About Appointments

Why is a Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) appointment important at MMC?

  • A TUSM appointment is required for all faculty participating in medical student education.
  • New, junior and transferring faculty expect an opportunity for advancement.
  • MMC’s academic “appointment profile” is a benchmark of our performance in faculty development, mentorship, academic achievement and efforts to improve diversity and inclusion.
  • TUSM appointment and promotion process can become an important tool in achieving individual and organizational academic goals.

Junior Appointments

  • This level of appointment is for new faculty or faculty who do not currently hold an academic appointment.
  • Requires TUSM CV Template.
  • These appointments are made directly by your chair/chief. Talk to your chair/chief to get your appointment initiated.
  • Link here for the Clinical Noncompensated Form 2019: Department chair/chiefs are responsible for completing this form.

Senior Appointments

For senior level promotions, use the grid below and simply mouse over the track you are interested in for a brief description. Click on that track for more information, including a printable checklist to see if you meet the criteria.

Tracks

This is appropriate for the majority of our faculty – those who are primarily clinicians and perform limited academic work. Someone who practices and teaches in clinic or on our inpatient services intermittently would be a good example. With this group, the two senior ranks are Clinical Associate Professor and Clinical Professor. No prototypes to consider – thus, a more simple process.
Most will not be in a research track, but for those pursuing this track, please refer to the TUSM Clinical Appointment and Promotion Tables if you feel this fits your experience.
This is appropriate for a clinician on an academic career track in teaching, investigation and/or leadership. Examples would be clerkship and program directors, those conducting scholarly work, those pursuing leadership positions. These candidates do need to select a prototype: Clinician-Investigator, Clinician-Educator, Clinician Scholar, or Investigator-Educator.

Clinical Track

Clinical Track, Clinical Associate Professor

Do you have 5 years or more as an assistant professor at TUSM or equivalent institution? The majority of clinicians will fall into this track. Are you primarily a clinician and perform limited academic work? Examples include someone who practices and teaches in clinic or on our inpatient services intermittently. No prototypes to consider.

Clinical Track, Clinical Professor

Do you have 5 years or more as an associate professor at TUSM or equivalent institution? The majority of clinicians will fall into this track. Are you primarily a clinician and perform limited academic work? Examples include someone who practices and teaches in clinic or intermittently in inpatient services. No prototypes to consider.

Research Track

Research Track, Research Associate Professor

Do you have 5 years or more as an assistant professor at TUSM or equivalent institution? Your primary focus is research.

Research Track, Research Professor

Do you have 5 years or more as an associate professor at TUSM or equivalent institution? Your primary focus is research.

Unmodified Track

Unmodified Track, Investigator / Educator, Associate Professor

Do you have 5 years or more as an assistant professor at TUSM or equivalent institution? It is recognized that some individuals do not have a traditional clinical practice but do contribute substantially to education and research within their field of expertise.

Unmodified Track, Clinician Educator, Associate Professor

Do you have 5 years or more as an assistant professor at TUSM or equivalent institution? Are you a clinician on an academic career track in teaching and/or leadership? Examples include clerkship and program directors.

Unmodified Track, Clinician Scholar, Associate Professor

Do you have 5 years or more as an assistant professor at TUSM or equivalent institution? Are you a clinician on an academic career track in teaching, investigation and/or leadership? Examples include clinicians conducting scholarly work.

Unmodified Track, Clinician Investigator, Associate Professor

Do you have 5 years or more as an Assistant Professor at TUSM or equivalent institution? Are you a clinician on an academic career track in investigation and/or leadership? Examples include clinician scientists conducting basic or clinical research.

Unmodified Track, Investigator / Educator, Professor

Do you have 5 years or more as an associate professor at TUSM or equivalent institution? It is recognized that some individuals do not have a traditional clinical practice but do contribute substantially to education and research within their field of expertise.

Unmodified Track, Clinician Educator, Professor

Do you have 5 years or more as an Associate Professor at TUSM or equivalent institution? Are you a clinician on an academic career track in teaching and/or leadership? Examples see above for C-E.

