Career Paths & Guidelines to Advancement

  1. Tenure and Non-Tenure Tracks: This section provides a brief general discussion of career pathways and what a new faculty member at the junior or mid-career levels needs to do in order to succeed in his/her faculty position.

    1. Building Your Academic Career: General Considerations
    2. Promotion and Tenure Acquisition Process
  2. Research
  3. Promotion, Tenure, and Initial Appointments Guidelines
  4. Department of Pediatrics Policies and Mechanisms for Implementing the Guidelines
  5. The UTHSCSA eTalus (electronic curriculum vitae)


A.1. Building Your Academic Career: General Considerations

Through the process of seeking and negotiating a new faculty position in academic medicine, a faculty candidate is striving to find the best opportunity for a successful career. This negotiated career plan for personal success always occurs within a much larger and multi-layered context. When negotiating the position with the faculty candidate, a Division Chief is not only seeking someone who will succeed personally, but who will fit into the Division quite well and facilitate reaching or exceeding the Division's performance goals, which include enhancing Departmental performance. In turn, the Department Chair and the institution's leadership also target faculty recruitment in order to enhance the momentum toward success on those levels as well. All faculty members must strive to understand how they fit into and affect the greater academic environment surrounding them, and how they and the environment can develop together and reap the rewards of a mutually beneficial relationship.

First and foremost when beginning your academic career, ensure that you and the institution are clear about the position you have accepted. Re-examine carefully your career goals and priorities as well as the expectations outlined in the documentation you received with your letter of offer and consider such questions as:

  • What tools are necessary to build your career?
  • Is your protected time sufficient to accomplish your academic work?
  • What mentoring is planned?
  • What laboratory equipment, start-up funds, and technical assistance were negotiated, so that you can become competitive in seeking federal research funding?
  • Is there a special clinical expertise you wish to develop?

Each summer as the university fiscal year draws to a close, you will have an annual review with your Division Chief. This is an opportunity to contemplate and evaluate your year's accomplishments and contributions relative to your career goals as well as to the expectations and priorities of your Division and Department. This is a time to discuss barriers and resources, and in conjunction with your Division Chief, establish your career plan for the coming year. Review the Department of Pediatrics Faculty Evaluation Plan, the template for faculty evaluation, and the following article: Grigsby, RK. Five Potential Pitfalls for Junior Faculty at Academic Centers. Academic Physician & Scientist. May 2004, 2-3.

A.2. Promotion and Tenure Acquisition Process

Promotion in an academic institution is an active process that begins the day you arrive at the institution or, as some people believe, the day you start your final negotiations before you accept the new academic position. As soon as you accept the position, you must start planning your promotion.

Carefully analyze the "Promotion and Tenure and Initial Appointments Guidelines" of the UTHSCSA in the Handbook of Operating Procedures, Chapter 3, Faculty Policies and Procedures, Section 3.6 Guidelines for Establishing Rank and Tenure (Section C). Discuss aspects of this document with your division chief, mentor(s), or members of the Promotions and Tenure Committee of the Department of Pediatrics.

Consider the need for careful mentoring! A mentor can be your Division Chief or other faculty member(s) within or outside the Department of Pediatrics. A mentor must be a person who is truly interested in your academic success and who understands the UTHSCSA promotion process. A discussion of this will be included under Academic Mentoring (section still under development). A mentor will help you understand the appropriate focus of your academic career.

The process of achieving promotion and acquiring tenure in the UTHSCSA is presented in Section C. The information you need to extract pertains to the following:

  • The timetable allowed for promotion and/or tenure in UTHSCSA
  • What is the composition of the UTHSCSA Promotions and Tenure Committee and what are the basic guidelines they follow?
  • If you are on the non-tenure, clinical track, with main emphasis on service or teaching, what scholarly accomplishments do you need in order to be promoted?
  • What elements of an academic career will define your career? clinical activity, scholarship, research, teaching, administration, and extramural activities
  • Is academic administration the correct career path for you to pursue and is it rewarded in academic medical centers?
  • The possibilities for change from/to the tenure track to/from the non-tenure track
  • What is scholarship? It is the unique academic characteristic that results from documented exemplary performance in teaching, service, and/or research that is recognized in this institution, nationally and internationally. Some examples are:
    1. Recognition as a master teacher
    2. Documented exemplary teaching activities
    3. Effective supervisor for advanced degree students; recognized excellence in mentoring
    4. Development of innovative teaching or training methods or systems, recognized for their scholarly value and used in other institutions
    5. Publication of clinical research studies
    6. Notable committee service or leadership
    7. Key administrative service role in division or department
    8. Presentations locally, nationally, and internationally
    9. Extramural activities, specifically work in various professional societies, holding office, serving on editorial boards and developing leadership at national and international levels. Balance time away with the importance of developing a local reputation, clinical referral base, grant acquisition, or publications. Always remember what your "day" job is!
    10. Research publications in refereed journals
    11. Publications of books or chapters

