New CUMC titles streamline, clarify faculty titles and roles

This month CUMC introduced new academic titles for full-time faculty who are not tenured or on the tenure track. The changes affect approximately 1,600 of our 5,600 faculty members, including 2,200 full-time and 3,400 part-time faculty.

Anne L. Taylor, MD, the John Lindenbaum Professor of Medicine and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, answers questions about the new titles to explain the changes and how they relate to a reorganization of CUMC’s academic tracks.

Dr. Anne L. Taylor, vice dean for academic affairs

Anne L. Taylor, MD, John Lindenbaum Professor of Medicine at CUMC;

What titles are changing?  Who is affected?

CUMC is simplifying modified titles and aligning the titles with work done by full-time faculty. The majority of our full-time faculty members have modified titles, which have been inconsistently used across departments and schools, and don’t align with work done by the faculty.

To review, modified titles are those with a clinical prefix or suffix or with a designation “at an affiliated institution” (e.g., at NYPH). Only full-time faculty with modified titles will change their title.

Full-time faculty with unmodified titles—those who are tenured or on the tenure track—will not change their titles as defined by the university statutes. Part-time faculty with clinical modified titles will not change their titles, either.

How will these titles change? 

Full-time faculty with the title modifiers of a clinical prefix, clinical suffix, or “at affiliated institution” will drop these modifiers and add “at CUMC” at the end of their title. For example, a full-time faculty member who might have been called a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, or a Professor of Psychiatry at NYPH will now have the title “Professor of Psychiatry at CUMC.”

What was the process that resulted in the title changes? 

The new titles were based on recommendations from the Committee on Academic Tracks, a group of faculty from all four CUMC schools who, over the course of three years, looked at our current academic tracks, considered whether they needed revision, and determined how best to reorganize the academic titles.

The title reorganization is just one element of a larger initiative to define, assess, and encourage excellence in clinical, educational, and research work done by our faculty.

Can you tell me more about the reorganization of academic tracks and why it is necessary? 

Our academic tracks, like those at many academic medical centers, were modeled on university faculty roles.

However, faculty in the health sciences are generally engaged in a broader range of activity than those in areas such as the humanities or social sciences. Some of our faculty members focus on research but their roles could be research leader, major collaborator, co-investigator, or site investigator for large multicenter clinical trials; others make most of their contributions in education, while still others contribute most in clinical or public health practice. Many faculty do a combination of these activities, with important leadership or administrative activities as well.

So, within the “at CUMC” title groups, there  will be three areas of focus that faculty will identify as their major and minor work areas—investigation, education, and clinical or public health practice.

Full-time faculty with modified titles will work with their department or school to define areas of focus, which will not appear in their new titles. These areas of focus need not be designated until the end of December.

The Committee on Academic Tracks determined that it was critical to change our academic tracks and titles to ensure that all of the work done by faculty is acknowledged, encouraged, and rewarded.

Why is it important to define areas of focus if this does not appear in the titles?

This will help faculty to define what kind of academic work they will emphasize as they shape their careers and to know what is expected of them for career advancement. It will help the Committee on Appointments and Promotion to appropriately review faculty accomplishments when faculty are considered for promotion.

Many faculty members have significant activity in more than one area. How will they be classified and considered for advancement? Will they be able to shift areas of focus?

All professional work in major and minor areas of focus will be considered at the time of promotion. And having one area of focus does not mean that faculty are excluded from significant activity in another area of focus. Faculty can move from emphasis on one area of focus to another, and most faculty in this title group do combine work in these areas of focus. It is understood that academic careers are dynamic and may change over time. But excellence should be the benchmark for all professional activities, and faculty excellence in all areas should be acknowledged.

Where can I read more about the changes? 

A page with links to documents about the reorganization is available to the CUMC community online. You will have to log in with your UNI and password to access the documents.

My stationery has my old title.  Will I have to buy new business cards?   

Yes, you will need new business cards, which the Dean’s office will provide to you free of charge. Speak with your departmental administrator, who has information on ordering new cards.

Will anyone lose rank?

No, no one will lose rank.

Are there any accommodations for established faculty nearing promotion?

Yes. Promotions will not be delayed or deferred by the implementation of the new tracks. Even as we clarify expectations, we will consider the full range of activities that our faculty have done over their years here at CUMC. Hybrid models of evaluation will be used for established faculty who are being promoted.

Are there time limits for advancement in rank for those in the “at CUMC” title group?


How varied must scholarly activities be for a faculty member to advance? 

The full range of professional activities will be considered at the time of advancement.  Faculty need to identify areas of expertise, then organize their activities accordingly and develop the appropriate strengths.

Will there be guidance or other support to help faculty achieve the standards for advancement?

Yes. The Office of Faculty Professional Development is reorganizing its programs to assist faculty in developing their careers within the context of the new track structure.

I have more questions about this.  Whom shall I contact?

Please email my office at