Southwestern Academy of Teachers (SWAT)

The UT Southwestern Academy of Teachers (SWAT) is a group of elite UT Southwestern educators whose mission is to provide an academic and organizational environment that:

  • Fosters excellence in teaching at all levels (colleagues, fellows, students)
  • Rewards superb teachers
  • Stimulates innovation in education
  • Promotes scholarship in education

Comprised of leaders from all three schools at UT Southwestern (Medical School, Graduate School, School of Health Professions), the Academy provides a focus for the exchange of ideas and a platform for enhanced interactions among basic, clinical, and social scientists.

Cadre of Experts

SWAT members are nominated by department Chairs and Academy members, with membership based on sustained excellence in one or more areas: teaching; instructional development and curricular design; advising and mentoring; educational administration and leadership; and educational research.

The goal of the Academy is to develop a cadre of experts to serve as advisors and mentors to junior faculty.

Current members of the Academy offer expertise in:

  • Mentoring
  • Qualifying Examination and Dissertation Committee duties
  • Educational research grants and studies
  • Goals and learning objectives
  • Syllabus preparation and pruning
  • Item writing, review, and analysis
  • Course design and direction
  • Program direction in graduate school, residency, and continuing medical education
  • Case development for simulation and skills assessment

Leadership Activities

SWAT members promote faculty development and recognition by participating in several activities, including:

Educational Symposium

The Educational Symposium, new in 2011, is designed to improve the teaching skills of participating faculty and enhance students’ and residents’ clinical learning experience.

Effective Teacher Series

The Effective Teacher Series is a faculty development program for all faculty, fellows, and residents, both pre-clinical and clinical, that’s designed to enhance and improve teaching skills.

Organized by the Office of Medical Education, the program consists of 14 seminars on practical teaching skills, taught by faculty members who have a track record of success in the classroom or clinical setting. Each seminar combines didactic instruction with discussion.

Seminars are held twice a month throughout the academic year, from 12 noon through 1:00 p.m., in room D1.602 on the South Campus.

Innovations in Health Science Education

Academy members participate in the annual Innovations in Health Science Education conference sponsored by the six health science campuses within the University of Texas system.

Each meeting includes nationally recognized speakers together with local participants. Past conference themes have included communication, clinical translational research, physician competencies and professionalism, and simulation in health care education.

Medical School Teaching Awards

Awards for teaching in lectures and small groups in the first two years of medical school and in core clerkships are presented annually at the Excellence in Education award ceremony. (See the recipients of the highest honor, the Distinguished Educator Award.