Faculty Ranks and Tracks


Faculty members have titles that indicate academic rank and track. Academic titles are instructor, assistant professor, associate professor and professor. The title of teaching associate is given to faculty members who do not hold terminal degrees and who participate in teaching under supervision.

  • Volunteer faculty members have titles with a prefix indicating their area of expertise and suffix indicating volunteer status. Most clinical preceptors have the title "clinical assistant professor (volunteer)".
  • Visiting modifiers are prefixed to the titles of faculty members appointed for up to one year and usually intending to return to another institution.
  • Courtesy modifiers are prefixed to the titles of faculty members who are employed by the University in some capacity and are not paid for the service provided to the School of Medicine department in which the courtesy title is held.
  • Adjunct modifiers are prefixed to certain groups of volunteer and part-time faculty members.

Academic Tracks

Faculty members are appointed to a specific academic track -- Tenure, Regents' Contract and the two specialty sracks: Clinical and Research. Each track has criteria for advancement that reflect the professional and academic achievements expected of faculty in various roles.

  • Tenure Track: Available for full-time appointments and has a probationary period that requires application for tenure during the sixth year of appointment. The award of tenure is usually linked to the promotion to associate professor. Titles of tenured and tenure-track faculty members are unmodified.
  • Clinical Scholar Track: A career pathway for clinical faculty who serve the School of Medicine through their commitment to clinical service, education and scholarship. "Scholarship" is understood to have a broad definition including both basic and applied research (discovery) but also incorporating other domains of intellectual and academic activity (integration and application) as described by Boyer (1990) and others.
    Clinical Scholars are characterized by excellence in clinical practice and dedication to the development of learners in their area of clinical expertise. They play significant roles in the design, implementation, evaluation and ongoing development of the educational programs of the School of Medicine. This requires that they seek and maintain high levels of competence in both clinical and educational domains. Clinical Scholars are committed to understanding health issues and raising the standards of clinical practice in order to be effective teachers. They disseminate professional knowledge and skills through teaching, presentations, publications and service to professional organizations and strive to enhance the reputation of their school for clinical education.
    Most faculty members on this track will be physicians or other health professionals, but the track may be appropriate for other professionals with significant educational and clinical responsibilities. Those individuals may be appointed to the Clinical Scholar Track with the permission of the Executive Dean of SOM (and if appropriate, the Dean of the Wichita campus). Learn more about the Clinical Scholar track.

Specialty tracks

These two special tracks have titles and expectations for academic promotion reflecting the roles and responsibilities of these faculty members:

  • Clinical Track: Emphasizes professional service and education in clinical settings. These full or part-time appointments are renewable annually and have titles modified by the prefix "clinical".
  • Research Track: Emphasizes research (not limited to basic sciences but including clinical, policy, history or philosophy of medicine or other areas). These full- or part-time appointments are renewable annually and have titles modified by the prefix "research".

See also:

For summary of all academic titles see the Handbook

For more on promotion and Tenure (see guidelines).

Understanding Ranks & Tracks, from the KU SOM Mentoring information.

Last Updated 11/22/11

Last modified: Jul 27, 2015