Unmodified Track, Clinician Scholar, Professor

Do you have 5 years or more as an Associate Professor at TUSM or equivalent institution? Are you a clinician on an academic career track in teaching, investigation and/or leadership? Examples include see above for C-S.

Unmodified Track, Clinician Investigator, Professor

Do you have 5 years or more as an Associate Professor at TUSM or equivalent institution? Are you a clinician on an academic career track in investigation and/or leadership? Examples include see above for clinician investigator.

FAQ

Why is academic promotion important?

There are many reasons why academic promotion is important. For institutions like ours, advancement is important because it allows us to attract and retain outstanding clinicians, educators, and trainees, who will contribute to our scholarly environment and the delivery of high-quality clinical care. Our institutional portfolio of academic ranks is a marker of our academic success, bringing prestige to our institution, departments and specialties. It helps us to document achievement of ACGME requirements, ensuring the continued success of our clinical training programs. In addition, tracking academic rankings provides us with an opportunity to examine important diversity-related initiatives such as the promotion of female faculty and faculty of color. For individual faculty members, promotion can provide access to grant and funding opportunities, lends more weight to the letters we write for our students and trainees, and can be an important faculty development activity that provides an opportunity for reflection on educational practice.

My primary focus is on the delivery of clinical care. Should I still work towards promotion?

Yes! Tufts takes a wide view of scholarship and values contributions across clinical, educational, administrative, and more traditional investigative domains. Tufts has a variety of tracks and prototypes designed to best match each faculty members’ portfolio of work.

What tracks are available to me?

Tufts uses a three track system: Clinical, Research, and Unmodified. The three-track system is not intended to confer differential academic prestige. Rather, it is designed to best accommodate and represent the varied professional portfolios of the clinical faculty. Faculty whose work focuses on clinical service and teaching are typically on the Clinical track. Those who are engaged in clinical service and related teaching but who also are involved in significant academic or scholarly work and publication are often placed on the Unmodified track. Those involved almost exclusively in research may be best matched on the Research track. Your Chief or Chair, along with their Tufts counterpart can help you determine the best match for your particular portfolio of work.

What are prototypes?

Faculty on the Unmodified track must choose a prototype, which is designed to reflect the candidate’s two strongest focus areas. Prototypes include: clinician/investigator, clinician/educator, clinician/scholar, and investigator/educator.

How do I know which track and prototype are right for me?

Promotion criteria vary based upon track and prototype and are available in guidance documents from Tufts. These documents are available on the MITE website. The website also has a unique self-assessment tool that candidates can use to evaluate their portfolio against the various prototypes. Your Chief or Chair, along with their Tufts counterpart can help you determine the best match for your particular portfolio of work.

How long should I be in my current rank before I seek academic promotion?

Within the Tufts system, you must have been in your current rank for five years before applying for an academic promotion. In EXTREMELY RARE cases, Tufts may consider a promotion request prior to five years in rank; however, we do not recommend this approach and do not know of a successful MMC promotion request using this option.

How do I know what materials I need?

Requirements vary based upon the rank and track requested. All faculty requesting promotion to a senior rank (Associate or Full Professor) must submit a full educational portfolio. For those requesting a junior appointment (Instructor, Assistant Professor), requirements are less stringent. For all candidates, a current curriculum vitae in Tufts format is a central requirement. Details, templates, and a portfolio checklist are available on the MITE website at: https://staging-mitemmc.kinsta.cloud/academic-promotion/.

Where can I get help with the promotions process?

We have many supportive resources available to assist you with the promotions process. Please visit the MITE website to view forms, templates, a readiness-assessment tool, information on the tracks and prototypes, and more. Your Chief or Chair are also important resources and you should involve them in your process early. Look for peer-supported academic promotion work groups across the Institution. Members of the Academy at MITE are excellent sources of mentoring. Administrative support can be requested through Medical Education at 207-662-7060 or mededuc@mmc.org.

Where can I find templates to help with preparing my documents?

Templates for Tufts promotions documents are available on the MITE website at: insert new link and also at the Tufts Office of Faculty Affairs website at: https://medicine.tufts.edu/faculty-staff/appointments-promotions.

