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Understanding the Faculty Ranks and Tracks

When new faculty are hired, their appointment is approved and given a rank and they are placed on an academic track, which has defined requirements for promotion.

About Our Track System

Our three professional schools include Health Professions, Medicine and Nursing, with faculty members serving on campuses in Kansas City, Wichita and Salina. Applicable and available in all three schools is an academic rank, or title, and a track system (PDF).

Additional "working titles" held by a faculty member could include examples like director, dean, department chair, etc.

Faculty have personal and professional goals and without a clear understanding of the Academic Track System, the new faculty member may or may not be aimed down the right path to reach his or her goals and achieve a promotion in the time they anticipated. Learn more about promotion and tenure at the medical center and specific guidelines within KU School of Medicine.

Faculty Ranks

Academic titles, or ranks, either modified or unmodified, include: instructor, assistant professor, associate professor and professor. The title of teaching associate is given to faculty members who do not hold terminal degrees yet and who participate in teaching under supervision.

  • Modified titles are those in which a descriptor precedes the faculty title. The modifier might be clinical or research, as in Clinical Assistant Professor or Research Assistant Professor.
  • An unmodified title means there is no descriptor, so the title is Assistant Professor. The decision regarding track (tenure or non-tenure) and rank (modified or unmodified title) is made by the Chair and requires the approval of the Executive Dean and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Faculty ranks diagram shows progression from instructor to assistant professor, to associate professor to professorAcademic Tracks

Every faculty member in the schools of Health Professions, Medicine and Nursing are appointed to a specific academic track. Each of the academic tracks describes not only the faculty member's job responsibilities but also the criteria for advancement, and in some instances, tenure, that reflect the professional and academic achievements expected of faculty in various roles. There are two tracks, tenure track and non-tenure track, and each has unique, specific professional and academic expectations.

diagram of academic tracks at KU Medical Center, tenure vs non-tenure, clinical, research, clinical scholar and educator tracks.


For any questions related to faculty ranks and tracks, tenure and promotion opportunities, contact Robert M. Klein, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies.

Email the Vice Chancellor

Office of Academic and Student Affairs

Office of Academic and Student Affairs
University of Kansas Medical Center
Mailstop 4029
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-0146
Fax: 913-588-6753