The promotion policy of the Department of Surgery is consistent with that of the UNC School of Medicine, available at http://www.med.unc.edu/admin/documents/SOMAPT.pdf
A faculty member in the Department of Surgery at the University of North Carolina is hired into one of two academic tracks: the tenure track or the clinical/research track. Both tracks include ranks of instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. The requirements for promotion differ in that individuals in the tenure track must show both progressive academic productivity and demonstrate a national reputation in one of three areas of emphasis- clinical care, research, or education. In the clinical/research track, excellence will be determined by Departmental guidelines and may be achieved in one or more of five areas- clinical care, research, education, administration, or community outreach.
The appointment of a new faculty member provides an opportunity for orientation to the culture of the Institution and Department, the requirements for practice and research, the promotion expectations, and more. Practices that have been useful in this setting include:
- The Teaching and Academic Portfolio
- Faculty orientation and network introductions
- Formal programs for, among others, Resident as a Teacher, research orientations, training grant seminars, and others.
- Informal, periodic luncheons with the new faculty.
Ongoing activities can and should be emphasized such as attendance at Departmental Grand Rounds, School of Medicine Faculty Meetings, UNC P&A Faculty meetings, Divisional Meetings, and others. Among other orientation features are the necessity of maintaining CME for licensure, an easily met requirement if one is participatory in Department and Divisional activities.
Annual review of progress by the Chair and the Chief at budget preparation time is a convenient opportunity to discuss the progress of the faculty member. It would be possible to more formally address that activity, by meeting with and documenting dialogue with the faculty member as to progress.
Year Three Review
The University By-Laws require a meeting of the Full Professors as Advisory to the Chair for recommendation for re-appointment. That meeting requires an extensive personnel file update with an analysis of progress in the missions of the Institution and Department. The Professors meeting is initiated by asking the faculty member to submit a portfolio of information, an announcement of the meeting, and a written ballot is taken recommending re-appointment. The meeting has been quite useful as it allows assessment by Professors other than in the Division of the faculty member. Defects in the material prepared and in the progress are identified. Following the meeting, the judgments are communicated to the faculty member. If remedial action in one of the areas is necessary and anticipated to be a barrier to career progression in the institution, it can be addressed at that time. Examples of action in the past have included (1) Strong emphasis on need to produce more publications and presentations (2) Emphasis on obtaining research grants of a peer reviewed nature. (3) Advice to change career academic tracks, i.e., to research from tenure, from tenure to clinical, from clinical to tenure. (4) Consideration of timing of recommendation for promotion, i.e., on time, early, accelerated.
A common outcome of the Professors meeting is to reassure the faculty member of appropriate progress and strategize for promoting to next rank. An uncommon outcome is to have a candid discussion regarding the advisability of considering a career path that is external to the institution.
Year Five Review
This period is the time when consolidation of promise and progress of the first three years results in an academic ranks progression, change in track, etc. It is a potentially dynamic period when mentoring is useful, by formal mentors, by Department leadership, by Chiefs, and others. As it is addressing institutional requirements, it is a important, formal Departmental responsibility. Mentoring by others than Chairs and Chiefs is useful. At this time, decision for promotion is recommended by the Division Chief or by the Chairman if the Division Chief is up for promotion. The package of promotion material including CV, teaching portfolio, and outside letters of support requested by the Division Chief or Chair is reviewed by the Committee of Full Professors. A recommendation is made, but a summary letter by the Chair is added and the material is sent forward to the Dean’s Office where it is reviewed by the appropriate committee. After this review, it is considered by the Dean’s Advisory Committee. Once this process is completed, the faculty member is informed of the final decision, and is granted tenure. If tenure is not granted, the faculty member may be considered for a different faculty track.