Current P&T Policy

PROMOTION AND TENURE POLICY

The assignment of academic rank and the award of tenure safeguard the University’s intellectual standards, its academic integrity, and its academic freedom.  The mission for the School of Medicine faculty is: “to improve the health of the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and beyond, by creating an internationally recognized center for education in the health sciences, biomedical research and health care delivery.”[1]  This document concerns faculty that report to the Dean of the School of Medicine and who have been appointed by the Board of Visitors.  It applies to faculty on the tenure ineligible and tenure eligible tracks, the awarding of tenure, and promotions up to and including the rank of full professor.

Tenure eligible track elections are “with term” if there is a specified number of years for which the appointment extends under the employment agreement between the faculty member and the University entered into at the time of initial hiring or on a “with term” renewal.  The phrase “without term” is used to denote the award of “tenure.”  Both faculty, “with term” and “without term” appointments, are subject to annual evaluations, a system of merit pay, and to appropriate sanctions, including suspension or termination of employment, in the event of unacceptable performance of duties.

Faculty Tracks Within the School of Medicine

Faculty on all tracks contribute to the School of Medicine mission of research, medical education and patient care.  The Dean’s letter of appointment includes detailed performance expectations in the relevant domains. The three tenure eligible appointment designations are academic investigator (AI), clinician investigator (CI) and clinician educator (CE).  The School of Medicine has established three tenure ineligible designations within the academic general faculty: clinical faculty (CF), research faculty (RF), and instructional faculty (IF).  Appointment to one of the tenure eligible (te) or tenure ineligible (ti) faculty tracks is made according to the major focus of faculty effort as specified in the initial or modified letter of appointment and a job description with time allocations.  The criteria for assistant, associate and full professor appointments to the three tenure ineligible tracks and the three tenure eligible tracks are described below.

Definition of Scholarship

Faculty of scholarship requires:  (1) questioning of assumptions, (2) testing new hypotheses and (3) dissemination of ideas and findings to colleagues who critically evaluate the substance and implications of the scholarly work and its impact on the profession. In the School of Medicine, concepts of scholarship have been defined as follows:

  • Scholarship of Discovery contributes not only to the inventory of human knowledge, but also the intellectual climate of the school.
  • Scholarship of Integration seeks to interpret, draw together and bring new insight to bear on original research.
  • Scholarship of Integration synthesizes facts into new perspective.[2]
  • Scholarship of Application is the application of knowledge to deal with consequential problems. In clinical medicine, application of scholarship is tied directly to one’s special field of knowledge and relates to, and flows directly out of this professional activity.
  • Scholarship of application is serious, demanding work, requiring the rigor and the accountability associated with research activities.[3]
  • Scholarship of Teaching transmits knowledge, transforms and extends knowledge. Teaching both educates and stimulates future scholarship.[4]

Criteria for Promotion and Tenure: Tenure Eligible Tracks

Peer review by the School of Medicine Promotion and Tenure Committee requires review at the Departmental level with recommendations by the Chair.  Appointment as tenure eligible Assistant Professor requires a doctoral degree (PhD, MD, or equivalent) with successful completion of a post-graduate training program; ABMS board eligibility/board certification or the equivalent (e.g., Royal College) or the equivalent for non-MD specialists; and major commitment to the professional duties/expectations designated in the Dean’s letter of offer.

Promotion to Associate Professor on the tenure eligible faculty is required at the end of six years as an Assistant Professor.  The criteria for promotion to Associate Professor on the tenure eligible AI, CI, and CE tracks require documentation of excellence in one area (basic or clinical research, teaching or patient care), scholarship plus regional reputation.  Promotion to full professor requires documented excellence in two domains, scholarship plus national/international reputation.

The award of tenure requires documented excellence in two areas (basic or clinical research, teaching or patient care), scholarship and emerging national reputation.  (Refer to criteria detailed by track and the award of tenure.)

