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Frequently Asked Questions

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Does Upstate COM have academic tracks for promotion?

The College of Medicine recognizes tenure-eligible faculty and non-tenure eligible faculty. These are the only tracks per se. Faculty may be promoted with excellence in Service, Education, or Research. However, these are not considered “tracks” since faculty can change their area of excellence based on their time and effort commitments as documented in their Annual Academic Expectations (AAE). See Standards Policy for more information.

How do voluntary faculty in the COM get promoted?

Voluntary faculty are faculty with academic appointments who are less than .2 FTE or those who provide a service to Upstate COM without direct payment through salary support. These faculty may be promoted using the Voluntary Faculty Promotion Guidelines.

Some voluntary faculty who provide service are considered to be working as affiliates and may use the full-time faculty standards for promotion. This may include employees of MedBest, departmental medical service groups, and some employees of Crouse Hospital or the Veterans Administration Hospital. These faculty provide service to Upstate through extensive teaching of Upstate students and/or residents and/or do research in collaboration with Upstate faculty.  Check with the Senior Associate Dean for questions about promotion using fulltime faculty guidelines while serving as voluntary faculty.

Where can I get help and support for my COM promotion?

The office of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development provides resources for promotion.  Faculty should also contact their departmental promotion committee chair and assistant for departmental guidance and support. In addition, the Office of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development offers one-on-one guidance from the Assistant Dean for Promotions and the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development. Please contact the office for an appointment.

For promotions, what is the difference between a letter of support and an extramural letter? How many do I need?

A letter of support is any letter from a colleague used to support promotion and can be requested by the faculty member for submission to the departmental committee or later, with institutional promotion dossiers. A typical letter of support indicates the role or position of the letter writer, their professional relationship to the faculty member, their understanding of the faculty member’s work, and their recommendation and support for promotion. Generally, faculty have no more than 5-7 letters of support.

An extramural letter is meant to be evaluative. It should be written by someone who, although they may know the faculty member’s work well, does not necessarily know the faculty member personally. Generally, the chair of the department requests these letters from extramural letter writers who have expertise in the field of the faculty member and request them after the departmental promotion committee has met to review the faculty member dossier and has made a recommendation to submit the faculty dossier to the institutional committee for review. The faculty member may suggest names to the chair, however, the chair should verify that these faculty letter writers have no relationship to the faculty member.

Other details regarding extramural letters include the following:

  • A minimum of three extramural evaluations are required for the COMFAPC committee. Individual departments may require more. Some faculty have a waiver of this requirement (see Policy, page 13, VII: B;3);
  • These letters must be solicited by the Department Chair from faculty, at non-Upstate institutions, holding academic rank at or above the rank under consideration for the candidate’s promotion;
  • There should be no more than two solicited letters from faculty who have had collaborative engagement with the candidate up to three years prior to consideration for promotion and/or tenure; and
  • These must not be solicited from faculty who have had collaborative engagement with the candidate within three years of the candidate’s consideration for promotion and/or
  • The Department Chair letter should state method of selection of evaluators, relationship and degree of separation to Upstate and the candidate, and an explanation of the writer’s expertise and objectivity.
  • Those who have served the candidate as a mentor in any capacity (graduate, post-graduate, residency or fellowship supervisor) are considered ineligible to serve as any of the three required extramural letter writers.

I’m being appointed from another institution. Do I need extramural letters?

Yes. You need three extramural letters. Faculty from another institution being appointed at the same rank require the following:

  • Letter from the Upstate Department Chair
  • Letter from the Chair of the Department’s FAPC
  • Curriculum Vitae

Faculty who are seeking promotion to a higher rank upon appointment at Upstate must have their dossier reviewed by their departmental and institutional promotions committees.

Am I eligible for tenure?

Tenure eligibility may be offered to faculty upon appointment. If you are on a tenure eligible track, you will have been provided in your appointment letter with the deadline for you to achieve tenure. See Tenure and Stop the Clock.

I’m not ready for tenure. How do I stop the clock?

I am resubmitting my promotion/tenure application. Do I need to re-create the entire packet?

Some faculty who are on the tenure eligible track may submit their application for promotion without tenure consideration. If tenure is then requested at a later date, faculty will be expected to resubmit a full application packet of materials.

Sometimes the College of Medicine Faculty Appointments and Promotion Committee (COMFAPC) does not recommend promotion. This generally allows the faculty member more time to update their promotion material. Faculty are then encouraged to update their portfolios and resubmit materials for review at a future COMFAPC meeting.

If your packet was submitted for COMFAPC review within the last year and no greater than one year ago, you may re-use your extramural letters and letters of support. If your submission was greater than one year ago, you should ask your letter writers to update your letters or you should obtain entirely new letters.

If your application was for promotion only and you later must apply for tenure, the letters should reflect the tenure criteria and request.

In addition to letters, you will need:

  • An updated letter from the department chair
  • An updated letter from the departmental promotions committee
  • An updated CV
  • Updated portfolio(s)

It is an excellent idea to provide a personal statement outlining your accomplishments since your last submission and reasons why you feel you meet promotion/tenure criteria at this time.