Notes from the Clinician and/or Educator Track Panel - June 2004

Panelists: Drs. George Atweh, David Reich, Larry Smith, Klaude Weiss and Mary Wolff

What are the criteria for the Clinician and/or Educator Track?

There are 10 pages that enumerate the criteria in the Faculty Handbook.

How do I decide if I belong in the Clinician and/or Educator Track?

Describe what you do in your professional life at Mount Sinai. If clinical work or education constitutes your major time commitment, then this is the right track for you. Research can be a component of your portfolio and can compliment the other parts.

Should I move to this track if I haven't been successful by the criteria used for the Academic track?

The Clinician and/or Educator track is not an alternative form of the Academic track. It is not a "second-rate" track but one in which clinical work and/or education are the primary activities. Because of this, in the Clinician and/or Educator Track, each person's portfolio is different in contrast to an academic track faculty member whose portfolio consists of largely predictable and traditional mix of peer-reviewed articles and funded grants with some teaching and community service including teaching tossed in.

Does "Publish or Perish" apply to the Clinician and/or Educator Track?

You can be a successful Clinician and/or Educator by being highly effective in those roles. And you can have unlimited terms of appointment at the Assistant or Associate Professor level in this track as long as you continue to be productive and continue to meet the criteria for the particular rank. The publication portfolio plays a smaller role in promotion in this track than it does in the Academic Track.

Does "Up or Out" apply to the Clinician and/or Educator Track?

No. In this track, you do not face an "up-or-out" policy that is faced currently by Assistant and Associate Professors in the Academic Track. The chair of your department determines appointment and re-appointment as Assistant Professor. Promotion to and re-appointment as Associate Professor requires the action of the Appointments and Promotions committee (see below).

How can I get promoted in the Clinician and/or Educator Track?

In any track, promotion requires that you have distinguished yourself according to criteria that would be characterized as "excellence". This means that you must publish and be widely known outside Mount Sinai. People in your area of medicine or education should know who you are and respect your contributions. These evaluators must include people outside MSSM, i.e., in the Metropolitan region, nationally and even internationally. The CV that is submitted and the Chair's statement must emphasize the aspects of the faculty member's accomplishments that are unique to the Clinician/Educator track.

What constitutes "publication" and evidence of excellence in the Clinician and/or Educator Track?

Publication in this track may be in peer-reviewed education journals. However publication may also include the development of a syllabus or web-based materials or teaching videos that have been disseminated to others. Awards for teaching from the Medical School are also important. Furthermore, you can develop your reputation in your field by sitting on task forces, and speaking at local and national meetings.

Can I be promoted because I am an excellent teacher?

Being an excellent teacher is not enough. Two things are strong criteria for promotion in this track: ownership and creativity. For example, these can be demonstrated by being a course director. In any case, you must demonstrate ownership of a project, a course, a new technique or a novel approach. If you are initiating a program, course or approach - make sure that you include from the very beginning, a strategy to assess its success. These will provide objective data to support your claims and the Institute for Medical Education (IME, see below) can help you design the necessary assessment tools. Furthermore the IME can provide support for your claim of excellence in teaching by providing you with students' evaluation of courses and lecturers that they regularly collect.

Can I get tenure in the Clinician and/or Educator track?

Yes, however tenure in this track will be rare. It requires that you are among a handful of the experts in your field as indicated by the opinions of non-MSSM experts in the field.

Are there faculty development programs for the Clinician and/or Educator track?

At MSSM, the Institute for Medical Education (IME) provides special faculty development programs/workshops for its members. All MSSM faculty are encouraged to join the IME.

For example, they are sponsoring a Fall 2004 workshop on how to put together a teaching portfolio.

There are also excellent sources of information on the Internet. For example, see Mentor Program Points on the website of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Furthermore, a good set of guidelines for the Clinician and/or Educator track including sample CVs can be purchased from the Medical College of Wisconsin.

How do I determine if I am ready for promotion to Associate Professor or Full Professor in the Clinician and/or Educator track?

Discussions with your chair or division chief are critical in determining a strategy, timetable and criteria for promotion. The chair or chief must be your advocate for you to be put up for promotion.

Where can I find the required forms for promotion?

These forms are now available as PDFs and filling them out electronically should make the process quicker and easier - especially when outside reviewers are involved. Currently the most common sources of delay in the promotion process are:

  1. Incomplete or sloppy paperwork, which necessitates returning the promotion file to the department for correction.
  2. Premature nomination for promotion.

Can anyone other than my chair advise me about whether I could be promoted?

Members of the Appointments & Promotions committee are available to look at the papers prior to official submission. Your chair may initiate a request for advice. This kind of prescreening can help identify where additional materials are needed so that when the file is submitted, the promotion is more likely.

Are promotion criteria the same in the Voluntary Physician and in the Clinician and/or Educator track?

Voluntary physicians promotions are based on clinician and educator expertise as well as sustained institutional commitment and evidence of significant teaching contribution. Consult the Faculty Handbook for specific information regarding the Voluntary Faculty Track.

Back to Academic Development and Advancement