There are many rewards in Academic Pediatrics. There is a wonderful chance to develop new knowledge and teach students and residents. You can develop a clinical practice with exciting and difficult problems to manage. You can develop research which will allow you to pour out exciting new knowledge and make lasting contributions to your profession. Whatever you choose to do should be integral to your promotion package. You must be prepared to deal with this reality from the day you enter this academic institution. Begin preparing for promotion on the day you arrive for work!

B. Research

Research and scholarly productivity are integral parts of an academic career. The time when research meant having a laboratory to conduct basic science has long since past. Similarly, the time of building a research career as a single investigator is coming to an end. Today, most successful medical research is conducted by multidisciplinary, multi-site, well-coordinated teams of medical researchers. Research includes:

  1. Basic biological science
  2. Clinical science including epidemiological studies and socioeconomic issues
  3. Research in medical education
  4. Research in medical school and health care delivery administration
  5. Research in academic service

Conducting research is easier and more exciting than the hard discipline and effort required to bring new information to print. Publication is the ultimate test of scholarly achievement and the pitfall of many young investigators. Sustained research funding strongly depends on bringing your research work to the scrutiny of peers. This requires discipline, diligence, and dedication of time to meticulous preparation of your manuscript. Publication represents the most solid criterion for academic promotion and acquisition of tenure yet is often the most neglected. Please remember that everything we do in a medical school or health science center can be done better by trying new methods and proving that they work better than the methods used "traditionally". Again, research is fruitless until it is subjected to peer evaluation and accepted for publication.

Research Grants and Manuscript Review: A service for pediatrics faculty members

Anthony J. Infante, MD, PhD, Professor, Division of Hematology-Oncology and Immunology and Interim Vice Chairman for Research, UTHSCSA Department of Pediatrics, provides personalized mentoring, review, and editing service in the preparation of research grants and manuscripts for members of the department. A block of time is set aside on Friday afternoons for this purpose.

While this activity is aimed primarily at junior faculty and fellows, or others new to research, Dr. Infante is available to assist anyone seeking additional input. His methods are straightforward, with emphasis on having a clear research focus, a high degree of organization, use of simple language, and plenty of writing practice.

Interested individuals should contact Dr. Infante's administrative assistant at 210-567-5250 to make an appointment.

Related programs of interest:

Master of Science Degree in Clinical Investigation
A unique feature of the MSCI Program is that the scope and sequence of the courses is highly integrated. Degree candidates receive instruction in the study designs they are most likely to use in their mentored research project early on in the program. The Research Methods Course is also sequenced to demonstrate the scientific process. The course ends, appropriately, with sessions on evaluation of data, conduct of systematic information syntheses, and reframing the next set of scientific questions.

Master of Public Health
The San Antonio Regional Campus of the University of Texas School of Public Health offers graduate level courses leading to the Master of Public Health degree. This is the basic professional degree in the field required for many supervisory and managerial positions in public health, but is often recommended for individuals in other related fields. The program includes coursework in the disciplines of Behavioral Science, Biological Sciences, Biometry, Demography, Environmental Sciences, Epidemiology, and Management & Policy Science.

