Every medical school has a different set of policies for promotion, but one thing they tend to have in common is time. Under ideal circumstances, a promotion can go through all the steps in six months. When it comes to full professor cases, the scrutiny is more intense and the process even longer.
Harvard Medical School has over 8,000 faculty members, by far the largest faculty of any medical college. Promotions to full professor there took at least two years with the home departments, hospitals, medical school administrators, and the university provost weighing in.
A new policy streamlines the process to one year. One of the biggest sources of time savings will come with a centralized digital repository for documents like external letters of recommendation. It’s encouraging when institutions can identify redundancies and eliminate them. Transparency is also helpful. It would be ideal to use the online system to let faculty members know where their candidacy stands in the process much like journals alert manuscript authors to their place in the editorial queue.