Promotion Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs about Promotion
What is the HMS Promotion Criteria?
Please see HMS Faculty of Medicine Governance, Appointment and Promotion Handbook online.
Who decides what my area of excellence will be?
The area of excellence is selected by the department head (or his/her designee) in consultation with the candidate. The area of excellence should represent the candidate's major area of achievement and impact, including a consideration of the quantity as well as quality of contribution.
Who will know what my area of excellence and significant supporting activities are?
No one but you and those directly involved in processing your promotion need be aware of your selected area of excellence and significant supporting activities.
Will the area of excellence by which I am promoted affect my title?
No. Titles for all individuals at a given rank are identical regardless of their area of excellence. The only titles that differ are those for faculty promoted by Academic Part-time Criteria, whose titles include the modifier clinical.
Can my area of excellence and significant supporting activities change in a subsequent promotion?
Yes. Although in most cases an individual will maintain a consistent academic focus over time, occasionally the activities of a faculty member may change. If a change in activities occurs, the area of excellence and supporting activities selected for subsequent promotions may change as well. It should be noted that the individual must meet the standards for promotion in the new area of excellence.
Can more than one area of excellence be selected?
Almost all candidates will be evaluated in a single area of excellence. Only rarely, when both the impact and quantity of contribution are comparable in two areas of excellence and each independently would meet the standard for promotion to the next rank, should two areas of excellence be proposed. Such exceptions must be discussed in advance with the Office for Faculty Affairs.
What if my primary academic activities are not in one of the three areas of excellence?
Almost all candidates will be evaluated for their contributions in one of the three areas of excellence. Only in rare cases will the achievements of an individual in a significant supporting activity be so exceptional that they are sufficient to serve as the basis for promotion. In such extraordinary cases, the requirements for both recognition and scholarship will be applied as for other areas of excellence. Such exceptions must be discussed in advance with the Office for Faculty Affairs.
How should the decision be made about whether an activity should be specified as a significant supporting activity?
Candidates should report only those areas to which they have made significant contributions and devote substantial effort.
Will I be penalized if I do not specify significant supporting activities?
There is no requirement that candidates for promotion specify significant supporting activities. Some faculty who are primarily focused in a single area will not have significant supporting activities and this will not be considered a deficit.
What constitutes scholarship?
The specific types of scholarship are likely to differ according to the area of excellence and are described in the metrics for each. Scholarship is explicitly defined broadly to include not only peer-reviewed publications but also educational materials, policy statements, assessment tools, and guidelines for patient care. Scholarship may be in print or alternative media.
Is principal investigator NIH funding required for faculty with Investigation as their area of excellence?
No. The new guidelines for promotion recognize that funding to conduct research may come from a variety of sources and that, depending on their field, individuals may be more or less likely to serve as principal investigator. A key element in the evaluation will be the documentation of the candidate's intellectual contributions to the original ideas, design, and analysis of a project.
In addition to providing resources for conducting research, obtaining competitive, peer-reviewed funding is also an important marker of a candidate's reputation and recognition. At senior levels, the presence of sustained funding over time is an important factor in the evaluation for promotion.
What if there are no opportunities for me to teach?
Given the broad definition of teaching and educational activities, most faculty should be able to identify opportunities to contribute to educational activities at HMS, HSDM, and/or their affiliated institutions. There will be rare cases, most often related to the candidate's field, in which the opportunities for junior faculty to teach are limited. While promotion to Assistant Professor is possible in such cases, the department head will be expected to explain the absence of educational contributions.
What should I do if I believe I am ready for promotion?
Your department head is responsible for determining when you are proposed for promotion. If you believe that your achievements may warrant promotion to the next rank, you should discuss your status with your department head, division chief or mentor.
Who do I contact for other questions about the criteria?
For questions about promotion criteria or more general questions about promotion, appointments at HMS/HSDM or CV formatting, email the Office for Faculty Affairs at email@example.com or call 617.432.1540.
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