College of Medicine sets new promotion, tenure guidelines

The UF College of Medicine executive committee approved new promotion and tenure guidelines June 21 that provide clearer criteria for job advancement and more flexibility for faculty members.

Marian Limacher, M.D., senior associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development

The guidelines were developed using university shared governance guidelines with input from COM administration, faculty council, department chairs and COM faculty at large.  

“I applaud and thank the task force members and our faculty council for their work in developing the new guidelines,” said Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine. “Our goal is to clearly articulate paths of professional advancement available to every College of Medicine faculty member. The new promotion and tenure guidelines are a significant step forward in achieving that goal.”

The reforms, the first in at least a decade, will affect the college’s tenure and non-tenure track faculty in both Gainesville and Jacksonville.

Major changes include extending the tenure process to 10 years from seven years, better defining criteria for promotion and establishing new mechanisms for documenting clinical and educational excellence.

Three new promotional tracks at the college are now defined: the tenure track; the multi-mission track; and the single-mission track. Before the multi-mission and single-mission tracks were both lumped into one non-tenure track category, said Marian Limacher, M.D., senior associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development.

The multi-mission track includes faculty with assignments in at least two areas, such as research, education, patient care and service. The single-mission track includes faculty members who work in just one area, either research or teaching.

As of August 2011, 67 percent of UF College of Medicine faculty in Gainesville and Jacksonville were in non-tenured tracks, Limacher said. Of 1,434 total College of Medicine faculty, there were 344 faculty members who were tenured and another 253 on a tenure track.

For tenure track faculty members, a big change in the new guidelines is extending the tenure probationary period from seven years to 10 years. Tenure gives a faculty member a permanent position and protection of academic freedom.

Under UF guidelines, promotion and tenure within the tenure track requires excellence in at least two areas, typically both teaching and research. The college considers teaching, research and scholarship, patient care and service in its faculty evaluations of both tenure and non-tenure track faculty.

David Quillen, M.D., president-elect of the faculty council

Extending the tenure probationary period to 10 years will benefit faculty by giving them more time to accomplish these requirements, said David Quillen, M.D., president-elect of the faculty council and a member of the tenure and promotion task force.

“As competitive funding has gotten more difficult, some faculty need the extra time to prove they have the capacity to meet the criteria for excellence in the tenure track,” he said.

The new guidelines also benefit non-tenured faculty in the multi-mission track by requiring excellence in just one, instead of two areas. For faculty working in clinical areas, the criteria for promotion will be much better defined and demonstrated by accomplishments documented in a new clinical portfolio.

The old criteria for clinical excellence were based solely on a letter by the department or division chief on the faculty member’s assignment and performance, making it hard to establish clinical excellence, said Limacher. The new rules include metrics in 12 areas to demonstrate a track record of excellence in clinical care.

Kevin Behrns, M.D., chair of the department of surgery, agreed that the new guidelines would be helpful for clinical faculty members.

“The addition of a clinical portfolio and an education portfolio give faculty members expanded opportunities to show the depth and breadth that they do in either in clinical or education areas,” Behrns said.

The new guidelines will become final 24 months from the June 21 date of approval. Faculty members have a two-year window to either use the previous or the new guidelines for consideration of their promotion packets.

Both the old and new guidelines are posted on the faculty affairs website: