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Revisions to Promotion and Tenure Guidelines

The 2017 revision of the School of Medicine Guidelines for Appointment, Promotion and Tenure was originally commissioned by Dean Larsen, who charged a committee made up of senior faculty members and department chairs with significant experience in promotions and tenure with the following:

“Given the changing landscape of academic medicine and the many new demands on our faculty, we believe that it is time for a thorough and thoughtful review and revision of the guidelines. I ask that you carefully consider the scope of our guidelines, investigate best practices at our peer institutions, hold focus groups with key stakeholders and develop a new set of guidelines for appointment, promotion and tenure.”

The committee worked diligently to create a new set of guidelines that will support advancement of all faculty, enable informed decisions regarding tenure and increase flexibility to support changes in career paths. These new Guidelines were approved by the Faculty, Council of Chairs, and The Board of Trustees effective 5/3/2017.

The new system is built on a conceptual framework in which faculty choose their area of distinction—service, teaching or scholarship—at the time of promotion. One’s accomplishments will be evaluated as involvement, achievement, reputation or leadership at the institutional/regional or national/international levels according to benchmarks described in Tables 1-5 of the new Guidelines. One’s area of distinction can change over one’s career, such that the area of distinction at the time of promotion to associate professor may differ from that at the time of promotion to professor. Another major innovation of the new guidelines is that conferral of tenure is uncoupled from promotion, so that one can be promoted to associate professor before meeting the requirements for tenure. Accordingly, the tenure clock has been extended to 11 years.

The table below summarizes the changes from the 2011 guidelines to the 2017 guidelines. Additional information on the changes can be viewed in this presentation

The phase-in of this new version of the Guidelines will begin on September 1, 2017 and will occur as follows:

  • Faculty members appointed to Emory after September 1, 2015 will automatically be considered for promotion under these new guidelines.
  • Faculty hired prior to September 1, 2015 will have up to September 1, 2020 to be considered for promotion under the previous 2011 guidelines if they so choose. 
  • If a faculty member goes up for promotion under the 2011 guidelines and fails to be promoted, all further actions will be considered under the 2017 guidelines.
  • After September 1, 2017, once a change in rank has occurred, further actions will only be considered under the 2017 guidelines.
  • Faculty who have been denied tenure under the 2011 guidelines shall be reconsidered for tenure only under the 2017 guidelines.


2011 Guidelines

2017 Guidelines

Four tracks: tenure, clinical track, research track, medical educator and service track Tenure path, non-tenure path
Faculty assigned track upon hire (or within 3-yr period) and track switching discouraged Faculty choose “area of distinction” at time of promotion, and “area of distinction” may be different at the time of subsequent promotions
9-yr tenure clock 11-yr tenure clock
Tenure coupled to promotion to Associate Professor Tenure uncoupled from promotion
Failure to achieve tenure led to non-renewal Contracts annual until conferral of tenure, so Department Chair and Dean determine non-renewal if tenure not achieved
Accomplishments judged outstanding (national), excellent (regional), very good (local), even if the level of accomplishment was exceptional at the local level Accomplishments judged on level of achievement (involvement, achievement, reputation, leadership) and impact (local/regional vs national/international)
4-yr minimum time in rank before promotion to Associate Professor 5-yr minimum time in rank before promotion to Associate Professor
Strict requirements for conflicts with external evaluators Slightly looser guidelines for defining a conflict for external evaluators
Criteria for promotion based on 1996 Guidelines for Appointment and Promotion New forward-looking benchmarks
No path for rewarding team scientists Clear benchmarks for team scientists

Quick Guides

Guidelines Revision Committee

Jeremy Boss, Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Associate Dean, Basic Research
Jennifer Fairchild-Pierce, Sr. Program Coordinator, Sr. Faculty Appointments and Promotions
Victor Faundez, Professor, Department of Cell Biology
Kathy Griendling, Committee Chair, Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs and Professional Development
Leon Haley, Executive Associate Dean, Clinical Affairs, Grady Memorial Hospital
Amy Langston, Professor and Executive Vice Chair, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology
Jeff Lennox, Associate Dean, Clinical Research and Vice Chair of Medicine, Grady Memorial Hospital
Carolyn Meltzer, Professor and Chair, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences
Ken Newell, Professor and Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs, Department of Surgery
Nancy Newman, Professor, Departments of Ophthalmology and Neurology
Hal Simon, Professor and Vice Chair for Faculty Development, Department of Pediatrics
Malik Smith, HR Administrator, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences