Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure at Duke

The School of Medicine provides guidelines and resources for faculty as they consider their progression through the Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure (APT) process.

Even though the overall policies come from the School of Medicine, the Department of Medicine has some distinctive aspects reflecting its large size and conduct of an extensive program of basic and clinical research.

In 2020, the School of Medicine Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure (APT) Tracks launched a new process that is the culmination of an wide-ranging effort to develop a contemporary framework that supports the aspirations of faculty while providing an accommodating structure for the APT process. The changes are intended to bring greater clarity to the question “what does Duke value?” in terms of the depth and breadth of the scholarship that we want to reward: the expectation of a broad influence on science and medicine by Duke faculty that reflects our vision; the embracing of non-traditional strategies such as social media for the dissemination; sharing of knowledge; and the importance of impact as the key driver for promotion.

The new framework reduces pressure on early career faculty to declare their ultimate career goals, including the attainment of tenure; instead, this framework provides a protected “undifferentiated” period of time at the level of Assistant Professor to help the faculty member to determine their academic focus and career path. In addition, the new framework formally incorporates professionalism as a requirement for promotion and encourages “Open Science” as a reflection of best practice academic citizenship. It also provides explicit recognition and reward through improved job security for “career” (non-tenure track) faculty through multi-year and rolling contracts. In summary, the framework modernizes our approach to the APT process and reflects evolutionary trends seen across all of academia. 


Questions about your personal career trajectory should be directed to your division chief and/or primary mentor.

Questions about the APT process in the Department of Medicine can be directed to to David Pisetsky, MD, PhD, chair of the Department APT Committee.

Questions about the status of your promotion can be directed to Sheila Walls, APT Coordinator.