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Important Documents for Promotion & Tenure

P&T Frequently Asked Questions

Faculty Pathways

Why are there different faculty pathways?

The College of Medicine has many unique faculty with varying responsibilities between clinical service, research, and education. The faculty pathways were designed to hold faculty in similar work accountable to similar criteria.

How do I know I am in the right faculty pathway?

You can review the pathways here. These are based on how you spend your professional time. Discuss pathway concerns, teaching duties, and any other job responsibilities with your section chief or department chair.

What happens if I think I need to change my pathway?

This can only be done through discussion with your chair and through consultation with the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Professional Development. If a change of pathway is deemed appropriate, have your department chair contact the Director of Faculty & Staff Affairs.


Should I apply for promotion and tenure at the same time?

It is possible and may be beneficial to apply for promotion and tenure separately in different years. Since the tenure application can be more intense, this may be a good option for you. Discuss this with your chair and/or chief.

When should I start working on my P&T packet?

As early as possible! You will want to keep your CV up to date and periodically enter your narrative notes on the screens in Activity Insight throughout your academic career with OU COM. The actual promotion/ tenure application and review process takes about 15-18 months. If you plan to be promoted in July 2025, you’ll start the process of actually working with your department chair on your individual process in Spring 2024.

Can I apply for promotion or tenure early?

It generally is not recommended to apply earlier than your tenure or non-tenure schedule unless there has been some exceptional situation or possibly a previous academic appointment at another institution.

I have been in my current appointment for six years already, why am I not being referred for promotion?

Faculty promotion involves showing your value to our learners, your contribution to the campus, and your contribution to the field as a whole. The P&T Committee will award promotions to those faculty who have shown excellence in these areas and who also have plans to continue to contribute to these areas in the future. If you’ve been told you are not ready to go up for promotion, it is probably due to needing more experience in teaching, scholarship, or service. If you have concerns, or wish to discuss your situation further, please contact the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Professional Development.

External Letters

What if I can’t think of three people for my chair to request a letter from?

Since the P&T Committee prefers to see letters from people you do not have close contact with, reach out to your section chief or department chair. They may be able to help you find individuals at other institutions.

Someone told me I should obtain five letters even though we only turn in 3. Is that correct?

Yes, it is recommended to request up to 5 external references due to the difficulty it can be to obtain well written letters that reflect you and your work.

What do external people need from me to write a good letter?

Give your external reviewers an updated CV from Activity Insight and a draft of your narrative. Your reviewers should not be people who know you very well so you want to paint a strong picture of your career to make it easier for them to write the letters and ensure the letters are beneficial to your dossier.

Who sends the request to write a letter?

You should submit 3-5 names of possible external reviewers to your chair. Your chair will then send a request along with your CV and draft narrative to each potential reviewer. 

Dossier Narrative

How long should my narrative be going to Associate? Professor?

The dossier to apply for Associate will be roughly 5-7 pages. The dossier to apply for full Professor will be 10-12 pages. You want to be concise but still tell your story.

How do I even get started on writing the narrative?

While this can be difficult, we have a few resources for you. First, in Activity Insight, you’ll see narrative notes screens with prompts related to the P&T criteria. Use these text boxes to store any notes you can think of related to that prompt. You’ll be able to save supporting documentation and print a Word Document that you can copy and paste from. See a short informational video here. Second, we have several model dossiers available on the website to give you an idea of what we are looking for and how to organize the material.


How do I gather learner feedback?

You should receive some kind of evaluation data of your lectures given to medical students (or other students) and residents in the context of their official curriculum. For any other presentations or continuing education instruction you give, you can adjust this teaching evaluation template to your needs. Be sure to include narrative feedback from your mentees or advisees as well. This can be done simply by asking them in an email to provide feedback on your mentoring experience.

Is it more important to show improvement in teaching over time or to show excellence?

If you have consistently had great teaching scores from learners or trainees, that’s terrific! However, if you have had some difficulty in the past but you can show you’ve improved through your evaluations, this is significant. As you write your narrative, be sure to describe how you improved on this feedback.

Research/ Scholarship

Do I have to have an R01 on my CV to get promoted?

It depends on your pathway and associated promotion criteria. If you are on the tenure track, you will need to have external funding, preferably federal funding. However, individuals on other tracks may derive benefit from having these prestigious awards on their CV.

Are online publications viewed negatively by the P&T Committee?

Online publications aren’t necessarily positive or negative but may not carry as much weight as publishing in a scientific journal. Your level of authorship can have the biggest impact on the evaluation of your scholarship.

Should citation counts be included?

In general, there is not a need to include citation counts on your CV unless you have something that has been widely cited. You have a field to report that number on the Publications data entry screen in Activity Insight but it will be self-reported and not automatically updated. This could be something you discuss in your P&T narrative.


Where should I discuss clinical service activities in the dossier narrative?

Clinical service roles can be discussed in the Service narrative. However, if you are discussing a clinical service role where you teach residents, you may discuss it in Teaching. It really depends on how those roles fit in to your story.

Should I discuss service roles I’ve had / currently have at other academic institutions in the narrative?

Yes. These will be listed under Professional Service on the CV in Activity Insight. Depending on how these roles fit in to the story of your career, you may discuss these in Teaching or Service. The P&T Committee wants to see your contribution at a local and national level so these roles can contribute to that regional or national reputation you’ve created.

Additional Information