Goals for Tenure-Track Faculty

The most important goals of the Department of Biostatistics are motivated by the School of Medicine's goal of being in the top ranks of US medical schools. The Department also a major goal of being a department that nurtures careers of academic biostatisticians and that continues to attract and retain excellent faculty.

Funding and Protected Time

The Department provides tenure-track faculty with 20% protected time for their own research and continuing education. For assistant professors this is especially useful for helping them to establish their academic careers by publishing papers arising from their dissertation. Faculty have the option of applying as principal investigators for methodologic grants to effectively extend the amount of protected time they have for methodologic research.

A new assistant professor is expected to obtain at least 60% grant funding within two years. The majority of this funding will typically come from collaborative grants but some of it may come from biostatistics faculty-initiated biostatistical research grants. The remainder of the funding, besides the 20% protected by the department, will come from the collaborative development protected time program or from teaching.

Promotion and Tenure Criteria

In addition to the general requirements for promotion and tenure, the Department has the following targets for promotion and tenure for assistant professors:
  • an average of 1.5 first authorships per year in peer-reviewed methodologic journals such as Biometrika, JRSS, Biometrics, JASA, Biostatistics, Statistics in Medicine, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Clinical Trials, Technometrics, and health policy, health services research, health economics, genetics, and other related journals. First authorships in general medical journals such as NEJM, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, and British Medical Journal carry as much weight as first authorships in respected methodologic journals. A survey of 19 department faculty in November 2005 found that our top journals, in descending order of publication desirability, are JASA, Statistics in Medicine, Biometrics, JRSSB, Biostatistics, American Statistician, and Biometrika. The first five of these will be used by the School of Medicine to help gauge publication success of our faculty.
  • an average of 4 collaborative non-first authorships per year. Articles in widely-read general medical journals carry more weight than articles in specialty journals having a modest circulation. The collaborative articles must demonstrate high-level involvement of the faculty statistician. Contributions of statisticians are often documented in appendices or in statistical methods sections. Faculty members are also encouraged to obtain short notes from first authors at the time that a paper is accepted, documenting the statistician's statistical and/or scientific contribution to the paper. Novel combination of existing methods is one excellent way to make an important methodologic contribution to medical articles.
  • making a positive impact on NIH and other grant funding in the School of Medicine through significant involvement in grant proposals in a way that leads to specification of optimum experimental designs and analysis strategies.
  • Tenure-track faculty are required to submit a proposal as Principal Investigator on an external grant

Regarding methodologic publications, there are many opportunities that biostatisticians in academic medical centers frequently miss, including
  • writing articles comparing the performance of various analytic methods; the statistical literature is filled with articles about one proposed method but is sorely lacking in articles that help practicing statistician choose the best method.
  • writing tutorials in statistical journals that include new methods or innovative combination of several existing methods
  • writing methodologic articles for medical, epidemiologic, and health services research journals


  • The chair meets with new assistant professors every 6 weeks for the first 6 months, and bimonthly thereafter. These meetings also serve as previews of the yearly performance review.
  • Each assistant professor has a career mentor and a methodologic mentor (occasionally these are the same associate or full professor)

Medical School Criteria for Promotion and Tenure

Documents to be submitted for promotions (OFA/FAPC)

Topic revision: r10 - 27 Feb 2013, LindaStewart

This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © 2013-2022 by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding Vanderbilt Biostatistics Wiki? Send feedback