Psychiatry Specific Guidelines

Guidance for Faculty Appointments and Promotions

Division of Psychiatry

Members of the Psychiatry Executive Committee of the Boston University School of Medicine have prepared this document to assist the promotions committee in determining the appropriate academic rank of faculty and to assist the career development of junior faculty. This document is consistent with the Guidelines for Faculty Appointments and Promotions for the School of Medicine. A complete copy of the Guidelines for Faculty Appointments and Promotions for the School of Medicine can be found at the Office of the Provost website.

The italicized paragraphs are taken from those Guidelines.

Instructor is the entry level rank for those who have recently completed their post doctoral training, residency or fellowship training. This rank is appropriate for new faculty, generally with MD, PhD or equivalent degrees, who have the potential for academic advancement. Individuals at the instructor level may be in positions of advanced training prior to leaving the institution or moving to the assistant professor rank. Instructors should focus on their career direction, develop independence in a specific area, and concentrate on scholarly productivity.

Assistant Professor rank generally requires completion of all formal training with evidence of prior scholarly activity, clear definition of career goals, and expectation of future academic career advancement. During this important career-defining phase, faculty should pay particular attention to developing areas of scholarly excellence and individual identity.

Associate Professor rank generally requires at least 3-6 years as an assistant professor, scholarly achievements, and recognition of these achievements at regional and national levels. Creation of new programs and development of an area or areas of individual identity are also important as is mentoring and training others.

Professor rank generally requires at least 5 years as an associate professor and a distinguished record of scholarship and professional accomplishment recognized at regional, national, and international levels and continued mentoring and training of others. Recognition as an authority in one’s specific area(s) of interest is essential

The Division of Psychiatry has adopted the track system with the following designations:

Clinician Educator: This track includes professionals involved in educational activities and scholarly activities that result in communication of  knowledge. Scholarship in relation to teaching includes the development of new organizational innovations, curriculum development and implementation, patient education materials and clinical reviews, and/or integration of clinical information through book chapters, editorials, oral presentations, and clinical reports.

Clinician Scientist: This track comprises faculty who are involved in clinical and educational activities as well as in focused basic science, health services, or clinical research. Individuals who choose this track are expected to have the same general goals as listed for those in the scientist track, although scholarly activities similar to those listed for clinician educator can also be taken into account for promotion.

Scientist: This track includes faculty who devote significant time to scientific investigation. Emphasis is on developing a well-focused area of scientific innovation and identity, publication in peer-reviewed journals, acquisition of extramural funding by federal and private institutions, and the building of a research team. Responsibility for scientific training of others at pre- and postdoctoral levels, as well as participation in intra-departmental research programs, is of critical importance, as well.

This document offers guidance for promotion committees in assessing scholarship in clinical, educational, and scientific activities. All tracks will adhere to the basic requirements for Instructor and Assistant Professor as described above and which appear in section II of the Guidelines for Faculty Appointments and Promotions for the School of Medicine. Individuals may choose to change tracks over the course of their career, but should seek advice from a senior Faculty Member and the Chairman before doing so.

For appointment at the Assistant Professor level it is expected that the faculty member will have chosen a specific track and an area of scholarly expertise as evidenced by 3-5 publications in peer reviewed journals or chapters in textbooks. Assistant Professors should also demonstrate participation in medical school activities, and local and national professional associations. The portfolio of the Assistant Professor should provide evidence that the individual is engaged in scholarly activity, is developing an area of academic focus, and has the potential for academic advancement in the future.

The guidelines below are provided to assist in faculty development and to guide promotion committees in the determination of promotion to Associate Professor or Professor. Before being considered for these ranks, individuals should meet two essential criteria: 1) S/he must have served as a Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator or Project Director on an externally funded grant or contract. Individuals who have served as Project Directors for program grants, or who have played essential leadership roles in program grants or contracts qualify as meeting this criterion; all sources need not be governmental. 2) S/he must have made an impact on the field as demonstrated by publication of original research, development of unique teaching methods, innovative curriculum development, or reputation for clinical innovation and expertise.

For the Clinician Educator, sections A and B should be considered as the primary criteria but C may be used to supplement the application. For the Clinician Scientist, sections A and C should be considered. For the Scientist (the individual devoting most of his or her effort to research), section C should be considered. Individuals should meet a majority of criteria in the applicable sections, A, B,C. For some individuals accomplishments in all sections should be considered in the candidate’s evaluation.