Faculty on the tenure eligible track must achieve promotion to Associate Professor by the end of six years in rank as an Assistant Professor. If the faculty member has been promoted to associate professor by the end of the six-year probationary period for promotion, but is not also awarded tenure, he/she will be reappointed for an additional four (4) years of tenure eligibility. All tenure eligible faculty must achieve the award of tenure 10 years after appointment as Assistant Professor. Tenure eligible faculty appointed at the Associate Professor level must achieve the award of tenure by four years from the date of appointment. Faculty who do not achieve the award of tenure within the specified period become ineligible for tenure.  They may be reappointed on the tiRF or tiCF tracks.  However, a new job description must be developed by the departmental chair.  Reappointment requires approval of the Dean of the School of Medicine and the Board of Visitors.

Criteria for Promotion: Tenure Ineligible Tracks

Peer review by the School of Medicine Promotion and Tenure Committee requires review at the Departmental level with recommendations by the Chair.  Appointment as an Assistant Professor on the Clinical Faculty requires an MD, PhD or other terminal or doctoral level degree; board eligibility/certification of MDs; practice related to the institutional mission and demonstrated clinical competency.  Appointment as an Assistant Professor on the Research Faculty requires PhD, MD or equivalent, minimum of two years post doctoral training and evidence of capacity for research at a very high level of competence (recommendations by senior School of Medicine faculty).

Promotion to Associate Professor on the tenure ineligible CF, RF or IF requires service as an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia for at least five years with consistent record of excellence in the expectations outlined in the Dean’s letter of offer.  Promotion to full professor on the tenure ineligible CF, RF or IF requires at least five to six years as an Associate Professor with consistent record of excellence, the demonstration of substantial scholarship and achievement of national/ international recognition.  No “tenure” can be acquired in these ranks.  (Refer to criteria detailed by rank and track, www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/faculty-dev/PandT/tracks/home.cfm).  Notice of termination will be consistent with University policy governing tenure ineligible positions.

The Probationary Period for Tenure

The probationary period for tenure is the cumulative amount of time spent under term appointments while on the tenure eligible track.  Tenure track faculty is entitled to fair consideration for renewal and/or tenure, but there is no presumption of or entitlement to renewal or tenure by virtue of being on the tenure track.  Rather, renewal and tenure decisions are individually determined, in light of departmental, school or University needs and appropriate standards.  A candidate is entitled to fair consideration as measured by departmental or school needs and standards, in light of overall University objectives.

The probationary period may be extended beyond its ordinary term (time “off the clock”) only if a written request by the faculty member has been approved in writing by the Department Chair, the Dean and the Provost. Approval by the Dean and the Provost must be sought and provided in advance whenever possible.  Examples of circumstances under which time off the tenure “clock” may be approved includes but are not limited to:  (1) engagement in important public or University service, (2) maternity or family parenting, (3) serious personal or family illness, or (4) significant change in the job description or time allocation.  A faculty member may be granted time “off the clock” in increments of one year.  A leave of absence from the University does not extend the probationary period without such written request and approvals.

In cases in which the original term appointment is shorter than the period for tenure consideration, probationary faculty are entitled to adequate consideration of their potential for renewal for an additional term appointment and to advance notice that such consideration is to be given.  They must have the opportunity to submit supporting documents as part of that process.  Ordinarily, the Provost does not review decisions not to renew term appointments prior to the tenure review.

Faculty members in the probationary period who are not to be re-elected after the expiration of the term of their appointment are entitled to notice of non-renewal in advance of the expiration of the appointment as follows:

  1. For persons who are not to be renewed after more than two years of service; one calendar year.
  1. For persons who are not to be renewed after two years of service: By December 15 of the second year if the appointment expires at the end of an academic or fiscal year; or at least six months prior to the expiration of the term if the appointment expires at any other time.
  1. For persons who are not to be renewed after one year of service: By March 1 if the appointment expires at the end of an academic or fiscal year; or, at least three months prior to the expiration of the term if the appointment expires at any other time.

