The fields of quality improvement and patient safety (QI/PS) continue to grow with greater attention and awareness, increased mandates and incentives, and more research. Academic medical centers and their academic departments have a long-standing tradition for innovation and scholarship within a multifaceted mission to provide patient care, educate the next generation, and conduct research. Academic departments are well positioned to lead the science, education, and application of QI/PS efforts nationally. However, meaningful engagement of faculty and trainees to lead this work is a major barrier. Understanding and developing programs that foster QI/PS work while also promoting a scholarly focus can generate the incentives and acknowledgment to help elevate QI/PS into the academic mission. Academic departments should define and articulate a QI/PS strategy, develop individual and departmental capacity to lead scholarly QI/PS programs, streamline and support access to data, share information and improve collaboration, and recognize and elevate academic success in QI/PS. A commitment to these goals can also serve to cultivate important collaborations between academic departments and their respective medical centers, divisions, and training programs. Ultimately, the elevation of QI/PS into the academic mission can improve the quality and safety of our health care delivery systems.