CR Role in the Spotlight: Flexible and Enhanced Learning (FLEX) Content Area Faculty Lead (CAFL)*

FLEX has been successful as a new, innovative course in the renewed MD undergraduate program (MDUP) offering students a unique opportunity to pursue a variety of scholarly activities.

The FLEX CAFL works with FLEX Course Directors to review student activity proposals and assess the resultant activity learning artefacts. CAFLs also provide support and direction for students, based on their chosen activity and individual learning plan.


Dr. Joanna Cheek tells us about her role as a FLEX CAFL:



Dr. Joanna Cheek

What is the most interesting aspect about working as a FLEX CAFL?

I get to be inspired and reminded of the fresh enthusiasm and energy of medical students as they get a first chance to transfer their education into meaningful engagement within their communities.

Where are you located?

I teach within the Island Medical Program and Psychiatry Postgraduate Program in Victoria. I work clinically as a psychiatrist in a variety of settings, mostly in the community.

As a FLEX CAFL, who do you interact with?

I interact mostly with the medical students, but also with our invaluable program assistants, and other faculty members with a wide background in medicine and research who work as student advisors, CAFLs, and course directors.

Highlights of the role: What do you enjoy most about working as a FLEX CAFL?

I’m excited by the immense diversity of interests and projects created by our students, who demonstrate no limits in innovation to improve the health of our communities. Projects range from raising mental health awareness in Kenya and improving water sanitation practices in Panama, to building smartphone apps for doctors or conducting research on integrative care and new cancer treatments.

What are you working on now/recently worked on?

I am currently assessing the folders of our first year students’ FLEX projects, reading rich reflections and reports on their first 6 weeks full-time in the community.

Have you discovered anything surprising about the role or something you did not expect?

While the medical curriculum mandates standardization, with students seeming like a uniform mass flocking from class to class, we sometimes forget how each student is truly unique in their life experience, passions and vision. FLEX allows us to see how distinctly each student defines how they are going to contribute in their own way to the field of medicine.

*Note: as of August 2016, the title of FLEX CAFL will be replaced with the title of FLEX Assessor.

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