TiME 2014: Teaching as
Scholarship in Medical Education
Promotion, Tenure and the Medical
Pamela E. Knapp, PhD.
Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology
SOM Promotion and Tenure Committee Chair, 2011-13
How does the VCU Promotions and Tenure committee view the
scholarship of teaching? Is it viewed equally well as the scholarship of
discovery or other forms of scholarship?
II. What does the committee look for in the faculty member's vitae or
narrative statement to convey that he or she has focused on the
scholarship of teaching?
III. If a clinical faculty member, in particular, wants to focus on scholarship of
teaching in medical education, what sort of record of accomplishment is
necessary to make a good case for promotion?
IV. Other advice or recommendations re: successful promotion/tenure review
for faculty with their research/scholarship focused on medical education.
Some changes coming: VCU ratified a new P and T policy 5-2013; SOM ratified
in Dec 2013. Now going to the VCU P and T Policy Committee for approval.
What is the SOM Promotion & Tenure Committee?
• Group of 8 faculty – all Professors – representing a mixture of
clinical & basic science departments
• Meet multiple times between mid-Nov to end Jan to evaluate the
dossiers put forward from all SOM departments for tenure, and
for promotion at all levels.
• Each dossier is discussed in detail. We determine whether each
candidate meets the criteria for the particular academic honor
that they are requesting.
• The guidelines are not quantitative.
How does the committee interpret the requirements?
• Committee is pro-faculty
• Promotion and tenure are academic honors
• There are no magical numbers in any category
• Opinions of committee members can differ
• “A faculty member‘s length of service shall be taken
into consideration in determining whether or not the
faculty member should be promoted, but longevity
per se is not necessary nor sufficient grounds for
IV. Other advice or recommendations re: successful
promotion/tenure review for faculty with their
research/scholarship focused on medical education.
Understand SOM requirements for promotion / tenure in
your title series and situation (tenure track [tenured,
probationary], term [formerly collateral – now with new descriptors])
- SOM rules are more strict than general VCU
- department/division guidelines do not replace SOM (“Where
departmental guidelines have been created, they may amplify but not
contradict this document.”)
- know where to look for information (SOM Faculty Affairs website)
Communicating with your Chair/Division Chief is critical
Make the strongest case that you can at the time you
submit your dossier
- pre-promotion/tenure planning/organization
- making the important elements of your CV clear
- new restrictions on challenges to P and T decisions
2.2.1 School of Medicine Criteria: General
Promotion in the SOM is dependent upon continuing achievement in
teaching, scholarly activity, and service. Faculty should receive written
guidelines from their department chair that delineate the proportion of
their efforts in each of these areas. Chairs and faculty should review the
allocation of the faculty member’s effort at least annually, in writing, and
submit these documents to the departmental peer review committee with
the promotion and tenure materials.
a. Academic Credentials and Experience ….
b. Teaching … (n.b. This is teaching, not teaching scholarship)
c. Scholarly Activity** (includes research and/or teaching scholarship/research)
From the new P and T guidelines: General criteria that define requirements
for promotion in each tenure-track / term category in general
Tenure/tenure-eligible faculty hold appointments in the SOM with responsibilities that
include teaching of medical and graduate students, the pursuit of meritorious independent
research, securing external funding to support the research effort, training future
investigators, and furthering the teaching and research missions of the School.
-While it is rare to have tenure track faculty with a primary education mission,
“meritorious independent research” can also be in oriented towards education.
Term faculty are assigned to one of three tracks depending upon their major responsibilities
(Clinician-Educator; Teaching; and Research…).
Faculty in the Clinician-Educator Track have responsibilities that include teaching and
preparation of academic courses, furthering the clinical mission of the Health System,
advising and mentoring of students and trainees, service in School and University-related
activities, and research. Effort devoted to scholarly activities, beyond teaching, is not
expected to exceed 10%, unless approved by the Department Chair and Dean.
Faculty in the Teaching Track hold appointments with responsibilities that include teaching
and preparation of academic courses, mentoring of students and trainees, and service in
School and University-related activities. Effort devoted to scholarly activities beyond
teaching is not expected to exceed 10%, unless approved ….
Importance of Communicating with your Chair
Your Chair/Division Chief is tenured – has guided others in the process.
Chair is responsible for evaluations of all faculty: “Faculty should receive
written guidelines from their department chair ... Chairs and faculty should
review the allocation of the faculty member’s effort at least annually …”
Chair organizes the Departmental Tenure Committee that will seek letters
and put together your tenure dossier. (New P and T document requires
letters from “arms’ length” external reviewers, identified as such).
Chair writes a letter that outlines your case for promotion/tenure, and
gives the P & T Committee a snapshot of your contributions to the
department, SOM, and profession.
Some Chairs / departments have created internal guidelines for the
promotion and tenure process.
How does the VCU Promotions and Tenure
committee view the scholarship of teaching? Is it
viewed equally well as the scholarship of discovery or
other forms of scholarship?
c. Scholarly Activity
This includes peer-reviewed contributions in basic, clinical and/or educational
scholarship. Scholarship may also be in the form of community-engaged
research. The SOM recognizes the expanded definition of scholarship
proposed by Boyer and colleagues that includes:
• The scholarship of discovery…
• The scholarship of integration…
• The scholarship of application…
• The scholarship of teaching and learning which explores ways to help
students acquire new knowledge and develops specific skills and attitudes
such as the creation or evaluation of new teaching methods or curriculum
and the use of new technologies to improve learning or the dissemination
• Both quantity and quality should be assessed to achieve a balanced
evaluation and all possible evidence of scholarly activities and
capabilities should be sought, including published materials in refereed
journals as well as unpublished manuscripts accepted for publication. Any
pending patent application approved by the University shall be given
II. What does the committee look for in the faculty
member's vitae or narrative statement to convey that
he or she has focused on the scholarship of teaching
-Make sure you understand the distinction between being
an excellent teacher, and having excellence as a scholar
in the arena of education
-There is a requirement for BOTH teaching and
-The fact that you have focused on teaching scholarship
should be stated explicitly in documents from your chair
and your peer/departmental committee.
