Empowerment of faculty is essential for academic success. The Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP), sponsored by the Office of Professional Development of the Penn State College of Medicine, was established in 2003 with the goal of promoting the development and advancement of junior faculty so they can achieve success in their academic careers. The program consists of two components: a curriculum in research, education, clinical practice, and career development, and an individual project completed under the guidance of a senior faculty mentor. The curriculum provides faculty with knowledge, skills, and resources. Mentoring provides relationships and support. Together, these elements combine to empower junior faculty to better manage their careers.
The effectiveness of the program has been demonstrated by several measures: participants evaluated the program highly, demonstrated increases in their perceptions of their own abilities, and completed tasks important to the advancement of their careers. Participants stated they were better prepared to advance their academic careers and that the individual projects would contribute to their career advancement.
On the basis of this experience, the authors suggest that faculty development programs should empower faculty so that they can more effectively chart a successful career in academic medicine. This report describes an empowerment model, and the design, implementation, and evaluation of the Junior Faculty Development Program in 2003-04 and 2004–05. The authors offer this program as a model for the benefit of other institutions and for one of their most valuable assets: junior faculty.