The School of Medicine was founded, as a private not profit educational program on August 1978 with an opening class of 27 students in Monterrey, México. It’s original mission statement intended to educate highly talented medical doctors for national and international contexts. Currently, the Physician and Surgeon program has a total of 1079 graduates, with an extraordinary alumnus oriented to healthcare service around the world. A couple of decades later, in view of it’s success, Tecnológico de Monterrey decided to increase it’s class number from 30 to 150 in order to have a greater impact on healthcare leadership nationally and internationally. Even though these changes increased the possibilities to educate an increasing number of gifted students, it also reduced the close follow-up and intimate communication that used to endure on smaller initial groups. In November 2013, the School of Medicine of Tecnológico de Monterrey decided to become member of the Learning Communities Institute (LCI) as an initiative to improve follow-up and intimate communication with medical students by providing a much sought after mentorship service imbedded in academic societies. The LCI provided the School of Medicine with the fundamentals to plan, organize and implement innovative structures to develop this new Academic Societies Project.
The Learning Communities of the School of Medicine of Tecnológico de Monterrey are integrated by groups of students and teachers vertically and horizontally incorporated over 6 years of medical curriculum. The main objectives of are:
There are six Academic Societies at the School of Medicine of Tecnológico de Monterrey. They were named after the character and strengths classification established by Peterson and Seligman (2004). Character strength can be defined as positive trait reflected in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The official names were translated to Latin to evoke the underpinnings of medical tradition.
Each academic society has one leader followed by group of 15 mentors conformed by faculty members. Each Academic Society is responsible for 30 students per class. On August 2015, only the freshman students will join one of these six learning communities. The objective is to add a new class each year until the entire school enrollment has been included.
The following figure describes the leadership structure to support the Academic Societies. The Dean, the Vice dean and the associate coordinator of academic societies are highly commitment to integrate this education/life experience project for students and professors alike.
Each student on a learning community should attend at least two individual meetings per semester with his/her allocated mentor in order to keep track of both academic development and his/her personal interests. The mentor should document the advances of the student to channel his/her capacities and to prevent emotional or academic delays. There are a couple of mayor events per year where participants of all Academic Societies are invited. These gatherings are delegated by turns to one Academic Society per year.
One important task previous to the formal opening of this important project was the design of the graphical identity. At the beginning different animals were selected to recognize each group. Several options were discarded and some others were redesigned.
At the end the animals considered for each society are: horse (Transcendence), bear (Wisdom & Knowledge), bull (Temperance), lion (Courage), wolf (Humanity) and eagle (Justice). Each image has a distinctive color, which are: light blue, orange, green, red, purple and dark blue as presented on the next figure.
Finally, one logo with a claw shape integrates the colors that represent each society. The leader of the Academic Society has already used this image for general communication.