Appointment and Promotion Criteria

Teaching, scholarship/research, and service are three areas examined in all appointment and promotion considerations. As we are a Medical School, contributions to health care and human welfare are also a substantial area of consideration for many of the faculty. Interdisciplinary work is a core value of a medical school and needs to be accounted for in the evaluative process. Some individuals of great value to our institution have truly outstanding performance and contributions in one area when compared with the norm of faculty performance in that area, yet the performance in other areas may be satisfactory only. A recommendation for appointment, promotion, or the award of tenure to a nominee with such an asymmetrical mix of qualifications must be justified by the department chair. In all cases, the minimum requirements must be met. Longevity in a rank or position is not sufficient evidence of accomplishment or merit for promotion

Promotion in faculty rank is given by the Medical School and University of Michigan only after a lengthy process of evaluation involving your academic department, external evaluators, committees within the Medical School, the Dean — and for higher levels of the faculty ladder, the EVPMA, the Provost, and the President. Senior-level promotions on the Instructional Track require further approval by the Board of Regents.

Success on the instructional track is having a national and even international reputation for scholarship, teaching and service. 


Essential qualifications for appointment or promotion are the ability to teach one’s professional area of knowledge to relevant learning groups. Critical elements to be evaluated include experience, knowledge of subject matter, skill in presentation, interest in students, ability to stimulate youthful minds, capacity for cooperation, mentorship, and enthusiastic devotion to teaching. A teaching portfolio helps convey the scope of instructional accomplishment. The full responsibility of the teacher as a guide and friend extends beyond the walls of the classroom, laboratory, or clinical arena into other phases of the life of the student as a member of the University and world community. It also involves the duty of initiating and improving educational methods both within and outside the faculty member’s department. Outcomes of instruction in the form of teaching evaluations can be described. Pedagogical research and funding are strong evidence of teaching expertise. The spectrum of instruction spans the gamut from premedical students and graduate students to established practitioners.

Scholarship and Research

All Instructional Track faculty must be individuals of scholarly ability and achievement. Scholarship may be categorized in terms of the scholarship of discovery (basic research), scholarship of integration, scholarship of application, and scholarship of education. The University of Michigan is a research university committed to extending and understanding the knowledge base of humanity. Accomplishment in scholarship is typically demonstrated by the quality and quantity of published and other creative work. Interdisciplinary work, success in training graduate and professional students (as attested to by academic/research positions obtained), participation and leadership in professional associations, and editing of professional journals are measures of success and stature in scholarship. Peer reviewed papers and grant funding are strong evidence of scholarship with high impact. Independent and peer-reviewed funding is the norm in research- based careers. There should be a strong prediction of continued excellence throughout the faculty member’s professional career.


Service may consist of organizational service in the Medical School and University, in the public sector, or in the national organizations of a faculty member’s peer group. Service may include participation in committee work and other administrative responsibilities, counseling, internal review boards, and special training programs within the Medical School and University. The University also anticipates that many of its instructional faculty will render extramural services to other schools, industry, relevant professional organizations, governmental agencies, and the public at large. These services may be paid (within University guidelines), advisory, or volunteered. Organizational and volunteer services are of importance, although given less weight in promotion and appointment decisions than are teaching, scholarship, and clinical activities, when relevant to career.

Health Care/Clinical

Many faculty have a professional role related to health care, generally in terms of clinical responsibility, teaching or research. Competence is expected at entry levels in the faculty ladder and excellence is expected at the higher levels. Excellence is evidenced by documentation from independent authorities in the relevant field, regional reputation, and published work of clinical successes, innovations, or insights.

Some examples of success on the instructional track are:

  • A faculty member that is highly sought-after to serve on panels in their field of expertise.
  • An invited professor at peer institutions.
  • Serving on editorial boards of respected journals.
  • Ad-hoc reviewer of NIH grants.
  • Ability to garner invitations to speak nationally and internationally.
  • Holding a leadership position for a national organization.

If promotion is a priority, then focus should be on all areas of the academic promotion process with a balanced portfolio. Fundamental to the success of instructional track faculty is the importance of national presence and reputation.

New Appointment vs. Promotion for Clinical Lecturers

The Clinical Lecturer role is a time-limited (4 years) appointment in the Medical School. 

To move onto one of the 3 faculty tracks, a Clinical Lecturer would go through a new appointment process (likely to become an Assistant Professor), rather than the promotions process described in this section.