Teaching Distinction Track

Interested in the Teaching Distinction Track?

Contact the Track Co-Directors:
Carrie Bernat, carrie-bernat@uiowa.edu, MA, MSW
Billie Ruden, billie-ruden@uiowa.edu, MAed, MME


The purpose of the Carver College of Medicine Teaching Distinction Track is to prepare and equip Carver College of Medicine students to be effective educators.


  • To prepare students to be productive educators at an academic medical center
  • To prepare our students for involvement and contribution to academic medicine
  • To prepare our students to be effective educators at the community and individual level


In collaboration with a mentor, students develop a learning contract that meets all Teaching Distinction Track (TDT) requirements. The learning contract is to be submitted for approval to the TDT Steering Committee by Dec 1st of your M2 year; dual degree students have a one year extension. The learning contract should be student-initiated and focused on the professional goals of the student (e.g. faculty appointment, community outreach, etc.).

Students must submit an updated learning contract that demonstrates satisfactory progress to the Committee and their mentor by the end of their M3 year in order to continue the track. Significant changes to approved learning contracts should be documented and submitted to the TDT Directors for re-approval.

  1. Successfully complete 60 hours of relevant teaching experience, with no more than 20 hours in a single type of activity.
  2. Participate in planning and review of the medical curriculum by serving on a standing CCOM education committee or a course/clerkship liaison committee (maximum credit for two – one preclinical and one clinical).
  3. Successfully complete the four-week elective Teaching Skills for Medical Students (MED:8403) offered through the Office of Consultation and Research in Medical Education. Students are encouraged to complete the Teaching Elective in Regional Anatomy (ACB:8402), but this is optional.
  4. Develop a substantive curriculum project that can be used for future as well as current teaching activities. Projects should include an informal needs assessment, project plan/outline, and any "products" that come from the project.  Evaluation of the project and plans for next steps should also be included.
  5. Obtain evaluation data for at least three teaching activities from either direct observation by mentor (or other faculty member/professional staff) or learner feedback or both.
  6. Assemble a portfolio and submit it following the instructions on the TDT ICON site.
  7. Present portfolio highlighting teaching experiences to the Steering Committee, other TDT students, mentors, and invited guests attending the Portfolio Presentation for graduating students.
  8. Must not be enrolled in more than one other distinction track.

Program Benefits for Participants

  • Enhanced teaching skills in large and small groups or one-on-one instruction
  • Experience developing educational materials
  • Experience with curriculum planning and improvement
  • Preparation for teaching role as a resident
  • Accomplishment documented in the Medical Student Performance Evaluation