The current environment in which medicine is taught and practiced requires that medical schools pay increased attention to the faculty member's roles, rewards, career development, and productivity. Medical schools must make strategic decisions about the allocation of resources that can nurture their faculties and support the activities in academic and community settings in which faculty are involved. From 1993 to 1995 Allegheny University of the Health Sciences (formerly Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann University) designed a comprehensive system for the professional development of faculty. This system is based upon expanded categories of faculty academic activity and scholarship. New programs were implemented to reorient faculty toward conducting and documenting the expanded array of scholarly activities. The main characteristics of the new system are the establishment of formally defined performance expectations, the vertical alignment of the individual faculty member's objectives with the department's mission and the school's mission, and an increasing emphasis upon faculty interdependence, accountability, and use of sound business practices. The authors describe these and other aspects of the design of the new system in detail and report initial results and lessons learned from the system's implementation, evaluation, and dissemination throughout the university. The long-term success of this comprehensive professional development program will be assessed over time by observing how this institution advances its mission in a well-planned and cost-effective manner that retains talented, productive, and professionally fulfilled faculty.
(C) 1997 Association of American Medical Colleges