The authors present recent data on changes under way in and the current status of faculty appointment and tenure policies in U.S. medical schools. The data are drawn from a survey conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges in 1997, to which deans at all 125 U.S. allopathic medical schools responded, supplemented by follow-up telephone and electronic mail inquiries. Faculty evaluation systems and faculty compensation systems top the list of areas in which medical schools are most frequently making policy changes, with approximately half of the schools involved in each area. Changes in evaluation systems reflect an increasing emphasis on post-tenure review. Changes in compensation systems are characterized by the division of pay into separate components, each with its own financial guarantees and with the level of compensation tied specifically to measures of individual and group productivity. Other policy changes include introducing new faculty tracks and career pathways, redefining or clarifying the portion of salary or compensation that is defined by tenure, lengthening the pre-tenure probationary period, and modifying the link between promotion and tenure. Of the 125 medical schools in the United States, only five do not award tenure, while another six effectively limit eligibility for tenure to basic science faculty. These numbers are unchanged from those reported in 1994. Only two schools indicated that eliminating tenure or ceasing to make tenure-eligible appointments was being considered, and neither reported that a policy change was imminent. Current data on the status of tenure guarantees, tenure probationary periods, other tenure eligibility criteria, and special clinical tracks are provided. Nearly three fourths of the medical schools in the United States now have a separate and distinct faculty track for full-time clinical faculty whose primary responsibilities are in patient care and teaching. The vast majority of these tracks do not permit faculty to be tenured, but 71% require evidence of scholarship for promotion. The authors conclude that faculty personnel policies in medical schools are likely to continue to evolve, consistent with a growing insinuation of the corporate culture into academia.
Created Date: 19 March 1998; Completed Date: 19 March 1998; Revised Date: 18 December 2000
© 1998 Association of American Medical Colleges