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Evolution of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development Offices in U.S. Medical Schools: A 10-Year Follow-up Survey

Sonnino, Roberta E. MD; Reznik, Vivian MD, MPH; Thorndyke, Luanne A. MD; Chatterjee, Archana MD, PhD; Ríos-Bedoya, Carlos F. MPH, ScD; Mylona, Elza PhD; Nelson, Kathleen G. MD; Weisman, Carol S. PhD; Morahan, Page S. PhD; Wadland, William C. MD

Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31829ed496
Research Reports

Purpose: To determine how U.S. MD-granting medical schools manage, fund, and evaluate faculty affairs/development functions and to determine the evolution of these offices between 2000 and 2010.

Method: In December 2010, the authors invited faculty affairs designees at 131 U.S. MD-granting medical schools to complete a questionnaire developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Faculty Affairs, based on a 2000 survey. Schools were asked about core functions, budget, staffing, and performance metrics. The authors analyzed the data using descriptive statistics.

Results: A total of 111 schools (84.7%) responded. Fifty percent of the offices were established since 2000. Seventy-eight percent reported their top core function as administrative support for appointments, promotions, and tenure, as in 2000. Faculty policies, appointments, databases, governance support, grievance proceedings, management issues, and annual trend analyses continued as major functions. All 11 core functions identified in 2000 remain predominantly provided by central offices of faculty affairs, except support of major leadership searches. Web site communication emerged as a new core function. Similar to 2000, several other offices were responsible for some faculty development functions. Office size and budget correlated positively with size of the faculty and age of the office (P < .05 for all). Thirty-five schools (31.5%) reported formally evaluating their faculty affairs office.

Conclusions: The number of faculty affairs offices and their responsibilities have substantially increased since 2000. Most major core functions have not changed. These offices are now an established part of the central administration of most medical schools.

Author Information

Dr. Sonnino is vice dean for faculty affairs and professional development, School of Medicine, and associate provost for medical affairs, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. She is the immediate past chair, Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Faculty Affairs (AAMC GFA) Subcommittee on Research and Project Development.

Dr. Reznik is assistant vice chancellor for health sciences faculty affairs, University of California, San Diego, California.

Dr. Thorndyke is vice provost for faculty affairs, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts. She is the current chair of the AAMC GFA.

Dr. Chatterjee is associate dean for academic and faculty affairs, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska.

Dr. Ríos-Bedoya is assistant professor, Department of Family Medicine, College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.

Dr. Mylona is associate dean of faculty development and founding director, Leaders in Medical Education Fellowship Program, Stony Brook Medicine, School of Medicine, Stony Brook, New York.

Dr. Nelson is senior associate dean for faculty development, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Weisman is associate dean for faculty affairs and Distinguished Professor of Public Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Morahan is founding director, Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Wadland is senior associate dean for faculty affairs and development and chair, Department of Family Medicine, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. He is the current chair, AAMC GFA Subcommittee on Research and Project Development.

Funding/Support: None.

Other disclosures: None.

Ethical approval: A data use agreement was entered between the Association of American Medical Colleges and the authors responsible for data interpretation (R.E.S., C.F.R., W.C.W., A.C., C.W., E.M.), and the project was reviewed by the Michigan State University human subjects review board (Exempt Status, 5/23/2011).

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Previous presentation: A session related to this topic was presented at the Association of American Medical Colleges annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, November 7, 2011.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Sonnino, School of Medicine, Wayne State University, 540 E. Canfield, 1206 Scott Hall, Detroit, MI 48201; telephone: (313) 577-9877; fax: (313) 577-1539; e-mail:

© 2013 by the Association of American Medical Colleges