The number of clinical faculty promotions for the Keck School of Medicine of USC faculty has tripled since 2014. This increase is the result of a project undertaken by the Office of Faculty Affairs to improve the processes used to promote faculty. This has led to two new ways for faculty to successfully advance in their careers: the practitioner track and the clinician educator track.

“These two new tracks,” explained Judy Garner, PhD, vice dean for faculty affairs, “are for clinician educators and practitioners. The first criterion necessary to be placed on one of these tracks is that you must spend 85 percent of your time either doing clinical work and mentoring trainees for clinician educator, or 85 percent of your time performing clinical practice for practitioner.”

These specialized tracks are chosen by faculty primarily based on the profile of their activities and the area in which they demonstrate their greatest strength.

Recognition of excellence in clinical practice, educational ability and leadership are highlighted, as well as assessment of the candidate’s track record with students, the impact of their work and leadership positions they have held. Anonymous 360 degree surveys were developed to get a complete picture of their performance.

The addition of these tracks has been very successful. The number of clinical track promotions increased from 31 in the 2014-15 year, to 93 in the 2016-17 year. The number of promotions also rose for faculty members on existing tracks. The result: the school has reduced the number of clinical assistant professors from 842 in 2014 to 510 today.

Garner’s team is not taking this success for granted. Outreach to departments to help encourage faculty to actively pursue growth continues. “We love to talk to departments about the appointments and get people excited about doing this. The school is going in the right direction, and we are looking forward to continuing this tremendous growth.”

— Amanda Busick