Annual Report

The Department Chair or his/her delegate must complete an annual performance review including progress in academic achievement of all faculty within the School of Medicine.  The Chair’s annual written review is due to the Dean by June 30 of each year.  All tenure eligible faculty will have annual reviews by a designated departmental Promotion and Tenure Council with a written record due to the Department Chair by August 1 of each year.  Tenure ineligible faculty may initiate a department review within this cycle.

The Department Chair or his/her designate works with the individual faculty member seeking promotion or the award of tenure to develop a Promotion and Tenure portfolio.  The faculty candidate’s portfolio is due in the office of the Dean the date selected for each Promotion and Tenure cycle.  Please see the current timeline on the Promotion and Tenure homepage.

The Dean’s Office solicits all letters from internal and external referees to maintain confidentiality.  The School of Medicine Promotion and Tenure Committee completes their evaluation of all candidates with individual summary reports to the Dean early in January.  Department Chairs may appeal the decisions of the School of Medicine Promotion and Tenure Committee, but only on the basis of new information not previously available to the Committee.  In February, the Dean will report to the Provost in writing on the School of Medicine promotion and tenure recommendations.  The report of the Dean must include the Dean’s affirmative or negative recommendation on each candidate.  The Provost’s Promotion and Tenure Committee, with representation from experienced School of Medicine Promotion and Tenure Committee Members, will review all actions for candidates for the award of tenure and for promotion to full professor.  All positive actions are approved by the Board of Visitors.

School of Medicine Promotion and Tenure Committee

All 15 members (modified June 2005) of the Promotion and Tenure Committee must be tenured full professors.  Composition of the Committee includes at least five representatives from the basic sciences, with the remaining membership from the clinical departments, and a Chair and a Vice Chair whose affiliation alternates between clinical and basic science departments.  Departmental chairs may asked to serve up to one year on the committee to familiarize themselves with the process.  One half of the membership and the Chair are appointed by the Dean.  The remaining members are voted upon by the School of Medicine faculty members of the Faculty Senate.  Terms are three years in length and may be renewed once.  The term of the Chair has a maximum of three years.  The Promotion and Tenure Committee proceedings are confidential.  Members must absent themselves from the evaluation of candidates within their own department and from candidates with whom there is a stated or unstated conflict of interest.

School of Medicine New Hires Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Subcommittee

Members are recruited from the pool of former School of Medicine Promotion and Tenure Committee members and appointed by the Dean.  The Chair Emeritus of the School of Medicine Promotion and Tenure Committee assumes leadership of the New Hires Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Subcommittee.  The Chair of the New Hires Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Subcommittee and the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development review all faculty appointments to the rank of Associate Professor.

The New Hires Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Subcommittee reviews (1) all faculty candidates seeking initial appointment at the rank of tenured Associate Professor or full Professor, with or without tenure and (2) off-cycle promotion and tenure requests as part of retention actions.

 

Contacts:

David Wilkes, MD
Dean, UVA School of Medicine
James Carroll Flippin Professor of Medical Science

Susan M Pollart, M.D.
Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development
sps2s@virginia.edu

Marie-Louise Hammarskjold, MD, PhD
Chair, Promotion and Tenure Committee
mh7g@virginia.edu

Robert K. Nakamoto, PhD
School of Medicine Coordinator of Academic Achievement
rkn3c@virginia.edu

Mark D. Okusa, MD
Chair, New Hires Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Subcommittee
mdo7y@virginia.edu

 

[1]      Mission, Goals and Objectives Statement prepared by the University of Virginia School of Medicine Institutional Self-Study Task Force, July 1991.

[2]      Thomas Jefferson quoted by Robert Llwellyn, Jefferson’s Legacy to Health, University of Virginia School of Medicine, 1992, 37.

[3]      Ref adapted from Ernest L. Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate (The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Princeton University Press, 1990): 15625.

[4]     Mission, Goals and Objectives Statement prepared by the University of Virginia School of Medicine Institutional Self-Study Task Force, July 1991.

Updated 16 May 2016