[Skip to Navigation]
August 1990

II. The Division Chief as a Teacher of Adults

Author Affiliations

Askhel Smith Professor, Department of Pediatrics, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(8):891-893. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150320055026

The division director occupies both a pivotal and a privileged position in the scheme of medical education; pivotal, in that he or she has direct, often one-to-one, contact with students, residents, and fellows. Modeling is strong and privileged in that the division director has a unique and specific body of knowledge and a clear mandate to transmit it to all students. Do we give our students full measure? They are intellectually top-quality members of our society. They give us major segments of their life. Do we give them enough in return?

In 1931, Alfred North Whitehead1 pointed out that "Education is the process of transmitting what is known only when the life span of major knowledge is greater than the life span of individuals. In that situation, what students learn in their youth remains valid and useful for the rest of their lives." North also observed that we in