Teaching (didactic or clinical teaching; local/regional CME or other
teaching lectures; mentoring)
•“….demonstrate contributions in teaching at a local or regional level including
contributions to courses, curriculum design, implementation, or assessment, teaching
in the clinical setting, continuing medical education or teaching through professional
organizations or health care groups. The candidate should have successfully served as a
mentor or advisor of students, housestaff, colleagues, or postdoctoral trainees.”
Scholarship (whether teaching or research scholarship, this requires
evidence that you have created something new, and that it is valued by
your profession; requires that you be known outside of VCU, either
regionally (assoc prof) or nationally/internationally (full prof) for your
•“…demonstrate maturity and professional competence in independent scholarship or
as a leader in collaborative research that should lead to publication of new knowledge.
Publications in refereed journals, books and book chapters, sustained for a number of
years, will be used as a guideline for measuring scholarly achievement and growth.
Evidence of Scholarship in Medical Education?
-PUBLICATIONS!! (Peer-reviewed articles in academic/teaching
-Other (patented) teaching materials used outside of VCU/by other
institutions (digital atlases; contributions to board exam reviews or
-Grants (funding isn’t everything – and by itself does not constitute
-Editorial board service questions for national board exams ….
-Invited presentations related to your scholarship in education
outside of VCU/Richmond area (CME, regional/national/international
meetings or other institutions)
III. If a clinical faculty member, in particular, wants to
focus on scholarship of teaching in medical
education, what sort of record of accomplishment
(publications, presentations, etc., as well as
consistency of focus) is necessary to make a good
case for promotion?
The P & T committee considers each situation
~What is the expected distribution of your efforts as outlined in
the Chair’s letter; is it consistent with your FARES reports?
~What % of your time is allotted for scholarship?
Expectations of a term faculty member with 80% clinical
service/ 10% scholarship ≠ a faculty member with 50% clinical
service / 45% scholarship
There are no magical numbers in any category
Making your case to the P & T Committee
• You should review the requirements in your title series
with your chair (or other senior mentor) yearly.
• Documentation is key (letters, dates, details)
The committee vote is on the documentation that you provide
- details indicate the importance of your contribution,
consistency of your efforts
- does the distribution of your efforts match expectations?
• Make the important elements of your CV clear
- Organize/categorize: e.g. if you have multiple types of teaching
(didactic and clinical) in several departments or venues (inpatient and
outpatient). Do not just list every individual lecture for 10 years!
- Clinical Service - Try to give an estimate of time spent in each type of
clinical service – inpatient, outpatient, at VCU and at other affiliated
institutions. Days/week or month, wks/year.
Service Activities on a
Medical Educator’s CV
Clinical - Try to give an estimate of time spent in each type of clinical
service – inpatient, outpatient, at VCU and at other affiliated institutions.
Days/week or month, wks/year.
To Profession - must have a professional audience or objective outside of
VCU and not be listed elsewhere. Several things can go here or
elsewhere; put them where they do you the most good! (ex. review
panels/editorial work could go here or under “expert services”)
To Community - Key is lay audience – can be local international
To Dept., SOM, University – Again, some things can go here or elsewhere.
Revamping the M3-M4 Curriculum might also go under teaching.
Probationary (Tenure-Eligible) Appointments
“The maximum period of probationary service of an assistant professor is
typically six academic years. At the end of this six-year period, the faculty
member must be given an appointment with tenure or a one-year terminal
“An initial appointment at the rank of professor or associate professor
may also be a probationary appointment. The maximum period of
probationary service typically is two years as a professor and three years
as an associate professor **. At the end of these periods, the faculty
member must be given an appointment with tenure or a one-year terminal
** Extensions can be granted when there are circumstances that significantly
impede normal progress.
~New revisions to the VCU P & T document that will be incorporated into the
SOM document codify a maximum 10 year probationary period for
assistant professor, 5 year for associate, and 3 year for full professor.~
Promotion to Professor
• Promotion to the rank of Professor (and tenure, if appropriate) is based
upon continued achievements in teaching, service, and scholarship, with
national and international recognition in at least one of these areas.
Academic Credentials and Experience
• As a general rule, the candidate should have held appointment as Associate
Professor for a minimum of three years.
• The candidate should demonstrate continued contributions in administrative
and clinical service and assumed a leadership role in the SOM, health system,
community, and/or at a national level. The candidate should actively
participate in his or her profession outside of the university. National
recognition of service includes awards, publications, lectures, consulting,
adoption of new clinical or administrative programs or processes at a national
level and participation in national committees, programs, or panels relating
to health care or academic medicine.
Promotion to Associate Professor
•“The performance of the candidate should indicate a sustained record of
professional achievements in teaching, scholarship, and service. A positive
recommendation for promotion to associate professor (and tenure, if appropriate)
should be made when the candidate meets each of the following conditions:
•(a) satisfactory or better on all criteria
•(b) very good or excellent on at least two of the following criteria: teaching,
scholarship and service. For non-tenure track faculty, whose special mix of duties
allows minimal effort (10% or less) in a criteria, a rating of satisfactory will be
sufficient in that area.
•(c) excellent in either teaching or scholarship or, for non-tenure track faculty with a
majority of effort designated in service, excellence in service.
Examples of satisfactory and excellent performance are provided in Appendix III.