Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Pediatrics
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Promotion & Tenure

The Department of Pediatrics Office of Faculty Development (OFD) offers promotion planning, application and individual promotion review. We also provide an optional review of curricula vitae for style and readiness prior to submission as part of the promotions packet and review.

Faculty are encouraged to regularly assess their promotion preparation, planning and readiness by meeting with their mentor or an OFD coach. Further guidance on promotion preparedness may be obtained by contacting us.

Promotion Tracks

Most individuals joining the Department of Pediatrics will be appointed to the regular faculty track at Feinberg. Promotion on all regular faculty tracks requires evidence of scholarly activity, although the amount and type of such activity varies for the different tracks. 

Investigator Track: This is the only tenure track available to Feinberg faculty. Faculty on this track typically spend all or most of their time on research activity. Their scholarly productivity should be commensurate with the level of time commitment.

Clinician-Educator Track: Faculty who do not spend the majority of their time in scholarly activity are typically on this track. For promotion, they must show excellence in their emphasis on two of the following four domains: clinical, education, research and health services management. Division heads, faculty mentors or coaches from the OFD can work with individual faculty members to help develop domains-related activities appropriate to their skills and interests.

Research Track: This track is for faculty members who will spend all of their time in research, without a commitment to other activities in the department or the medical school. They may either be supported by another faculty member or generate their own external funding for their work. This position is not tenure eligible.

Team Scientist Track: This track is for non-clinical faculty who work as part of a group and contribute to the education and service missions of the school. Faculty members on this track focus their activity in either research or education.

Health Systems Clinicians & the Clinical Career Pathway

Certain Northwestern faculty members provide clinical service to Feinberg but are not on the regular faculty tracks. These individuals, including most faculty members working at Lurie Children’s outreach sites, are appointed to the Feinberg faculty as health services clinicians.

Some Department of Pediatrics faculty members are employed to focus 90 to 100 percent of their time on clinical activities. Since they are unlikely to have time to develop a strong scholarly portfolio, they will not achieve promotion on the conventional promotion tracks. Outreach faculty who are employed as health services clinicians by the Pediatric Faculty Foundation (PFF) are not eligible for promotion on the regular faculty tracks. The Department of Pediatrics has developed an internal "clinical career pathway" in order to provide opportunities for advancement to individuals in these groups. Applications are solicited annually by the department.

More information regarding the criteria and process for promotion on this clinical pathway can be found in the FAQ section below.Please contact our office to schedule individual career development counseling. We can assist you in pursuing any of these professional paths.

Frequently Asked Questions

 What is the clinical career pathway of the PFF?

All physicians in the PFF of Lurie Children's have an academic appointment through the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Traditionally, the Department of Pediatrics has used the medical school’s annual academic promotion system to award stepwise career advancement for all physicians.

The PFF clinical career pathway provides an alternative for clinically intensive faculty members who do not qualify for advancement in the conventional academic promotion system. It is a stepwise system of advancement based on an objective review process and is designed to recognize and reward the value that our clinical faculty members bring to their work environments, particularly those who exhibit productivity beyond fulfilling basic clinical shift requirements. 

 Who qualifies for advancement in the clinical career pathway?

The faculty member will have a career development plan and/or job description that is focused primarily on clinical activities and therefore unlikely to lead to promotion in the Feinberg system. Faculty will hold appointments as a health system clinician, instructor or, occasionally, assistant or associate professor, at a minimum of a 0.5 FTE and will devote 90 to 100 percent of their effort to clinical duties. Participation in educational activities for medical students, other trainees and other hospital staff members is expected of all faculty members and will be viewed favorably. Consideration of advancement will be possible at predetermined intervals:

  • Assistant clinician (recognizes commitment): Generally requires at least three years of service in the Lurie Children's system; fellowship‐trained faculty members may be considered after one year
  • Associate clinician (recognizes activity/innovation): At least four years at rank of assistant clinician
  • Master clinician (recognizes leadership): At least five years at rank of associate clinician

It is important to note that beyond the rank of assistant clinician, advancement on the clinical ladder is not a function simply of time served and will require documentation of programmatic contributions beyond direct patient care. These could be educational, clinical, quality or other activities.

 How do I apply?

Faculty will apply for advancement by providing the following:

  • Cover page with applicant’s name, division, location, type of service at clinical site, current responsibilities and start date
  • A complete CV, submitted in a uniform, templated style
  • Personal statement (250-500 words), summarizing the applicant’s accomplishments, why the applicant meets criteria for advancement and describing short- and long-term career goals
  • Letters of support solicited by the faculty member and sent directly to the committee staff; should address the applicant’s clinical skills and contributions, communication and consultative abilities and other mission-based contributions that exceed basic clinical duties.
  • For advancement to assistant clinician, two letters will be expected; for further advancement, at least three letters are expected from referees such as the site leader, co‐workers, administrative leaders or other individuals who can attest to the applicant’s qualifications

 What is the timeline for this year’s clinical career pathway process?

Applications will be solicited in mid-April, with a submission deadline in early June. Applications should be reviewed with the candidate’s division head for clarity and quality before being submitted by email to the Department of Pediatrics. They will be reviewed by the committee over the summer.

 How will applications be reviewed?

The advancement cycle will occur annually. A departmental faculty committee will review the candidate’s qualifications and vote on each application. Documentation of activities is important. For example, if the candidate led a quality activity, was a document produced describing the impact on patient care? If an abstract was presented at a national meeting, where and when was it presented? If the candidate participated in teaching, what was her role and how did it compare with those of others in the group? What were the productivity indices to support the candidate’s clinical contribution? The materials themselves do not have to be submitted, but data clearly defining accomplishments and activities that are described in the application will help support the candidate’s case for appointment/promotion. Note that active leadership, rather than general participation, in a group activity will be expected for promotion beyond the level of assistant clinician.

 What are the benefits of advancement?

Promotions will be made public following completion of the review cycle and will become effective after the committee's work is complete and recommendations are reviewed by the chair. Base salaries for all faculty members of the Department of Pediatrics reflect annual data captured by the Association of Administrators in Academic Pediatrics (AAAP), a national database for academic pediatricians. Entry‐level salaries will be determined by AAAP compensation data for the assistantprofessor rank. Salary increases after successful advancement will be also be based on specialty‐specific AAAP data for higher faculty ranks.

We will review your expected salary increment upon request. Salaries are determined by a number of factors within and outside of the department, and salary supplements will be provided at the discretion of the chair for major, department‐directed administrative roles (e.g., medical director, site leader).

 How can I learn more about the clinical career pathway?

Your division head and site leader will be familiar with the advancement process and can discuss the review process and timeline with you. If you have additional questions, please feel free to email Dr. Schnaper.
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