C. UTHSCSA "Promotion, Tenure, and Initial Appointments Guidelines" (3.6)

  1. General Considerations for Appointment or Promotion without Regard to Rank (Policy 3.6.1)
  2. General Promotion Policies (Policy 3.4.2)
  3. Procedures for Application for Promotion and/or Tenure to the Health Science Center Faculty Promotions, Tenure, and Appointments Committee (Policy 3.6.2)
  4. Initial Appointment or Promotion to the Ranks of Associate Professor and Professor, Tenure Track (Policy 3.6.3)
  5. Process for Promotions, Tenure, and Appointments (Policy 3.6.8)
  6. Initial Appointment or Promotion to the Ranks of Associate Professor and Professor, Non-Tenure Track (Policy 3.6.4)
  7. Health Science Center Tenure Policy (Policy 3.7.1)
  8. Tips and Requirements for Preparation of Promotion and Tenure Packets
  9. Application for Appointment, Promotion, and or Tenure Promotion/Tenure Packet - Checklist/Contents
  10. Suggestions for Department/Division/School Promotions and Tenure Committee
  11. General Appointment Policies (includes Changing Faculty Tracks, Change in Percent Time, Cross and Joint Appointments) (Policy 3.4.1)
  12. UTHSCSA Faculty Promotion, Tenure and Appointments Committee Roster
  13. Report of the School of Medicine Task Force on Faculty Development; Decemeber 2005 available in hard copy from the Department of Pediatrics' Vice Chair of Academic Affairs

D. Department of Pediatrics Policies and Mechanisms for Implementing UT Health Science Center Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure

The Department of Pediatrics has established its own Promotions and Tenure (P&T) Committee which conducts annually the first step of the process of P&T. Because of the institutional timetables, the departmental P&T Committee has established the following policies and mechanisms:

  • At the beginning of March each year, the Chairman of the P&T Committee sends notice to the faculty and invites those interested in promotion or tenure to submit a request declaring their candidacy for P&T. Deadline for submission is March 31. The request should include the following:
    • A personal statement of each candidate stating why he/she feels his/her time for P&T consideration has arrived. This statement, up to four pages in length, should succinctly present the candidate's own thoughts about his/her academic accomplishments above and beyond what is contained in his/her e-CV. This statement should also include a list of 10-15 individuals from this institution, the region, national, and international scientific scene, who could (and would) write letters of support of his/her candidacy.
    • A curriculum vitae prepared in the UT Health Science Center format (may be e-CV).
    • Any additional information he/she may feel is important for his/her candidacy.
  • Upon receiving the candidacies, the chairman assigns each candidate to one of the members of the P&T Committee, who will review the documents and meet with the assigned candidate in the first three weeks of April. In the last week of April, the P&T Committee meets as a whole to discuss the candidacies and make a decision whether or not to proceed with each candidacy. If there are questions, technical issues, or issues of substance that suggest delay of the process of application for a candidate, the Chairman of the P&T Committee will discuss the issues with the Chairman of the Department. If he/she agrees with the committee's decision, the Chairman of the Department will meet with the candidate to discuss possible postponement of his/her candidacy for P&T. At the end of April, the Chairman of the P&T Committee begins the process of preparation of the packet for each candidate:
    • Obtains pertinent documents from the department: original letters, letters of offer and acceptance, copies of annual faculty evaluations, evaluations by students and residents.
    • Sends letters to persons suggested by each candidate asking for letters of recommendation of the faculty member. In these letters, the evaluators are asked specific questions about the candidate.
    • Collects additional information: copies of significant scientific papers, book chapters, books, technical manuals, teaching modules, and other pertinent documents.
    • When all the necessary documents are collected, usually by mid-July, the Chairman of the P&T writes a detailed document in support of the candidacy of the faculty member who is candidate for promotion and/or tenure. This document, usually 10-15 pages in length, presents the case in support of the candidate. The entire packet, containing the curriculum vitae, support document, appropriate evaluations, supporting information, and the letters of support for the candidate, is reviewed by each member for the P&T Committee and a final vote is taken. If approved as is, or changed and approved, the packet is submitted to the Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics by the end of August. The Chairman will review the entire packet, and if approved, will submit it to the Dean of the Medical School by mid-October (earlier if possible). The Dean of the Medical School will review each packet and if he/she approves it, will submit it to the UTHSCSA P&T Committee for their consideration. The P&T Committee is to complete the P&T cycle by March, one year after the original announcement in the Department. The promotion and tenure actions of the P&T Committee are submitted to the Executive Committee and the President of the UTHSCSA, who, if they approve it, will send final recommendations to the University of Texas Board of Regents and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for approval, effective September 1, of the year, 17 months after the P&T process began in the Department of Pediatrics. Although a protracted process, it is noteworthy that over the last 20 years, the Department of Pediatrics has had close to a 100 percent success rate with its applications.

V.E. The UTHSCSA eTalus (

The eTalus system is for all faculty on the UTHSCSA campus and affiliated campuses to maintain an electronic curriculum vitae. Information about E-Talus is found at Faculty can access eTalus by logging in to the UTHSCSA inside portal at, clicking on HSC Business Applications and then clicking on eTalus.