Academic Track System for Faculty at CUMC

Academic Tracks at CUMC

There are two academic tracks at the Columbia University Medical Center into which full time faculty may be appointed. Full time faculty may be appointed into the unmodified or Tenure Track, which requires a research intensive focus, or into the "at CUMC" Track . The "at CUMC" title is used for faculty whose responsibilities are a mixture of activities in the following areas: education, applied health sciences (clinical and/or public health interventions) and investigation. This is a non-tenured track title.

Faculty who are tenured/tenure track are expected to devote the majority of their time to the development of an outstanding research program, defined by paradigm-changing research that achieves national/international recognition within specific time boundaries.

The “at CUMC” title is used for faculty who may have a broader range of activities in three areas of focus including variable mixtures of applied health sciences (clinical and/or public health interventions), educational activities and/or investigational activities. The area(s) of focus do not appear in faculty titles. Rather, titles in this track include the academic rank along with the suffix "at CUMC."

Faculty with an "at CUMC" title frequently make significant, high quality contributions in one or more of the areas of focus. All academic contributions are considered at the time of academic advancement.


Appointment to a Tenured/Tenure Track Position (Unmodified Title):

Appointments to a Tenure Track or to a Tenured position (unmodified title) are based upon the university-wide standard of recognition of excellence in research which places the faculty member amongst the select few leaders of his or her research discipline. Appointment to this track usually occurs at the time of hire and requires a level of research training prior to appointment such that the faculty would be prepared to seek independent, peer reviewed research support. It is possible for faculty initially appointed in the “at CUMC” track to move to the unmodified track should their scholarly work fit within the framework of the research intensive track.

Faculty in the tenure track are expected to develop an extramurally funded program of research that is internationally recognized within specific time limits set by the University. Such research should be original, creative, transformative, and it should substantively advance the discipline of the faculty member. (Faculty Handbook) It is expected that the nominee must be an outstanding scholar, placing that individual amongst the very top of scholars in his/her discipline.  For Health Sciences, there are two tenure clocks:

  • 8 year clock for those without clinical responsibilities 
  • 11 year clock for those who spend at least 20% of their time in clinical work. 

Tenure review must be completed by May 31st  of the 7th or 10th year.

For more information on the promotion process for tenure-track faculty, click here.

The "at CUMC" Track

Appointment to the “At the Columbia University Medical Center” (“at CUMC”) Track:

Appointments to the “At CUMC” title may be based upon academic activities in one or more of the three scholarly areas of focus below. Faculty with the “at CUMC” title may focus intensively on one of those areas of focus, or may make significant contributions in more than one area of focus either simultaneously or sequentially over time. Examples of faculty work are described for each of the areas of focus:

The areas of focus align valuable faculty work with a career path and provide clear criteria for academic advancement in all four CUMC schools: the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Dental Medicine, the Mailman School of Public Health and the School of Nursing. This academic track and title system acknowledges, encourages and rewards excellence from CUMC faculty in these areas: education, investigation, and clinical care and public health interventions. Each school may have specific parameters for these areas of focus, so faculty should aso review school specific resources. 

Additional Resources:

Part Time Faculty Appointments


Part time faculty, whether based at the CUMC campus or at affiliated institutions have titles that include clinical modifiers. Part time faculty whose contributions are primarily in Applied Healthcare or Public Health Sciences would have the “clinical” prefix title (ie. Clinical Professor of [DEPARTMENT]). Part time faculty with significant investigative or educational leadership accomplishments would have the “clinical” suffix title (ie. Professor of Clinical [DEPARTMENT]).

Part time faculty would be expected to define their contributions in areas of focus similar to those for full time faculty, though quantitative parameters might vary based on the amount of time dedicated to faculty activities by part time faculty.

Criteria for advancement in rank of part time faculty would be qualitatively similar to those for full time faculty for each area of focus. However quantitative parameters might vary based on the amount of time dedicated to faculty activities by part time faculty.

For more information on the pathways for part time faculty, click here.

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