Academic Medicine

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Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31815c64d5

Evidence-Based Appointment and Promotion of Academic Faculty at the University of Chicago

Feder, Martin E. PhD; Madara, James L. MD

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The authors report how one academic medical center (AMC) and associated nonclinical departments implemented evidence-based academic criteria and an evidence-based academic vetting process, which may be models for other institutions.

In 2004–2005, The University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences and Pritzker School of Medicine reconceptualized its appointment, promotion, and tenure criteria to recognize all forms of scholarship as equally legitimate bases for academic tenure. The revised criteria also accommodate differences in academic effort consistent with varying clinical demands. Implementation of these criteria, however, necessitated revised practices in providing objective evidence and analysis of their satisfaction.

Three complementary mechanisms now yield excellent evidence and analysis. The first, electronic forms (e-forms) comprise highly specific response items with embedded instructions, advice, and rationale. The e-forms encourage candidates and departments to provide the evidence that subsequent review needs to evaluate appointment or promotion proposals. Unexpectedly, the e-forms have been coopted as effective mechanisms for faculty development. Second, a faculty dean of academic affairs, a regular faculty member, was appointed to provide robust academic authority and perspective to the process. Third, the promotion and tenure advisory committee was restricted to evaluating academic criteria, and from considerations of institutional value. This change interposed a “firewall” between academic and institutional review. These changes have attenuated dissatisfaction with the appointments and promotions process both within and outside the AMC.

© 2008 Association of American Medical Colleges


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