Valuing faculty as educators is essential for medical schools to fulfill their unique mission of educating physicians. The 2006 Consensus Conference on Educational Scholarship, sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Educational Affairs, provided educators seeking academic promotion with a portfolio-based format for documenting activities in five domains, using evidence of quantity, quality, a scholarly approach, and educational scholarship. Yet, the lack of a rigorous, widely accepted system to assess educator portfolio submissions during the promotion and tenure process continues to impede the ability to fully value educators and educational scholars.
The AAMC Task Force on Educator Evaluation was formed in 2010 to establish consensus guidelines for use by those responsible for the rigorous evaluation of the educational contributions of faculty. The task force delineated the educational contributions currently valued by institutions and then fulfilled its charge by creating the Toolbox for Evaluating Educators, a resource which contains explicit evidence-based criteria to evaluate faculty in each of the five domains of educator activity. Adoption of such criteria is now the rate-limiting step in using a fair process to recognize educators through academic promotion. To inform institutional review and implementation of these criteria, this article describes the iterative, evidence- and stakeholder-based process to establish the criteria. The authors advocate institutional adoption of these criteria so that faculty seeking academic promotion as educators, like their researcher colleagues, can be judged and valued using established standards for the assessment of their work.