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Acad Med. 2000 Jun;75(6):649-52.

Scholarly activities recorded in the portfolios of teacher-clinician faculty.

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Office of Educational Development, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



To explore what contributions to scholarship teacher-clinician faculty list in the portfolios that they use as evidence for promotion.


In 1998, the authors randomly selected 15 Harvard Medical School teacher-clinicians (five from each rank of assistant, associate, and full professor) from among 120 such faculty members who had been successfully promoted between 1990 and 1997. Using a descriptive research study design, the authors counted and categorized the contributions to scholarship, teaching, and committee service that the faculty listed in their portfolios. They did not assess the quality or weighting of the contributions.


According to the portfolios, the faculty members had contributed to both teaching and scholarships at local, regional, and national levels. They listed not only peer-reviewed original journal articles, but also works that integrated and synthesized knowledge: specifically, chapters, textbooks, editorials, syllabi, newsletters, computer resources, and videotapes. Faculty generally had published in multiple areas of scholarship, which fell in two domains: the faculty member's subspecialty and medical education. The number of publications increased at each promotion level. The faculty also participated in broad-based teaching and education at the student, resident, fellow, and continuing medical education levels. Leadership contributions in education had occurred not only locally and regionally but also at a national level. Finally, faculty participated actively in service to the medical school, hospital, and national organizations, with leadership roles at the associate and full professor levels.


The academic culture at Harvard Medical School has shifted from promotion based solely on original scholarship to promotion based on a broad array of educational contributions. The faculty, as they seek promotion, create portfolios that list written scholarship, teaching, and service at the local, regional, and national levels and at all ranks of promotion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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