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Recruitment and Appointment Information

College of Medicine Policy: Definition of Faculty Ranks Expand answer

Purpose

This policy provides guidance on the qualifications necessary for appointment to academic faculty ranks at the College of Medicine.

Overview

All faculty members in the College of Medicine are appointed by the Dean of the College of Medicine and hold a primary appointment in one of the academic departments of the College. Academic ranks are defined by Penn State University AC21i which mandates that some individual units including the College of Medicine must define ranks in internal policies and have a clear rationale for those ranks.

The College of Medicine has used professorial ranks for many non-tenure line faculty members since inception. Further, in many departments, the criteria for promotion for non-tenure line and tenure track faculty are similar. Accordingly, based on the culture and practice in the College of Medicine, the professorial ranks for non-tenure line and tenure track faculty members will remain the same.

Employed Faculty

The College of Medicine has two tracks for faculty members employed by either The Pennsylvania State University or Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center: the tenure track and the non-tenure (fixed-term) line. Determination of track is made at the time of hire.

Academic Rank

Ranks for tenure-line faculty

The tenure-line is available to both basic science and clinical faculty.

  1. Assistant Professor – The assistant professor must possess a terminal degree or its equivalent in organized research or professional practice; must have demonstrated ability as a teacher or research worker; and must have shown definite evidence of growth in scholarly, artistic, or professional achievement. For all clinicians, appointment as an Assistant Professor requires meeting American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or equivalent requirements to enter the process for the appropriate specialty board certification or the equivalent. The faculty member must have demonstrated the potential to teach medical students, physician assistant students, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, or residents and the willingness to participate in service capacities in the University.
  2. Associate Professor – The associate professor must possess the same qualifications as the assistant professor, but must also demonstrate evidence of an established regional reputation in scholarly, artistic, or professional achievement including the dissemination of the results of that scholarly activity; establish mastery and independence in their field as demonstrated by acknowledgement of their work by his/her peers. For the clinician this shall also include appropriate ABMS or equivalent board certification, establishment of a regional reputation in their discipline as manifested by membership in regional and national professional specialty societies, and presentation at local, regional and national meetings.
  3. Professor – The professor should possess the same qualifications as the associate professor, but must also provide evidence of a marked capacity for research or creative work and of leadership in his or her field of specialization. This rank should be reserved for persons of proven stature in teaching, research, and/or patient care (if applicable). Evidence of a national reputation can be demonstrated by membership in study sections, advisory groups, prestigious professional societies, as well as the receipt of awards, prizes, and other notable scholarly achievements including national recognition for leadership in the College of Medicine or the hospital. A clinician can also be recognized for superior scholarly accomplishments in their clinical specialty.

Ranks for non-tenure (fixed-term) line faculty

The non-tenure (fixed-term) line is available to both basic science and clinical faculty.

  1. Instructor – An instructor must possess at least a master’s degree or its equivalent, or be an active candidate for a terminal degree, in an academic field related to his/her teaching specialization.
  2. Researcher – A researcher must possess at least a master’s degree or its equivalent, or be an active candidate for a terminal degree, in an academic field related to his/her research specialization.
  3. Assistant Professor – The assistant professor must possess a terminal degree or its equivalent in an academic field related to his/her teaching specialization; must have demonstrated ability as a teacher and/or researcher; and must have shown definite evidence of professional growth, scholarship, and/or mastery of subject matter. For all clinicians, appointment as an Assistant Professor requires meeting American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or equivalent requirements to enter the process for the appropriate specialty board certification or the equivalent. The faculty member must have demonstrated the potential to teach medical students, physician assistant students, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, or residents and the willingness to participate in service capacities in the University.
  4. Associate Professor – The associate professor must possess the same qualifications as the assistant professor, but must also demonstrate evidence of an established regional reputation in scholarly, artistic, or professional achievement; perform of scholarly activity and disseminate the results of that activity; establish mastery and independence in their field as demonstrated by acknowledgement of their work by his/her peers. For the clinician this shall also include appropriate ABMS or equivalent board certification. Evidence of a regional reputation in their discipline can be demonstrated by membership in regional and national professional specialty societies, and presentation at local, regional and national meetings.
  5. Professor – In addition to the characteristics of associate professor, the professor should provide evidence of a national or international reputation and marked capacity for creative work and of leadership in his or her field of specialization. This rank should be reserved for persons of proven stature in teaching, research, and patient care (if applicable). Evidence of a national reputation can be demonstrated by membership in study sections, advisory groups, prestigious professional societies, as well as the receipt of awards, prizes, and other notable scholarly achievements including national recognition for leadership in the College of Medicine or the hospital. A clinician can also be recognized for superior scholarly accomplishments in their clinical specialty.

Professor of Practice

The professor of practice title is defined by Penn State University AC21i as follows.

The professor of practice title is limited to those individuals who are non-tenure track faculty who may not have had the traditional academic background that is typical of faculty as they move through the professorial ranks. The title of professor of practice should be reserved for persons who have accumulated a decade or more of high level and leadership experience in the private or public sectors outside the academy that would provide a unique background and wealth of knowledge that is of particular value as it is shared with the University’s students and other faculty. Prior to an offer being extended to an individual being considered for the professor of practice title, the appropriate dean or academic administrator shall consult with, and receive approval from, the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.

Volunteer (Adjunct) Faculty

These faculty members provide educational or research services for the College of Medicine, but are not directly remunerated by The Pennsylvania State University or by Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for these services. Their faculty titles include the prefix “Adjunct”.ii Ranks for volunteer faculty include Adjunct Instructor, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor, and Adjunct Professor.

“Adjunct” appointments for clinicians are for those who perform educational or research services for the College of Medicine without remuneration, and for basic scientists who perform educational or research services for the College of Medicine without remuneration.

When an individual is appointed as a “Adjunct” faculty member, the determination of rank is based on prior academic experience and credentials in the academic areas of teaching, research, service, and patient care. If the individual has held no prior academic appointment, the initial appointment will be at the rank of Adjunct Assistant Professor. Documentation of Board certification is required for physicians.

Emeritus Faculty

Emeritus faculty at the College of Medicine are appointed in recognition of sustained meritorious academic service to the University. Eligibility, award, and privileges of Emeritus rank is governed by Penn State Policy AC25.

Faculty Recruitment Process Expand answer

Prior to initiating the faculty recruitment process, approval for the faculty position is required by the Faculty and Clinical Workforce Committee (FCWC). For instructions, forms and questions related to FCWC, contact Tara Byerly at tbyerly1@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or 717-531-0003, ext. 282648.

Advertising for faculty positions should specify whether the faculty position is a tenure-track or fixed-term position (see University Policy AC-13). When a candidate for the position has been identified and the Department Chair is ready to make an offer, an offer letter is prepared and a hiring packet is uploaded to PawPrint for approval by signatories, including the Dean, before a formal offer letter is sent.

See details on the basic science faculty recruitment approval routing process here.

See the immediate tenure application process here.

Recruitment Resources Expand answer