The Probationary Period

Those on the Research track must be promoted from the rank of Assistant Professor to the rank of Associate Professor by the end of their probationary period, which is the term between appointment and promotion. For Research track faculty, the mandatory review occurs during the eighth and ninth years. Between appointment and promotion, there are two reappointments. At year ten (10), you will either be promoted or the tenth year will serve as your terminal year. For example, a faculty member appointed on July 1, 2017 would be on schedule for Reappointment July 1, 2020, and again July 1, 2023, and considered for promotion at the rank of Associate Professor on July 1, 2027.

Research Track: Ten Year Timeline



Under certain circumstances, faculty on the Research track may request and be granted an extension to the length of their probationary period. If you have experienced one of the qualifying events below, you are encouraged to take request and submit to your chair a Faculty Notification for the Extension to the Probationary Period Form. Extensions DO NOT affect evaluation for promotion.

Example Qualifying Events

  • birth or adoption of a child.
  • serious medical condition of you or your spouse, same-sex domestic partner, child or parent.
  • catastrophic event, such as an explosion in a boiler system in the faculty member's building or a fatal viral outbreak amongst research animals (an extensive investigation is undertaken in this situation).

Each faculty member is allowed a maximum of three extensions, one year at a time. Granted Extensions take effect in your current appointment cycle. You must give timely, written notification to the Chair, Dean, and Provost to receive the extension. You will find more information on the Extensions Policy home page.


If you are eligible for an extension, there is no downside to requesting and taking one: you are encouraged to do so! Extensions DO NOT impact promotion. 


Career Strategy

As a new faculty member, you will be quite busy setting up and staffing your lab, but stay focused and keep in mind that the promotion process starts at appointment. Right away, you will want to make sure that you follow some key best practices.

  • Review your Academic Plan. Your Academic Plan is a job description that details expected effort distribution across research and administrative duties (if applicable). Your Academic Plan is used as a frame of reference at time of reappointment and promotion, and therefore, should be reviewed yearly to ensure it accurately reflects department expectations.
  • Keep your CV and grant information updated in the Faculty Expertise Database (FEDs), accessed via My.Med (with your Pennkey). See the CV and Grants Page Check List here.
  • Start developing a list of individuals who might someday be one of your Extramural Consultants (see Preparing for Promotion below for more information).
  • Cultivate multiple mentor relationships.


It is much easier to update FEDs via My.Med regularly. Waiting to update until the time of reappointment or promotion is extremely challenging, and you risk leaving out items. Update FEDS each time you present an abstract/poster, publish a paper, give a talk, join a committee, acquire a new role, or receive an award. 


Onboarding for Research

Once appointed to a faculty position, you will want to begin establishing your research enterprise. As faculty at the Perelman School of Medicine, you have access to world-class resources, opportunities for collaboration, and dedicated support teams.

Ready to onboard for research? Start here.


Resources: Sites Every Faculty Member Should Bookmark

CV and Grants Information

A guide for how to prepare a properly formatted PSOM CV and Grants Page in the only accepted form at the PSOM.

Faculty Affairs

Perelman School of Medicine main web site for policy and process.

Knowledge Link

The university management system that tracks training enrollment and compliance.

My.Med (with your Pennkey) is a PSOM portal to many important internal sites. Via you can get to FEDS, the Faculty Expertise Database for CV maintenance.

Perelman School of Medicine Campus Map


Penn Online Directory


U@Penn Portal

U@Penn is a university portal that leads to important sites, such as those for your benefits. Keep your contact information updated in U@Penn/My Directory Information as this is the source data for Knowledge Link and the Penn Directory.


