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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 advisor. Further guidance on promotion preparedness may be obtained by contacting the Dept of pediatrics Office of Faculty Development at

Promotion Tracks

Frequently Asked Questions about the Clinical Promotion Pathway

 What is the Clinical Promotion Pathway of the PFF?

All physicians in the Pediatric Faculty Foundation of Lurie Children's have an academic appointment through the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. As of 2015, Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) policy is that all physicians based solely at outreach hospitals are appointed as Health System Clinicians. Faculty who practice at the main campus have an appointment within the Feinberg Clinician-Educator promotion track (Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor).

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 Promotion Pathway provides an alternative for clinically intensive faculty members who do not qualify for advancement in the conventional academic promotion system.

This Lurie-based program was developed to provide a promotion pathway for Health System Clinicians, or for Clinical-Educators (usually instructors or assistant professors) who devote 90-100% of their effort to clinical duties. 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 Promotion 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?

Please contact for a checklist and instructions. Faculty will apply for advancement by providing the following:

  • A complete CV, submitted in the NUFSM 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 at; 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 Promotion Pathway process?

Applications open in early June. The submission deadline is July 12; letters of support are due July 19. Applications should be reviewed with the Candidate’s Division Head for clarity and quality before being submitted electronically to 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. Successful promotions with this submission cycle will follow the "Current Model" of compensation adjustment. Beginning the next cycle (for promotions approved in 2022), there will be a change in the way the salary increases are administered to better align with the model for academic promotions. There will no longer be an increase in salary from Instructor to Assistant Clinician. When being promoted from Assistant to Associate Clinician, you will receive a 10% increase in your base salary. When being promoted from Associate to Master Clinician, you will receive a 10% increase in your base salary. Please note: for those who have previously advanced on this promotion path, you will be grandfathered into the previous salary adjustment schedule. The table below further explains the breakdown:

Promotion Pathway New Model beginning 2022 Current Model
Instructor to Assistant Clinician 0% 5%
Assistant Clinician to Associate Clinician 10% 5%
Associate Clinician to Master Clinician 10% 10%

 How can I learn more about the Clinical Promotion Pathway?

Your Division Head and site leader will be familiar with the PFF Clinical Promotion Pathway advancement process. If you have questions about your career path, you may contact to be connected with an advisor for a promotion-readiness review session. Please feel free to contact or Dr. Elizabeth Alpern ( with any additional questions.

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