School of Medicine Office of Faculty Affairs

Criteria Appointment as Clinical Associate Professor or Clinical Professor Promotion to Clinical Associate Professor or Clinical Professor

Faculty of the School of Medicine whose academic ranks contain the prefix Clinical usually serve in a part-time status.  In exceptional circumstances those faculty whose principal function is to provide clinical service may hold academic ranks with a clinical prefix and receive a salary. 

Appointment As Clinical Instructor, Clinical Assistant Professor, Clinical Associate Professor Or Clinical Professor, and Promotion To Clinical Associate Professor Or Clinical Professor

Faculty whose appointments have the “Clinical” prefix generally spend the majority (≥90%) of their effort in clinical or administrative activity, often in non-core teaching sites.  To earn an appointment to the Clinical faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPSOM), individuals must demonstrate service to the School of Medicine beyond clinical activities, including participation in education, scholarly activities, or meaningful and ongoing service to the UPSOM.  Examples of service activities include participation in departmental projects (e.g., clinical research trials), or leadership and innovation in developing clinical, educational and/or community programs.  An individual is appointed initially at the rank of Clinical Instructor or Clinical Assistant Professor unless he or she has a record of significant teaching or service that would qualify for an appointment at an advanced level.  Clinical prefix faculty appointments are without University salary, benefits, or employment status. 

Clinical Instructor

The instructor should have earned a doctoral degree or the highest appropriate professional degree. Initial appointment at the rank of Clinical instructor is appropriate for a faculty member who has completed post-graduate training but has no additional teaching experience. 

Clinical Assistant Professor

The Clinical Assistant Professor should possess a medical, doctoral or other professional degree and have demonstrated teaching ability, or professional experience in the provision of service to the UPSOM.  

Clinical Associate Professor

The Handbook for Faculty, University of Pittsburgh, 2000 describes an associate professor as one who should possess a doctorate or appropriate professional degree and have substantial experience in teaching and research or applicable professional experience.  The person should show a capacity and will to maintain teaching effectiveness and the ability for continuing growth as a teacher, scholar, and member of his or her profession.  He or she should also have progressed in attaining eminence in a scholarly or professional field.  An associate professor must display consistently mature performance in course and curriculum planning, in guiding and counseling students, residents, and junior faculty members, and in participating in the activities of the University.

In order to merit promotion to Clinical Associate Professor, faculty members must demonstrate sustained excellence and growth in education, leadership, innovation, community engagement or program development or support.  They are expected to contribute actively to the academic mission of the School of Medicine, including demonstrating effective teaching of students, residents and/or fellows; development, support and leadership of clinical programs (usually in community settings) or community service programs aligned with the goals of the academic department.  Such clinical faculty should provide high quality, empathetic patient care, as judged by their peers, and should willingly involve their patients in teaching activities. 

Sustained contributions in any of the following domains may be considered for promotion to Clinical Associate Professor.  Every individual need not meet every criteria.  Examples for Clinical Associate Professor include:    


  • Excellence in teaching (as documented by learner evaluations) including medical students, residents, fellows, staff, peers, community members and attendees of continuing education courses
  • Leadership of educational programs (usually outside core teaching settings) for medical students, residents, fellows, or continuing medical education courses with evidence of learner and program outcomes
  • Development or direction of new courses or special teaching materials such as videotapes, computer programs, and web sites
  • Teaching awards
  • Dissemination of educational work via publications, writing or editing textbooks or chapters in text books, conference presentations

Administrative Service to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

  • Service on department, hospital, School of Medicine, or University committees

Clinical Service

  • Reputation as a clinician as manifested by peer review
  • Development of clinical guidelines used by hospitals, offices or clinics
  • Leadership of safety and/or quality improvement initiatives
  • Development and oversight of clinical programs

Community Engagement

  • Development and leadership of community service projects designed to improve the health of the community served
  • Participation on regional, national, or international clinical or research entities


  • Participation in research that complements the mission of the School of Medicine
  • Service on editorial boards

Clinical Professor

The Handbook for Faculty indicates that the rank of professor recognizes the attainment of authoritative knowledge and reputation in a recognized field of learning and the achievement of effective teaching skills.  The professor should have attained superior stature in his or her field through research, writing, professional practice, or leadership in professional and learned organizations, as well as having exceeded the standards described for the ranks enumerated above.  Clinical Professors must have achieved undisputed recognition as outstanding teachers, clinicians, or administrators who demonstrate leadership in education, clinical program development, and/or community service programs that serve the academic mission of the department and the UPSOM, often in community clinical sites. 

Criteria for promotion to Clinical Professor include the elements above, AND evidence of sustained and growing contributions as well as recognition beyond the School of Medicine.  Every individual need not meet every criteria.  Examples for Clinical Professor include:

  • Awards or prizes for research, teaching or service
  • Extensive presentations at scholarly meetings and conferences, whether regional, national or international
  • Membership in scholarly organizations
  • Invited presentations at Universities, hospitals, etc.
  • Organizing regional  research or educational meetings
  • National or international reputation documented by letters of recommendation, leadership in professional societies, and invited talks or invited reviews
  • Publication of impactful textbooks, guidelines, research, etc.

Distinguished Service

Clinical Associate Professors and Clinical Professors who have contributed substantially to the academic programs of the School of Medicine through extensive service may be awarded the rank of Distinguished Clinical Associate Professor or Distinguished Clinical Professor.  Infrequently granted, these ranks of distinction are a special recognition of senior clinical faculty by the University for meritorious past service.