Key Questions to Prepare for your First Reappointment

  • Have I re-reviewed my Academic Plan?
  • Have I reviewed the PSOM COAP Guidelines?
  • Am I seeking mentorship? Have I chosen the right mentors to maximize my chances for success?
  • Do I understand expectations for Reappointment in my track?
  • Do I understand the Reappointment Review Process (see below)?
  • Do I understand my track timeline?
  • Have I read my PSC minutes in FADs, so I know how to track myself on the track timeline?
  • Do I need or am I eligible for an Extension?
  • Have I met with my Faculty Coordinator?


Advisory Letters

In some cases, the Perelman School of Medicine COAP (S-COAP) may approve a reappointment, but do so with an Advisory Letter. Advisory Letters are not warning letters or in any way punitive. They are a method for the S-COAP to provide feedback for faculty who are not progressing along an expected trajectory in one or more areas. If you receive one, do not be alarmed, but do seek advice from your mentors on how you can adjust your efforts and apply the S-COAP’s recommendations.


General Process

The Department Committee on Appointments and Promotions (D-COAP) reviews your submitted materials. If the results are positive, your case then goes to the Perelman School of Medicine's COAP (S-COAP). For promotions to Associate professor and full Professor, if the school COAP approves your case, the dean will then present the case for the Provost's Staff Conference for review. (The Provost's Staff Conference, or PSC, is an advisory group to the Provost that includes Vice Provosts and Deans from across the University.) For all Assistant-rank reappointments, the Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs presents your case; approved recommendations then go to the Provost's Staff Conference Subcommittee (or “PSCS”). The PSCS is chaired by the Vice Provost and includes vice deans and associate deans from across the University. The dossier then goes to the University Provost. The University Provost makes the final decision on all faculty appointments, reappointments and promotions.


Key Topics to Discuss With Your Mentor(s)


Extramural Consultant Reviews

Your promotional dossier will include Extramural Consultant Reviews. Extramural Consultants are individuals in your field with whom you have not directly collaborated who are asked to provide an unbiased and impartial assessment of your scholarship, reputation and standing in your specific area of expertise. Extramural Consultants do not provide recommendations. They provide reviews.

Per Provost guidelines, Extramural Consultants should be active faculty at your proposed rank or higher and from a peer institution or an institution known for excellent achievement in your specific field. You, the candidate, are entitled to select three (3) Extramural Consultants. Your department must select an additional eleven (11).

Once the Extramural Consultant list is reviewed and approved by the school COAP, the Dean, and the Provost, the Extramural Consultants will receive your CV, your Personal Statement, and 3-4 (maximum) reprints you select. From these documents alone, your Extramural Consultants will be asked to

  • evaluate the scope and significance of your scholarly achievements and their importance within the general discipline
  • comment upon the degree of recognition achieved in the discipline, noting your most distinctive contributions
  • rank you relative to the leading scholars in the same field of study and at a comparable level of professional development
  • evaluate the candidate’s likelihood of achieving a similar faculty position and rank at the leading institutions in this discipline
  • provide any information or insight on your skills and effectiveness
  • provide any additional insights that may be helpful in determining whether or not to recommend promotion

This entire process is confidential with no contact in advance to determine if the consultant has prior knowledge of the candidate or if the consultant is willing to provide a positive evaluation of the candidate. Only PSOM COAP members see the Extramural Consultant letters and only PSOM COAP members know who, from your submitted Extramural List, wrote a review.


Intramural Letters

Intramural letters are not required, but you may include up to three (3) in your dossier. One reason for including Intramural Letters may be that you have collaborated with faculty from the Perelman School of Medicine or faculty from another University of Pennsylvania school.


Promotion Process

Promotion begins at the department level, and during the promotion process, you will work closely with your Faculty Coordinator to compile your dossier, which is then submitted by your chair to FAPD. Your dossier will include, among other important documents, your CV, extramural letters (see below), as well as a Personal Statement.


Take time to create an accurate Personal Statement that communicates the scope and focus of your work. Share drafts with your mentors and trusted colleagues. Ask to see others’ Personal Statements. Remember that your extramural consultants and PSOM COAP members rely heavily on this document to interpret your CV.

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