A. Clinical accomplishments:

  1. Is there evidence of local or national leadership in Psychiatry or Psychology?
  2. Is the individual a national authority in a sub-specialty?
  3. Has the individual developed innovative clinical programs or developed unique therapeutic techniques?
  4. Has there been national dissemination of the individual’s clinical contributions?
  5. Has the individual developed unique quality improvement projects that have made a significant contribution to the clinical practice of Psychology or Psychiatry?
  6. Is there evidence that the individual has integrated novel clinical programs with education or research activities?
  7. Does the individual hold a senior administrative position in the Medical School or primary affiliate?
  8. Has the individual held leadership positions in national professional societies?
  9. Has the individual received local or national awards for their clinical activities?
  10. Has the individual received external funding to support innovative prevention or therapeutic programs?
  11. Has the individual published case reports, chapters in clinical textbooks or presented clinical information at national or international meetings? Do the numbers and quality of publications merit promotion? Associate Professors in this track should have a minimum of 15 published articles, with at least one half as first author. For promotion to Professor, individuals should have a minimum of 30 peer reviewed articles.  In exceptional cases, lower numbers of publications of high impact are acceptable.

B. Educational Accomplishments:

  1. Has the individual taken a leadership role in educational activities of the Medical School or affiliated hospitals?
  2. Has the individual been involved in developing innovative courses or curricular changes?
  3. Has the individual developed novel teaching materials?
  4. Has the individual received visiting professorships?
  5. Has the individual given local national or international invited lectures?
  6. Does the individual participate in a leadership role in national organizations dedicated to medical or psychology education or to the promotion of education through local or national professional organizations?
  7. Has the individual made scholarly presentations in a specific area of expertise or on education and training at local or national meetings?
  8. Is the individual considered an academic leader within the medical school?
  9. Is the individual considered a national leader in medical education?
  10. Has the individual published original papers, chapters, or review articles in medical education or other areas of Psychiatry/Psychology?  Associate Professors in this track should have a minimum of 15 published articles in peer reviewed journals, with at least one half as firstor last author. For promotion to Professor, individuals should have a minimum of 30 peer reviewed articles. The development of novel curricula may substitute for publications. Furthermore chapters and text books that focus on medical education or provide education in specific areas of expertise may be considered equivalent to peer reviewed publications, if they are significant to the advancement of education and training in psychiatry or psychology.
  11. Does the individual serve as a reviewer on peer reviewed journals in medical education or those that promote learning?
  12. Has the individual served on the editorial board of academic journals?
  13. Has the individual received external grant funding to support educational activities?
  14. 14. Does the individual have additional areas of expertise?

C. Scientific Accomplishments:

  1. Has the individual established a well focused area of scientific expertise?
  2. Has the individual produced innovative scientific findings?
  3. Has the individual obtained extramural funding? If so, what is the quality of the funding?
  4. Has the funding led to a well established research program?
  5. Does the research funding support other investigators and trainees?
  6. Is the research program recognized nationally or internationally?
  7. Is the individual a member of key scientific societies in his or her area of expertise?
  8. Has the individual been in a leadership position in these societies?
  9. Has the individual been invited to present the findings of the research at national meetings or other medical schools or universities?
  10. Has the individual been invited to write review articles or book chapters in the area of expertise?
  11. Does the individual serve on editorial boards of scientific journals?
  12. Is the individual a reviewer for scientific journals?
  13. Has the individual presented scientific findings at national meetings?
  14. Has the individual published findings in peer reviewed journals?
  15. Have the publications been in high quality journals?
  16. Have the publications had an impact on the field?
  17. In your opinion, do the quality and number of publications merit promotion? In general clinician scientists will not have as many publications as scientists. As a guideline, clinician scientists who are seeking promotion to Associate Professor should have a minimum of 15 published articles with at least half as first or last author. Clinical scientists should have a minimum of 30 published articles for promotion to Professor. Scientists are individuals who spend full time in research activities and should have approximately 40 publications for consideration for promotion to Associate Professor and 60 for consideration for promotion to Professor. These publication guidelines are to be applied loosely, and lower numbers of peer reviewed articles are acceptable, provided they are of high quality and have had an impact on the field. In addition, some individuals who have adequate numbers of publications may not merit promotion based on the quality of the work.
  18. Service to the University and the Community. Consideration should be given to the faculty member’s involvement in Medical School and University activities, such as participation in committees, programs, and administrative work of the Medical School and the University Community, and affiliated institutions.
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