Appointments and Promotions

Where can I receive guidance concerning the Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) academic appointment and promotion system?

Guidance is available from within your department as well as from the Office of Faculty Affairs (OFA). Administrators and mentors within your department are valuable sources of general appointment and promotion information. Within our office, the Associate Dean for Clinical Faculty Development and Associate Dean for Research Faculty Development are available to provide guidance concerning policy and procedure.

What are the types of appointment, in terms of appointment renewal?

There are three types of academic appointment: renewable, term and tenure.

  • Renewable appointments are made with the prospect of renewal at the end of an appointment period.
  • Term appointments are concluded at a stated appointment end-date, unless written confirmation of renewal is provided.
  • Tenure appointments are made without term.

How do I know what type of appointment I hold?

Your appointment type can be found in both appointment offer letters and appointment confirmation letters. Refer to the Academic Staff Handbook for more information.

How and when is my appointment renewed?

All appointments are renewed through a recommendation from your department chair to the Dean, followed by the Dean’s approval. Appointment renewals are recommended prior to the end of their current term – typically at the end of the academic year: June 30.

How will I know when my appointment has been renewed?

Appointment renewal is confirmed in writing by our office. Contact the OFA for appointment renewal confirmation letters.

What should I do if I believe I am ready for promotion?

Your department chair or center director is responsible for determining when you are proposed for promotion. It is important that you discuss mentorship and your progress toward promotion with your chair, chair designee or center director at your annual faculty review. If you believe that your achievements may warrant promotion to the next rank, you should discuss your status with your department head, division chief or mentor. Faculty are encouraged to contact our office for individual consultations.

Why does my appointment have an end date?

By university policy, all academic appointments, except those with tenure, are made with start and end dates.

What is notification of non-renewal?

All academic staff members are entitled to be informed when their appointments will not be renewed. The length of this non-renewal notification depends upon employment status and length, and may be either six or 12 months.

How do I obtain a WCM faculty appointment?

A recommendation for any academic appointment originates in your primary academic department. The chair of your academic department is authorized to recommend an academic appointment subject to final approval by the Dean.

How do I know if I’m eligible for tenure review?

Eligibility for tenure is documented in writing, typically in an appointment offer letter.

Where can I find templates of the documents I need for my faculty appointment or promotion?

Templates can be found in Appointment Resources. They are also available from your academic department.

Should I use the CV or educator’s portfolio to document my record of teaching?

Faculty recommended for appointment or promotion on the academic achievement and scholarship pathway or in the educational leadership area must use an educator’s portfolio. All other faculty should document their education activities in sections K and N of the CV.

When should I use supplemental documents for my promotion dossier?

Supplemental documents include statements of key contributions and educator’s portfolios.

  • A one-two page statement of key contributions is recommended for all.
  • Education scholars must use an educator’s portfolio.

What is a statement of key contributions?

This is a one-two page summary document prepared to succinctly display your major contributions in scholarship, grant funding, clinical care, education or administration. Investigators may use their NIH biosketch statement to fulfill this requirement.

What is the difference between a statement of key contributions and a personal statement?

  • A statement of key contributions is a bullet-point summary.
  • A personal statement is an essay summarizing one’s career trajectory, teaching philosophy, etc.

The educator’s portfolio requires a personal statement, not a statement of key contributions.

Why is the WCM CV format required? Can’t I just use my own CV or NIH biosketch?

The WCM CV serves as a form to record the different types of information needed to process an academic appointment. WCM administration and the Committee of Review require that information be provided in this standardized form.

Areas of Excellence

Who decides what my area of excellence will be?

An area of excellence is selected jointly by a faculty member and their department chair or center director. An area of excellence should represent a candidate’s major area of achievement and impact.

Can my area of excellence and significant supporting activities change over time?

Yes. Although in most cases an individual will maintain a consistent academic focus over time, the activities of a faculty member may change, resulting in a new area of excellence or a different emphasis on written scholarship. These changes should be discussed with chairs, chair designees or center directors as appropriate.

Can more than one area of excellence be selected?

