The promotion process consists of a series of steps beginning first in a department and proceeding through the School of Medicine and, in the case of tenure track faculty, to the President and Board of Trustees. A successful bid for promotion begins with the faculty member who is expected to assemble an up to date curriculum vitae, a detailed teaching portfolio, and personal statement. Templates for these documents are available in the following sections. It is extremely important that these documents be clearly and accurately written. The timeline for submission of promotion packets varies from track to track and is given below.
After endorsement by the department and the chair, the faculty member’s promotion dossier is forwarded to the Dean’s office for consideration by the Faculty Committee for Appointments and Promotions (FCAP). FCAP is appointed by the Dean and consists of 12 senior faculty members representing both the basic science and clinical departments. Individuals are carefully selected so as to bring great breadth of expertise to the review process. Each promotion packet is reviewed by two members of the committee whose recommendations are presented to the entire committee. Following a successful vote, the promotion proceeds to the Council of Chairs where it is similarly reviewed and voted upon. The recommendations of FCAP and the Council of Chairs (COC) are advisory to the Dean who will make the final decision whether to move tenure actions to the Provost’s Office and whether to confirm approval or denial of actions on the other tracks. Tenure actions that are approved by the Dean are forwarded to the Provost and the President’s Advisory Committee (PAC), University-wide faculty committee similar to FCAP. Successful tenure actions are then forwarded to the President and the Board of Trustees for final ratification. Although unusual, denial of a previously approved tenure action may occur at any subsequent step in the process.
The criteria for promotion are detailed in the Guidelines for Appointment and Promotion in the School of Medicine revised in May 2010 (see below). There are four academic tracks within the School of Medicine (Tenure (TT), Clinical (CT), Research (RT), and Medical Educator and Service Track (MEST). Criteria for promotion vary from track to track. Stated simply, a guiding principle for promotions on the tenure, clinical and research is that a candidate must achieve “outstanding” in at least one of the three academic missions (research, teaching and service). Outstanding ratings are given when national reputation in the candidate’s area of strength can be clearly and compellingly documented through a combination of activities on the curriculum vitae, the chair’s letter, and external letters forwarded on behalf of the candidates. Lesser levels of achievement are described as “excellent” or “very good”. On the Medical Educator and Service Track a faculty member must be judged “excellent” in teaching and/or service and as have some “participation in scholarship ” for promotion to Associate Professor. Excellence is defined as having an institutional and regional reputation. Promotion to Professor requires a higher level of achievement that that of associate professor as discussed in the guidelines.
A promotion dossier contains several part which include: chair’s letter, curriculum vitae, teaching portfolio, personal statement, letters of evaluation, and illustrative publications (clinical, tenure, and research track). External letters should originate from objective sources who do not share close professional ties with the candidate. For example, a previous mentor or collaborator would generally not be considered objective. In the final analysis some degree of professional “distance” must be documented between the candidate and the external reviewer.
The most common reason that promotions fail is that a national reputation cannot be established in the candidate’s area of strength. National reputation is judged by a collective assessment of the faculty member’s accomplishments. External letters of evaluation are extremely important in this regard since they give an indication of the relative prominence of the candidate relative to others in the field.
Ordinarily faculty will not be transferred from one track to another. In rare situations in which the trajectory of a faculty member legitimately changes, a faculty member and his/her chair may request a track transfer from the Dean. Track switches that involve the tenure track must also be approved by the Provost.