Educating for the Future


It’s not all about the students. Education and teaching are fulfilling and uplifting. Where else do we get the satisfaction of sharing what we know and seeing others carry it on? And sometimes we learn the most when we teach. There is something so remarkable about the fact that we do not have to live life only with the gifts that nature gives us, but that we can connect to the brains of others—over time and through verbal exchange, written exchange and demonstration—and amplify our own knowledge and that of others.

Even mistakes, which we all avoid but do sometimes make, provide a rich source of teaching and information. Information in itself is sterile and useless; it gains its power through the ways we connect it to experience and action. Through mistakes, we are led to deeper reflection, connection and understanding.

Of course, it is mostly about the students. We can provide outstanding clinical care. We can have a research program that is humming, but unless we educate and train the next generation to continue this work, our impact ends with what we have done. Here at the University of Minnesota Medical School, we train 70 percent of the physicians who practice in Minnesota. By passing on our experience, we are like good guests, leaving the world a little better than we found it.

As part of ensuring that our education programs are of the highest quality, we will be working over the next two years to implement our recently completed undergraduate medical education strategic plan to prepare for our reaccreditation with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). LCME is a key standard that assures our students, state and taxpayers that our medical education program meets or exceeds nationally accepted standards of quality (information at Everyone in the Medical School will be called upon to help prepare.

Education was the first mission of the Medical School when it was founded in 1888. Today we engage undergraduates in science and medicine, train medical students, produce PhDs in research, and enrich the experience of post-doctoral students, residents and fellows. We are all students, whether gray with experience or green with youth, and the Medical School serves us all.

Thank you,

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD
Dean of the Medical School, interim Vice President of the Health Sciences