What kinds of referee letters do I need?

The number and type of referee letters varies by rank requested. In general, candidates will need three types of letters: peer letters, letters from current or former trainees, and letters from external referees. Peer letters can be from current or former peers and should be written by peers who are familiar with your body of work. Trainee letters are from current or former trainees at any level: undergraduate, resident, fellow, post-doctoral, and so on. External referee letters are more challenging. They should be provided by people who are considered to be an ‘arm’s length’ from the candidate: they cannot be current or former peers, research or scholarly partners, people you have published with, or people from inside the Tufts system. They can be from people who are familiar with your work or reputation, people you have loosely served with on a national committee, or people who have invited you to speak at their program or conference. These letters can only be provided by individuals who are at or above the rank you are requesting. More information on letters can be found on the letter-specific FAQ document, located on the MITE website.

How do I get the letters?

You will work with your Chief or Chair to develop a list of potential letter writers using a template from Tufts, available on the MITE website. Once complete, your Chief or Chair (or their designee) will reach out to request letters from these individuals; candidates should NOT request letters directly. The letter tracking template is updated by the Chief or Chair and becomes a part of your promotion dossier.

What happens to my materials once they leave me?

When all of your materials are prepared and your letters are returned, they move to an internal review process to ensure they are complete and correctly formatted. A letter from your Tufts Chair is added and they then are passed on to the Tufts Office of Faculty Affairs for an additional review. The complete dossier moves to a subcommittee of CLINPAC, the Clinical Promotions and Appointment committee at Tufts. Following subcommittee review, the full CLINPAC votes on each promotion. Their recommendations are reviewed by the medical school Dean and then by the Provost for promotions to full Professor.

What is the CLINPAC and how does it work?

The Clinical Faculty Appointment and Promotion Committee (CLINPAC) deals with appointments and promotions to the Associate or full Professor level on all 3 tracks. Appointments at the level of Lecturer, Instructor, and Assistant Professor, regardless of Track, as well as all adjunct, visiting, and emeritus appointments, are processed directly by the Office of Academic Affairs and are not the concern of CLINPAC. More information about CLINPAC can be found at: https://medicine.tufts.edu/sites/default/files/fh_clinpac.pdf.

How long should I anticipate the promotions process will take?

Once candidates have submitted their full dossier, promotion requests to senior ranks (Associate and Full Professor) can take up to 1 year, provided that materials are correctly completed and no modifications are necessary. The process of preparing materials and obtaining the required letters varies depending upon the candidate’s ability to complete the necessary materials and the speed of the chosen letter-writers. Most candidates work on their documents for 8 to 12 months prior to submission.

How can I find out the status of my dossier once it leaves MMC?

After the dossier leaves MMC, the Department of Medical Education is in close communication with Tufts and will keep you updated as information becomes available. Please bear in mind that review of junior rank promotion requests can take up to 6 months and review of senior rank promotion requests can take up to 1 year and inquiring before that time is not advised.

What should I do to begin the process?

We suggest reviewing the materials and information on the MITE website, completing the readiness assessment, updating your curriculum vitae to Tufts format, and meeting with your Chief or Chair as first steps in beginning the promotions process.

Glossary of Terms

Academic Rank

The system of academic ranks is used to classify faculty members in a hierarchical fashion. At Tufts, the principal ranks in the Unmodified Track are Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor. The equivalent ranks in the Research Track are Assistant Research Professor, Associate Research Professor and Research Professor while in the Clinical Track, the principal ranks are Assistant Clinical Professor, Associate Clinical Professor, and Clinical Professor. Additional, entry level ranks are Instructor and Lecturer.

Appointment

An academic appointment connects a qualified and authorized individual to an academic title at a particular institution for a designated period of time. Assignment of an academic title is based on a set of criteria, such as academic responsibilities and professional achievement.

Clinical Non-Compensated Faculty Appointment Form

This form can be found on the MMC MITE website and must be filled out by the faculty member’s Chair as part of the process of proposing a candidate’s appointment or promotion. The form must be signed and dated by the Chair and the proposed rank/track must match the proposed rank/track specified in the Chair’s proposal letter.

