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List of Assignments

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Realizing the three interdependent missions of UCSF (research, education, and patient care) requires unique coordination and collaboration amongst the faculty that fulfill those obligations.  Identify another organization or entity that fulfills a multi-faceted mission in an industry outside academic medicine, and represents excellence in their field.  Understand how its different stakeholders have developed an effective model of collaboration to realize their shared aims, and how they are rewarded and recognized.

Example subject:  A renowned restaurant where the kitchen staff’s culinary creations, the wait staff’s quality of service, and the sommelier’s unique perspective created a coordinated experience that is greater than the sum of its parts.


To fulfill UCSF’s grander aims of research, education, and care requires significant funding. There are aspects then of UCSF’s operations that are very much a commercial enterprise.  Identify another organization or entity outside of academic medicine that has to balance a higher mission with the financial realities of generating operating capital, and discover how they balance the operations of, and the relationships between, their different stakeholders.

Example subject:  A religious institution which funds its community/outreach mission by running a school that charges tuition.


By many measures, UCSF occupies the top rung of academic medical institutions (recognition of achievement, research grants, etc.), but leadership is at best a tenuous position.  Identify an organization, entity or individual outside of academic medicine that continues to reinvent itself in order to stay at the front of the pack, and understand how they inspire, and then realize, their continual re-invention, while managing the inherent risk that comes with re-invention.

Example subject:  Google has been the default portal to the internet for more than a decade, and has managed to parlay that single skillset in an unrelenting wave of information-related innovations, from maps to social networking to disease outbreaks (Google Flu).


UCSF is not an island unto itself - it operates in a broader community of healthcare providers, of scientific discovery, of education, both by industry and by geography.  Identify an organization, entity or individual outside of academic medicine that is particularly adept at identifying and partnering with external entities in order to realized shared goals. Develop an understanding of their approach and how they create alignment and results.

Example subject: The Insitute for Healthcare Improvement has extremely limited resources and staff, but manages to facilitate significant change in healthcare by organizing, coordinating, cajoling, and sometime shaming other organizations into collaborating on healthcare challenges.


UCSF manages to attract far more than its fair share of the world’s greatest young researchers, educators and clinicians. They are typically motivated, self-directed, and desire autonomy, but they also value the mentorship that comes through personal contact with senior faculty and leaders. Identify an organization, entity or individual outside of academic medicine that successfully supports self-directed exploration but can also facilitate close contact with mentors at just the right time.

Example subject: IKEA designs its stores to maximize unassisted shopping, but also provides highly personal services at the moments when consumers need them the most.


Consistent contact and shared experience breed camaraderie. The UCSF faculty works across multiple sites and the opportunity for interaction can be limited by that geographical diversity.  Identify another organization or entity outside of academic medicine that manages to foster a strong sense of shared purpose and camaraderie despite significant geographic diversity and limited personal contact.  Learn how they facilitate that sense of communal purpose.

Example subject:  National college fraternities and sororities consist of chapters distributed among the nation’s universities.  While members of each local chapter develop relationships through co-existence, the broader notion of “brotherhood” or “sisterhood” develops across the national institution.


An increasing emphasis on work-life balance has new faculty spending less actual time dedicated to their career pursuits.  There is a concern that what may result is a concomitant loss in their sense of responsibility or commitment to the institutional mission.  Identify an organization, entity or individual outside of academic medicine that has had to develop mechanisms for fostering personal engagement and commitment in spite of limited dedication of time.

Example subject: The National Guard requires members to typically commit one weekend per month, and one annual two-week period to service, but have to incur, in that limited time frame, loyalty to mission and country.


A new generation of students, bred on a steady diet of technology and flexible learning models, and faced with more information that any one person can reasonably consume, puts pressure for change on the traditional models of education and apprenticeship.  Identify an organization, entity or individual outside of academic medicine that takes a fresh new approach to education and/or apprenticeship.

Example subject:  The Khan Academy is a highly successful non-profit educational organization that supplies a free online collection of more than 3,500 micro lectures via video tutorials stored on YouTube, presented in a style more akin to peer-to-peer tutorials than traditional didactic methods. 


For faculty, the allure of UCSF is embodied in a broad value proposition that goes far beyond just financial remuneration.  In addition to being recipients of that value proposition, junior and senior faculty alike desire active leadership roles in shaping that value proposition. Identify an organization, entity or individual outside of academic medicine that actively develop leaders at the beginning and end of their careers.  Develop an understanding for how they include and benefit from their involvement.

Example subject:  Global Citizen Year is a program that trains high-potential graduating high-school seniors and support them through a bridge year of service learning and leadership training in Africa, Latin America and Asia to help them develop the skills and perspective to be effective agents of change.