at the Denver Zoo, providing students and faculty the
opportunity to connect and mingle with their colleges.
Building an ACP at the School of Medicine
The idea for an advisory college system took root more than
a year ago, following the Academy of Medical Educators’ Faculty
Development Seminar presented by Dr. Scott Rogers, Dean of Student Affairs
at Vanderbilt University. Students and faculty at the School of Medicine were
energized to build a similar advising and wellness program to address the needs
of CU students. A short year later, the School of Medicine introduced its own ACP.
Structure of the ACP
The ACP is a structured advising program that organizes all
medical students into “colleges” comprised of existing problem-based learning
groups. Each Advisory College is
by two faculty college mentors and two or three student advisors who are current
fourth-year medical students. College mentors and student advisors were
selected following a call for applications and have since attended several
The eight colleges are named after Colorado Fourteeners.
Survey Reveals Medical Students’ Perceptions and Needs
The ACP is designed to meet specific medical student needs
and gaps which were identified from a 2012 survey on advising, wellness, and
community. The survey found that:
Only 54 percent of medical students reported having an advisor (less than one-third of students in the preclinical years).
Only 16 percent of students reported being satisfied with the current advising system, which relied on clinical and research mentorship
65 percent of all students reported symptoms of burnout.
The percentage of students reporting symptoms of burnout
varied by class year.
First-year students: 50 percent
Second-year students: 85 percent
Third-year students: 76 percent
Fourth-year students: 56 percent
In the survey, students also reported a linearly decreasing
sense of loyalty to the School of Medicine as they progressed through their
education. In fact, 90 percent of first-year students reported a sense of
loyalty to the School of Medicine decreasing to 70 percent among fourth-year
More than 85 percent of students in every class reported
feeling supported and accepted by members of their own class. The vast majority
of first-year students (91 percent) and second-year students (80 percent)
reported feeling like they belong to a community at the School of Medicine. The
proportions were significantly lower among students in their clinical years (64
percent of third-year students and 68 percent of fourth-year students).
The ACP seeks to address these challenges by improving
student wellness, enhancing career advising and strengthening students’ ties to
each other, to faculty and to the School of Medicine.
For more information, contact the Office
of Student Affairs.