Almost all candidates will be evaluated based on a single area of excellence. Only rarely, when both impact and quantity of contribution are comparable in two areas of excellence, and each independently would meet the standard for promotion to the next rank, should two areas of excellence be proposed.

Who will know what my area of excellence and significant supporting activities are?

No one but you and those directly involved in processing your promotion need be aware of your selected area of excellence and significant supporting activities. You will have the opportunity to discuss your progress towards promotion at your annual faculty review with your chair or chair designee. Additional consultation is available through the OFA.

Appointment Criteria

What constitutes scholarship?

Specific types of scholarship can differ according to an area of excellence.  Scholarship is explicitly defined broadly to include not only peer-reviewed publications but also educational materials, policy statements, assessment tools, and guidelines for patient care. Scholarship may be published in print or alternative media.

Is principal investigator NIH funding required for faculty with investigation designated as their area of excellence?

The new guidelines for promotion recognize that funding to conduct research may come from a variety of sources and that, depending on their field, individuals may be more or less likely to serve as a principal investigator. Documentation of a candidate’s intellectual contributions to the original ideas, design and analysis of a project will be a key element of their evaluation. In addition to providing resources for conducting research, obtaining competitive, peer-reviewed funding is also an important marker of a candidate’s reputation and recognition. At senior levels, the presence of sustained funding over time is an important factor in evaluation for promotion. As a practical matter, this will involve NIH funding in most cases.

What if there are no opportunities for me to teach?

Given the broad definition of teaching and educational activities, most faculty should be able to identify opportunities to contribute to educational activities at WCM and/or affiliated institutions. In rare cases, most often related to a candidate’s field, opportunities for junior faculty to teach are limited. A department chair will be expected to explain the absence of educational contribution in these instances.

How should I document my teaching activities?

Teaching activities should be documented in sections K and N of the WCM CV form when you are ready to present your promotion documentation. Faculty recommended for appointment or promotion on the academic achievement and scholarship pathway or in the educational leadership area must use an educator’s portfolio.

Where should I document my clinical activities?

Clinical activities should be documented in your WCM CV form, under Section L.

Where should I document my research activities?

Research activities should be documented in your WCM CV form, under Section M. It may also be beneficial to summarize your research interests as an attachment, which should be referenced in your CV form if included.

How should I document my key contributions?

It is strongly recommended that you prepare a one-two page summary of your key contributions related to investigation, clinical care and education, highlighting accomplishments most relevant to your chosen area of excellence. Include an annotated bibliography to highlight your best publications and note the roles you had in your studies. If appropriate, also annotate any grants in which you had significant roles. Attach your summary of key contributions to the front of your CV form for presentation to department and college review committees.


Why don’t I see sick days or personal days on my pay stub?

Academic staff members do not accrue sick time or receive personal days. However, they are specifically entitled to generous short-term disability benefits and liberal leave policies.

How much vacation time do I get?

Full-time employed academic staff members accrue vacation at the rate of two days per month for a total of 24 days per academic year. Vacation accrual is pro-rated for part-time employment. For further information, please refer to the Academic Staff Handbook: Benefits.

Ending Appointments

How much notice must I give if I’m going to resign?

A faculty member may decide to resign for a new position elsewhere or for family reasons. Minimum notice is not generally prescribed, but some faculty members agree to provide a minimum amount of notice according to their appointment offer letters. 

Academic Policies

How do I request a leave of absence?

  • For family or medical leave, contact Human Resources: (646) 962-9247.
  • For sabbatical or personal leave, work with your department administrator, who will send your request to our office.

For more information, refer to Academic Staff Handbook sections "Leaves and Termination of Appointment" and "Benefits".

Appointment Criteria, Appointments and Promotions

What are the requirements for evaluation letters? How do I determine whether an evaluator is impartial or not?

Guidelines can be found on the List of Evaluators. 

To help us respond to questions that may not be answered in this list already, please feel free to submit a question.

Office of Faculty Affairs
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Fax: (646) 962-0685
Email: facultyaffairs@med.cornell.edu

Office of Faculty Development
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New York, NY 10021
Phone: (646) 962-5737
Email: facultydevelopment@med.cornell.edu