Clinical Track Pathways

Clinical Pathways and Guiding Principles

The University of Michigan Medical School strives to be one faculty dedicated to our missions using guiding principles of teamwork, integrity, caring and innovation to achieve excellence in all that we do.

Respecting and valuing the contributions of all faculty members is a central cultural value along with recognizing that all contributions are important to achieving our clinical, research and teaching missions.

Every faculty member should have a career development plan and associated mentoring that is reviewed and updated during their annual evaluations.

Promotions should signify that a faculty member has made important contributions to their field and profession. The rigor of the process reflects the strength of the institution.

Promotion criteria should be consistent, with recognized and respected standards (e.g., national contribution and reputation for Clinical Professors, regional contribution and reputation for Clinical Associate Professors).

As a part of the University of Michigan, the Medical School will continue to use a single “clinical track” but will recognize that there are multiple pathways for promotion possible within this track. Pathway identification will serve to facilitate faculty progress towards promotion and may be identified in the promotion materials to assist in the evaluation of the faculty member.

All clinical track appointment and promotions should recognize the achievements of individuals who have demonstrated:

  • Outstanding clinical work; teaching / educational contributions 


  • Contributions to their field or profession in scholarship / academic areas, including the scholarship of:
  • Education
  • Implementation
  • Quality improvement
  • Patient Safety
  • Service contributions will also be recognized

In recognition of the changing nature of scholarship / academic contributions in our tripartite mission in healthcare, the definition of scholarship and the criteria for external validation of contributions to the field or profession have been broadened.

Demonstrating Clinical Excellence

Clinical excellence should be considered a core requirement for promotion within the clinical track.  Possible metrics for assessment of clinical excellence could include:

  • National and professional standards for quality and safety
  • Consistency in meeting institutional standards for professionalism
  • Quality Data
  • OPPE/FPPE Information
  • Local/regional recognition 
  • Patient acknowledgements
  • Physician acknowledgements including letters noting the delivery of outstanding clinical care

Potential Pathways for Demonstrating Contributions to the Field

Several possible different pathways ("areas of excellence") for demonstrating contributions to the field have been identified, including but not limited to:

Clinician-Research Scholar

(Translational science, clinical research, health services research)

  • Peer-reviewed publications (both traditional and digital)
  • Book chapters, reviews (such as the “Clinics” series), Up to Date
  • Research funding
  • Participation in grant reviews
  • Clinical trial development, patient recruitment, leadership of trial site
  • Research consultancies with industry or other organizations
  • Participation in collaborative research
  • Patents
  • Presentations at regional and national meetings


  • Peer-reviewed publications (both traditional and digital)
  • Book chapters, reviews (such as the “Clinics” series), Up to Date
  • Teaching/educational evaluations reflective of regional or national impact
  • Innovative teaching/ educational practices
  • Teaching/ educational module development
  • Teaching/ educational publications/reviews
  • Participation in national guidelines or setting of standards
  • Patient and community education
  • Participation in ABMS boards or appropriate committees
  • Teaching/ educational courses at state, regional or national meetings
  • Teaching/educating through peer- reviewed social/ popular media
  • Creation and dissemination of innovative approaches to clinical care
  • Curriculum development

Clinician-Patient Safety / Quality Innovator

  • Outcomes and implementation science innovation
  • Development of professional quality guidelines and initiatives that have regional or national impact
  • Generation of performance data and performance goals through learning collaboratives
  • Development of best practices/innovative methods of care used more broadly
  • Lean patient safety/quality initiative leadership


Usually overlaps with one of the above pathways

  • Leadership of regional or national organizations or key committees or boards
  • Work with government organizations such as NIH, CDC, WHO as consultant or other role
  • Work with private foundations as consultant or other role
  • Community leadership activities on regional/national level
  • Outstanding service to a department, medical school, and/or the university that results in regional or national recognition


  • An opportunity for the faculty member and chair/section head/division chief to develop a pathway combining features of multiple pathways noted with clearly articulated goals and metrics.
  • To be used when combining features of multiple pathways

Clinical Pathways FAQ's

What is the purpose of the new clinical track pathways?

The pathways are designed as a development tool to help faculty who want to focus their careers, and to give examples and resources on how to do this. The pathways can serve as a way to design personal career goals and to be more creative by adding different components to your academic portfolio.

Does every faculty member on the clinical track have to “commit” to a certain pathway?

No, not everyone will fit into one of the pathways. There will be a portion of the faculty that will have an individualized path. This is similar to what has been the traditional approach to the clinical track; the portfolio may not be focused in one area, and could include teaching, service and scholarship. The pathways are primarily designed as a development tool to help faculty focus their careers, with suggestions to help you become more successful. 

I am a newer faculty member, should I choose one of the pathways?

The pathways are designed as a development tool to help faculty focus their careers with resources to assist them to be successful. Discuss your interests with your mentor or departmental leadership, so you can start working toward your career goals. If your goals don’t perfectly fit into one of the pathways, the Individualized Portfolio path might be your best choice.

Only one pathway should be chosen on MCV.  If the faculty has a focused pathway, they select that, otherwise, the individualized portfolio should be chosen. A one paragraph narrative should be added under this heading to the CV.     More extensive information will go into the clinical scholarly portfolio.

Examples are: Innovative teaching, educational practices, curriculum development that are not published nationally, patient and community education, teaching and education through peer‐reviewed social/popular media.

Additionally, we recognize that there are many faculty contributing to papers on which they are not named authors but are part of a group that collected data and is named on the paper.

Publications without named authorships, but significant involvement, is another category of scholarly contributions that can fall within this area.

Have there been changes to what is considered scholarship in the promotion and appointment process for clinical track faculty?

In addition to the traditional peer‐reviewed publications, chapters, review articles, Up‐to‐Date articles, and clinical guidelines that are published locally, are all now included within the category of scholarship.

Can I switch pathways?

Absolutely. The pathways are not designed to be static and often a new faculty member starts out with an idea of what their career will look like and then after a few years, find out there are other things in which they excel or are of interest to them. Discuss with your mentor to see what options there are within the department to change your career focus. Remember the pathways are not prescriptive but more of a tool to use to help with making career decisions.