Behind the Scenes of Promotion and Tenure

July 26, 2023 by

P&T wordmap The Office of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development supports the School of Medicine (SOM) faculty throughout their careers in their work as teachers, investigators, and patient care providers. With this article, we’d like to shed light on the behind the scenes work that is part of this important faculty career development process, the academic advancement of our faculty members.

In the SOM, promotions in rank and the granting of tenure are based on merit. They are never automatic or routine, and are made without regard to race, color, religion, gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, political affiliation, or national origin. Each faculty member considered for promotion and tenure (P&T) is held to the high standard for the action they seek. The quality of the School of Medicine is sustained by the faculty’s dedicated and innovative work, and P&T acknowledges and fosters SOM’s faculty excellence. The School is incredibly proud of its recently promoted and tenured faculty members and congratulates them on their many significant achievements!

For faculty who want to learn more about P&T and when to begin the process, many people are available to provide guidance. A faculty member’s supervisor is their primary guide; resources also include your department chair, division chief or mentor, members of your department’s P&T committee, and the School of Medicine’s P&T committee (current and former members). Each department also has a designated P&T Contact who liaises with Faculty Affairs and organizes the P&T process at the department level.

A number of faculty and staff in the Dean’s Office and SOM support the P&T process.

Office of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development

The Office of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development is responsible for managing and supporting the P&T process. Troy Buer, PhD, Director of Faculty Development, Ashley Ayers, Senior Manager for Faculty Development, and Alice Keys, Assistant for Faculty Development, provide faculty with professional development training throughout their career. This team provides professional development focused on faculty advancement during its annual new faculty retreat, through its cohort-based early-career faculty mentoring program, and through its cohort-based junior faculty development program. They also organize a series of P&T preparatory meetings each spring, “Polishing Your Portfolio,” which are available to all faculty. Faculty who are preparing to go through P&T are strongly encouraged to attend one of these meetings. The faculty development team also coordinates meetings for department chairs to explore themes around career development and faculty advancement, and they organize an annual reception in celebration of faculty who were recently promoted and/or tenured.

The responsibility for P&T recommendations rests principally with senior members of the faculty, including department chairs, committee members, and academic deans. The School of Medicine’s Promotion and Tenure Committee is comprised of senior faculty who thoughtfully and objectively evaluate each candidate portfolio using the specific criteria for each track. Two committees conduct the evaluations: one committee evaluates faculty seeking advancement on the Clinical Faculty (CF) and Instructional Faculty (IF) tracks, and the other committee evaluates faculty seeking promotion on the Academic Investigator (AI), Clinician Educator (CE), Clinician Investigator (CI), Research Faculty-Support (RF-S), and Research Faculty-Independent (RF-I) tracks. The committees meet weekly from October until mid-December to review the portfolios of faculty members nominated for academic advancement.

After discussion of faculty members’ portfolios, using a web-based secret ballot, committee members indicate whether they believe the materials submitted support the requested action.  In cases where the committee vote suggests the information submitted is insufficient to support advancement, the nominating department chair receives feedback on deficiencies. The nominating chair has the option to appeal the committee’s decision with the submission of new information that strengthens the case, and, at an appeals meeting in January, the committee members discuss and vote on the updated materials.

In the Office of Faculty Affairs, Claire Reeger, MPA, Assistant Director of Faculty Affairs, coordinates P&T behind-the-scenes by creating and maintaining resources on the Faculty Affairs webpages and communicating information to the department P&T Contacts. She works closely with this group to collect candidate materials in our online system and manage the referee letter process. She also coordinates the SOM P&T committee meetings in the fall semester and submits the school’s final P&T data to the Office of the Provost in February.

Robert (Bob) Nakamoto, PhD (Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics), SOM’s Coordinator of Academic Achievement, is directly involved in running P&T at the School of Medicine along with our Faculty Affairs team. In recent years, we have processed over 100 portfolios annually. His involvement has been critical for managing such a high volume of cases. Dr. Nakamoto regularly advises SOM on process and policy changes, communicates directly with faculty and department chairs, reviews dossiers with great attention to detail, and organizes the P&T committee membership.

Bill Brady, MD (Emergency Medicine) is the chair of the SOM P&T Committee that reviews faculty on the AI, CI, CE, RF-S, and RF-I tracks, and Bettina Winckler, PhD (Cell Biology) is the co-chair. They work together to convene the Promotion and Tenure Committee and review each dossier to make a recommendation to the Dean. The appointment of the chair and co-chair for the second committee reviewing faculty members on the CF and IF tracks is underway. The committee chairs work diligently to ensure that the committee evaluates the content of the candidate’s materials using the P&T criteria.

Abbie Salcedo, PhD, MBA, Director of Faculty Affairs, oversees the administrative actions of SOM’s P&T committee. In conjunction with the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development, Susan M. Pollart, MD, MS, she leads the evaluation and revision of SOM promotion and tenure policies and procedures, as needed. Dr. Salcedo is also accountable for ensuring that all SOM faculty receive proper guidance, support, and training regarding policies, processes, documentation requirements, timelines, and related systems that support promotion and tenure. Dr. Salcedo ensures that all promotion and tenure review recommendations adhere to UVA’s policies and procedures, including the provision of due process for all faculty members.

Susan M. Pollart, MD, MS, is the senior associate dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development. In partnership with the dean, Dr. Pollart reviews and makes recommendations on each P&T case, communicating any negative recommendations to the chair of the faculty member’s department. Dr. Pollart oversees the development of new resources and significant changes in the promotion and tenure policies and processes. In 2022, she led the School of Medicine P&T Review Task Force, and suggested improvements are being implemented over multiple years.

Faculty Affairs Contacts


Filed Under: Faculty