Guidelines for Promotion to Biostatistician III

The following guidelines were designed to define the criteria for promotion from Biostatistician II to Biostatistician III. These guidelines are periodically revised and maintained by the promotions committee, who always welcomes input regarding them. While the Promotions Committee is ultimately responsible for the promotions process, these guidelines attempt to specify the qualities the promotions committee is seeking. The goals of these guidelines are:
  1. To create guidelines which are specific and concrete, so that employees know what they should work toward in order to advance and so that supervisors have guidance on how best to mentor their colleagues.
  2. To make the promotions process as objective as possible, so that each employee is on equal footing and variables beyond his or her direct control (collaboration and supervisor assignment, number of publications possible, etc.) do not unfairly affect his or her chances for promotion.

Guideline Criteria for Promotion to Biostatistician III

  • Work Experience: Previous post-degree work experience in statistics or biostatistics will be acknowledged as contributing to the employee's ability to satisfy the following characteristics. If currently working in the department, the biostatistician should have had a substantial, positive impact on the department through their professional and quality improvement work. Typically this includes at least 36 months of excellent work as a member of the Vanderbilt Department of Biostatistics. In exceptional cases, 24-35 months of uncommonly outstanding work may qualify.
  • Ability to work independently, as expressed typically by most of the following:
    • Ability to perform biostatistics job functions with very little supervision.
    • Asking for help mostly for more advanced methods.
    • Ability to meet with collaborators independently.
    • Guiding projects through the research process.
    • Ability to perform, devise, and direct statistical analysis and/or data management plans.
  • Work habits and productivity
    • Consistently presents a professional image and product to collaborators, supervisors and coworkers, as expressed in Credo Bullet #3.
    • Meets deadlines and has excellent time management skills.
    • Keeps open lines of communication with supervisors and collaborators regarding deadlines, workload, project turnaround.
    • Punctual and consistent attendance at meetings, seminars.
  • Biostatistical knowledge
    • Able to help collaborators create appropriate databases.
    • Proficient in data management and data manipulation (variable creation, data checking).
    • Proficient in the use and interpretation of at least 20 of the following statistical techniques:
      • Tests of association
        • Pearson chi-square
        • Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel chi-square
        • Chi-square test for trend
        • Fisher's exact
        • t-test (paired and unpaired)
        • Wilcoxon rank sum/Mann-Whitney U
        • Wilcoxon signed rank test
        • One- and two-way ANOVA
        • Kruskal-Wallis
        • Pearson and Spearman correlations
        • Kappa
        • McNemar's
      • Regression general and generalized linear models, such as:
        • Linear
        • Logistic
        • Conditional logistic
        • Pooled logistic
        • Ordinal/proportional odds
        • Nominal/polytomous
        • Poisson
        • Log-linear
        • Mixed effects
        • GEE
        • ANCOVA
        • Repeated measures ANOVA
        • Likelihood ratio chi-square test
      • Survival analysis
        • Kaplan-Meier curves
        • Logrank test
        • Cox proportional hazards
      • Bootstrapping
      • Missing data techniques
      • Basic epidemiological terminology, as covered in an introductory epidemiology course
      • Basic study design
  • Department Service
    • Able to mentor biostatisticians I and II.
    • Has made significant contributions toward progress on a Continuous Quality Improvement project.
    • Becomes a role model with a positive, solution-oriented attitude.
  • Publications and Work on Grants
    • Able to use a grant template to write a basic sample size justification and statistical analysis plan for an NIH grant application. Understands grant terminology and the review process. (III to assistant: keen grantsmanship skills ability to critically review grant drafts as a whole, consult on study design, thorough sample size/power justification).
    • Able to write a professional statistical section for the Methods section of a medical journal manuscript, and to critically review entire manuscript for clarity and statistical correctness.
    • Contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge through the publication of journal articles, conference posters/presentations, etc., as opportunities exist within assigned collaborations.
  • Lives up to the Vanderbilt Credo, as revised specifically for the Department of Biostatistics - CredoBullets4sb.
    • Communication: able to express statistical concepts to non-statisticians both orally and in writing; professional day-to-day communication, via email, telephone and conversations; well-written and well-formatted analysis reports.
  • Positive input from supervisors and collaborators. All current supervisors are directly interviewed by the promotions committee. Collaborator input can be passed on through the supervisors or directly through letters, email, and phone interviews.
  • Statistical computing: proficiency in statistical software frequently used in the employee's collaboration.
  • Has been aggressive at self-education in the collaboration subject matter by reading journals and attending Grand Rounds.
    • Attends the Biostatistics Seminar at least 80% of the time.
    • Attends Biostatistics Clinic regularly, e.g., at least once per week.
    • Significance attendance at grand rounds, Clinical Research Center Research Skills Workshops, R Clinics, and other general seminars/workshops.
    • Does significant reading of statistics books and journals.
    • Has worked at developing skills to be an effective statistical collaborator.

Feedback: After a progress review, the promotions committee will assist supervisors in providing specific feedback on areas for improvement, along with time frames for improvement goals. When committee recommends promotion, the committee's recommendation is sent to Human Resources. Promotions do not occur until officially approved by Human Resources. Promotions take effect on the date and with the salary decided by Human Resources and the Department.


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