Clinical Track

Within the Tufts system, the Clinical Track is reserved for clinical faculty who direct the majority of their professional effort to clinical service, but who also make contributions to teaching and education. Someone who practices and teaches in clinic or on our inpatient services intermittently would be a good example. With this track, the full range of academic ranks (Clinical Instructor, Clinical Assistant Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, Clinical Professor) are available. There are no prototypes to consider on the Clinical Track and promotion criteria are designed to reflect the more clinical scope of work for these faculty members.

CLINPAC

The Clinical Faculty Appointment and Promotion Committee (CLINPAC) is the Tufts standing committee that evaluates faculty candidates against the Tufts promotion criteria. Members are elected by the general faculty and serve for three years. CLINPAC receives candidate dossiers to review from the Tufts Office of Faculty Affairs. Each dossier first undergoes Subcommittee, then Full Committee review prior to a vote and recommendation to the Dean.

Dossier

The dossier is an extensive set of materials that document the many ways in which a candidate meets each of the appointment or promotion criteria set forth by Tufts. Depending upon the requested rank and track, dossier requirements may vary. The final packet of assembled dossier materials is ultimately sent from MMC to the Tufts Office of Faculty Affairs for review.

External Referee

External referees are outside faculty who hold the same rank or above that is being sought by the faculty member pursuing promotion to a senior level appointment. The referee agrees to write a letter of recommendation at the request of the candidate’s Chief or Chair, taking into account the specific Tufts criteria for promotion. Candidates themselves should not reach out to potential external referees and should not have had a close working relationship with the referee. Specific guidance is available on the MITE website. Internal referee letters, from the candidate’s peers, are also required as are letters of support from current or former trainees.

Junior Appointment

Junior appointments are appointments to earlier career ranks including Instructor and Assistant Professor. These may be unmodified track appointments (designated as Instructor or Assistant Professor), research track appointments (Research Instructor, Research Assistant Professor), or clinical track appointments (Clinical Instructor, Clinical Assistant Professor).

Promotion

Describes the process of advancement for faculty who currently hold a Tufts academic appointment.

Prototype

Faculty on the Unmodified Track must choose a prototype. Prototypes are designed to reflect the candidate’s two strongest focus areas. Available prototypes include: Clinician/Investigator, Clinician/Educator, Clinician/Scholar, and Investigator/Educator.  Promotion criteria and expectations vary from prototype to prototype, reflecting differences in faculty concentration of efforts.

Research Track

At Tufts, the Research Track is reserved for faculty who direct nearly all of their professional effort to investigation. These faculty members often do not provide clinical service. In addition, although they may participate in teaching and educational programs, their contributions in these areas may be limited, or may be focused to research-oriented activities. The full range of academic ranks is available to those on the Research Track (Research Instructor, Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor, Research Professor). There are no prototypes to consider on the Research Track and promotion criteria are designed to reflect the scope of work for these faculty members.

Senior Appointment

Within the Tufts system, Senior Appointments are at the level of Associate Professor or Professor across all tracks (Unmodified, Research, and Clinical).

Teaching Portfolio

The Teaching Portfolio is provides comprehensive documentation of each faculty member’s contributions to teaching and education. This important document requires a Tufts-specific format and includes undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education activities. All candidates for a senior-level promotion must submit a Teaching Portfolio as a component of their promotion dossier.

Unmodified Track

This track is appropriate for faculty on an academic career track with primary foci in teaching, investigation, clinical service, and/or leadership. Examples would be clerkship and program directors, those conducting scholarly work, those pursuing leadership positions. Unmodified Track candidates do need to select a prototype and promotion criteria are specific to the central foci of each prototype.

Visiting Appointment

An appointment as a visiting member of the faculty recognizes the contributions of scholars from other institutions who serve at the Tufts University School of Medicine for a period not exceeding two years. Very often, the visiting appointment is used as a transition for senior faculty members joining our Institution from outside while a process for transitioning the faculty’s primary appointment is identified.

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