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Acad Med. 1994 Sep;69(9):772-8.

Tenure policies in U.S. and Canadian Medical Schools.

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Section for Institutional and Faculty Policy Studies, Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC 20037.


This report presents data on tenure policies in U.S. and Canadian medical schools. The data are drawn from the findings of a larger survey of faculty appointment and tenure policies, which was mailed to each medical school dean in December 1993. The deans were asked to complete the questionnaire themselves or direct it to a staff member knowledgeable about faculty personnel policies. Non-responding institutions were sent a follow-up letter two months later. The response rate for the written survey was 96%: 137 of a possible 142 schools responded, with the remaining five schools participating in an abbreviated telephone survey. Of the 142 U.S. and Canadian medical schools, 136 (96%) have tenure systems, although nine of these schools limit the award of tenure to basic science faculty. Over three-fourths of the schools that have tenure systems define tenure to include some kind of financial guarantee. Rarely does this financial guarantee cover total salary/compensation; typically it is restricted to a "base" or university component of salary. Twenty percent of the schools have fixed pre-tenure probationary periods for clinical faculty that are longer than seven years; another 11% report having either no fixed pre-tenure probationary period or one that is unlimited. In the last five years, 10% of medical schools have terminated a tenured faculty member "for cause." Data are also examined concerning policies governing the extension of the pre-tenure probationary period, the rank at which tenure is usually granted, consequences of a negative tenure decision, caps on tenure positions, vacated tenure positions, and tenure arrangements for VA faculty and PhD faculty in clinical departments.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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